With Stephen Strasburg off the market, a way-too-early look at MLB’s uninspiring free agent class of pitchers, headlined by Clay Buchholz and Rich Hill

Let’s put it simply: the 2016 MLB free agent pitchers are not exciting anyone. Before Tuesday, the highlight was Stephen Strasburg, the 27-year-old Nationals righty who has passed 185 innings just once in his seven-year career. Then the Nationals somehow managed to lock up the Scott Boras client with a seven-year, $175 million extension, taking him off the winter market. It’s barely May, but here’s an exceptionally early look at the some of the headline pitchers of the offseason market. Clay Buchholz Clay Buchholz might be the best available free agent on this list, but that’s not saying much. The 31-year-old Red Sox starter has been great and he’s been bad — not much in between. A team is more likely to take out a one-year contract on him and hope they can fix his streakiness. Andrew Cashner Andrew Cashner, like Buchholz, has had flashes of brilliance, but hasn’t been able to put together a string of good years. A short-term contract will — hopefully — give a team some assurance that he can succeed. Jeremy Hellickson Many moons ago, Jeremy Hellickson was the 2011 Rookie of the Year, but he’s seen a steady decline in success since then and he’s erratic at best now. Rich Hill Rich Hill is good now, but we’ll hold off judgement until he gets a few more starts in. If he can hold his weight in the Oakland rotation, he could maybe help a team in 2017. Bartolo Colon For entertainment value, Bartolo Colon should be the highlight of the free agent class. For pitching value, the 42-year-old can likely only pull of this magic trick for so long — or he’ll sign a long-term deal and become the best 50-year-old reliever in baseball. Brett Anderson When healthy, Brett Anderson is a productive pitcher, Continue Reading

Queens lawmaker wants study of traffic, economic impact from Kanye West-headlining Meadows Music and Arts Festival at Citi Field

One Queens lawmaker said Wednesday the promoters of the recently announced Kanye West headlining concert at Citi Field need to examine the traffic, safety and economic impact of the show if they want support from the surrounding community. Founders Entertainment, the organizers of the Governor's Ball, on Tuesday said the first-ever Meadows Music and Arts Festival will take place in the Citi Field parking lot on Oct. 1 and 2. City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras, whose district includes Flushing Meadows Corona Park, said Wednesday she is worried about conflicts with the busy Makers Faire taking place the same weekend at the New York Hall of Science across the park. But Ferreras stopped short of calling for Meadows to be canceled or rescheduled. “I believe in bringing cultural events that can spur economic growth to benefit our community,” said Ferreras, the chair of the Council’s Finance Committee. “There are serious concerns about the impact of a music festival on our community, including how this would impact Makers Faire, an existing and popular event in the same park on the same day.” Founders officials, who have met with Ferreras, said they are not making any parking available to attendees of the Meadows in order to accommodate other events. “Launching the Meadows Festival in Queens this fall with an incredible lineup of music, art, food and culture is a dream come true,” said Tom Russell, a Founders Entertainment partner. “As a native New Yorker, I grew up in awe of the innovative spirit surrounding Flushing Meadows-Corona Park.” Several concert promoters, including Founders and AEG/Goldenvoice, have set their sights on Flushing Meadows Corona Park for large, outdoor festivals. Goldenvoice produces the popular Coachella Festival in California. Both submitted permit applications to the city Parks Department last year in hopes of holding summer festivals on the Continue Reading

Justin Timberlake will headline Super Bowl LII halftime show

Justin Timberlake announced on Twitter on Sunday night that he will headline the halftime show at this season's Super Bowl in Minneapolis.It will be the third time that Timberlake, who has won 10 Grammy Awards, headlines a Super Bowl halftime show, the most of any individual entertainer. He also performed at Super Bowl XXXV as a member of the pop group *NSYNC and at Super Bowl XXXVIII with Janet Jackson, during which he briefly exposed her breast in a controversial incident called a "wardrobe malfunction".The FCC mandated a delay on live performances thereafter.Timberlake announced that he will be performing during Super Bowl LII, which will kick off from U.S. Bank Stadium on Feb. 4, 2018, in a short video clip on Twitter alongside Jimmy Fallon, host of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. A singer, songwriter, actor and record producer, Timberlake most recently was nominated for an Academy Award for his song "Can't Stop the Feeling," which was released in 2016 as part of the soundtrack for the animated movie "Trolls." Timberlake also provided the voice for one of the main characters in the movie.Timberlake's 2013 album "The 20/20 Experience – The Complete Experience" was nominated for best pop vocal album at the Grammy Awards in 2014, one of his seven nominations that year. He won three categories, including best music video for his song "Suit & Tie" alongside rapper Jay-Z.The 36-year-old Timberlake is expected to release a new album in early 2018, according to Variety, and will star alongside Kate Winslet in Woody Allen's upcoming film "Wonder Wheel," which is scheduled to be released Dec. 1. It is immediately unclear whether anyone will join Timberlake on the halftime stage. Follow Schad on Twitter @Tom_Schad  Continue Reading

Angus T. Jones will be welcomed back to ‘Two and a Half Men’ despite trashing the show, CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler says

PASADENA – Angus T. Jones is welcome back on “Two and a Half Men,” CBS Entertainment President Nina Tassler said Saturday, despite the fact he trashed the show last fall as Sodom and Gomorrah. “He apologized and we’ve moved on,” Tassler told TV critics. “The kid is 19 years old. I've got a 24-year-old. Between the ages of 19 and 24, there's been plenty of things my kid has said that I wish he hadn't. “The bottom line is cooler heads prevailed." RELATED: ANGUS T. JONES CALLS 'TWO AND A HALF MEN' SERIES 'FILTH' PHOTOS: CHILD STARS - WHERE ARE THEY NOW? Jones made headlines last fall when he labeled the show “filth” in a video posted on YouTube. He said he was ashamed of his role over the years and urged people not to watch the show. Shortly thereafter he said he was sorry and hadn’t meant to disrespect anyone, including any of his colleagues. Tassler said she has indications Jones, who plays the “half” man, wants to return to the role. She said he will be doing a table read on an 11th season script next week. Tassler also acknowledged that Jones’s status isn’t the only obstacle to an 11th season, since neither of the two stars, Jon Cryer or Ashton Kutcher, has signed on yet. She expressed optimism it will be worked out. “Two and a Half Men” remains a popular show on the air and a hot ticket in syndication. USING MOBILE? CLICK FOR VIDEO Join the Conversation: Continue Reading

USA TODAY Entertainer of the year: Kate McKinnon

At the start of 2016, we didn’t know how much we’d need Kate McKinnon.This summer, as the Ghostbusters reboot became the latest big-budget female-led comedy to be sucked into a misogynistic Twitter vortex, it was McKinnon’s comic stylings that answered our call. What the movie lacked in critical love was made up for in her memorable take on Holtzmann, a profoundly and charmingly weird engineering whiz (whose science vibes gave zero cares about that nearby hottie Chris Hemsworth).Her film career has since taken off. Just in time for the holidays, she's in theaters stealing scenes in the ensemble comedy Office Christmas Party, playing it straight as the company's uniquely helpful HR director. And it was just announced McKinnon is set to star in her own film as a scarily magical school cafeteria worker in The Lunch Witch.But it was this fall on Saturday Night Live that the comedian truly harnessed her talents before an anxiety-ridden nation. The SNL staple had long played Hillary Clinton on the show, but as Election Day came into focus, McKinnon translated the Democratic candidate with new fervor, surpassing Amy Poehler's impersonation and earning the icon status last awarded to Tina Fey playing Sarah Palin in 2008.Week after week, dressed in a multitude of pantsuits, McKinnon satirized the election's political jousting, often saying what the real Clinton couldn't."I'm better than ever, let's do this," she said in the season opener, ducking and rolling before taking a fighter's stance. The sketch was a play on Clinton's bout of pneumonia, though could just as easily have applied to McKinnon's hand in returning the show to must-watch status.After the second debate, she mocked Trump's attempts to divert attention by giving front-row seats to Bill Clinton accusers."Wait, I'm sorry who's here? Mistresses? Bill, how could you? How could I go on with the Continue Reading

Andy Reid and the struggling Philadelphia Eagles are currently headlining the NFL’s traveling circus

From their historic 19th century origins, circuses have always traveled. This one, it seems, has moved about 90 miles down the Jersey Turnpike. They have folded up the big top and left ringmaster Rex Ryan to play his more cerebral game of chess with Bill Belichick. The real entertainment is in Philly and it's playing through this week's bye. The Eagles are in chaos and the calliope is humming. Andy Reid's unprecedented mid-season firing of defensive coordinator Juan Castillo is just a small part, although it amounts to an admission by Reid that giving his offensive line coach control of his defense wasn't quite the instinctive bit of genius he had hoped. Yet for all of Reid's concerns that bad things were creeping back into his defensive team's play (a stunning death of sacks, giving up late leads in two straight games), the 3-3 Eagles are still giving up just 18.5 points per game. It's not even that Castillo – whose Wide Nine scheme will remain in place under Todd Bowles - is a scapegoat. The move doesn't take any heat off the head coach. If anything, it backs Reid into even more of a "win or else" situation with owner Jeffrey Lurie, who has already hinted that such an ultimatum is in place. Reid's may simply be the last head to roll. Andy Reid - Rob Carr/Getty Images No, what remains as the biggest issue will be debated and dissected until the Eagles next take the field against the unbeaten Falcons a week from Sunday. What is Reid to do with Michael Vick? The answer, as well as Vick's response on the field, will certainly determine whether Reid remains the longest-standing coach in the NFL. The Eagles offense, who took the league by storm with all of its speed not too long ago, is next to last in scoring at just over 17 ppg. They lead the league in turnovers and Vick has 13 of those 17. When he hasn't been throwing eight interceptions, he's been coughing up five fumbles. Even Reid must know that Vick isn't suddenly going to turn into Bart Continue Reading

Steve Martin, Martin Short rely on self-inflicted laughs

The Steve Martin and Martin Short roadshow that visits Old National Centre on Sunday features a steady diet of self-deprecation when the iconic comedians aren't roasting each other.Martin, who gave the world Navin R. Johnson in "The Jerk," and Short, the man behind celebrity journalist Jiminy Glick, don't have to stray outside their own personas for laughs.Martin mocked an airbrushed promotional photo of Short when the duo's tour, billed as "An Evening You Will Forget for the Rest of Your Life," visited the same venue in November 2015. Short said Martin looked like an untouched page in a coloring book or a toilet topped by a white toupee.During a recent phone interview, Martin said he expects audience members to leave the room when he plays bluegrass banjo during the show.Reminded of the tour's previous stop here 17 months ago, Martin expressed concern that he and Short were coming back too soon to attract a crowd.Short, also on the conference call, assured his partner things would be fine.This reporter tried to add a helpful observation about many fans not having a chance to see the show last time. With a capacity of 2,500, Old National Centre's Murat Theatre isn't an arena.Martin sounded mollified before quickly adding, "You didn’t have to put us down by saying it’s not an arena."And that's why Elvis Presley once complimented Martin by saying, "You have a very oblique sense of humor."The King had it right with "oblique," a word that means slanted, angled or askew. Martin and Short specialize in the unexpected and absurd.Although Martin shared that Presley anecdote at the 2015 Indianapolis show, he said this year's tour features plenty of new material.'Saturday' stars: Martin and Short said they're happy for Lorne Michaels and the renewed interest surrounding "Saturday Night Live" since the 2016 presidential election. "We’ve been associated not only with the show, but also with the people involved with the show for so long," Continue Reading

Elton John, Kanye West among Bonnaroo 2014 headliners

It's true, it's true. Another knight is headlining Bonnaroo.Sir Elton John — the madman across the water — will bring his sequined-frock and ruby-shoed self to Manchester, Tenn., along with the ever-controversial Kanye West, Nashville's own Music City Ambassador Jack White and Motown soul man Lionel Richie to play the 2014 Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival.More than 125 performers for this year's festival, which takes place June 12-15 in Manchester, were revealed on Wednesday night via live video stream on YouTube.The entertainment, as always, is eclectic with everyone from Skrillex to Vampire Weekend and Ms. Lauryn Hill to The Flaming Lips.John, who will close out Bonnaroo 2014 with a Sunday-night show, has performed in Nashville several times over the last few years. But the Bonnaroo appearance will be his first — and it marks his first-ever U.S. music festival show. It comes a year after another knighted Brit, the prestigious Sir Paul McCartney, headlined the four-day festival.John most recently played Bridgestone Arena last April in advance of the September 2013 release of "The Diving Board," a T Bone Burnett production and John's first solo album in seven years."Sometimes we have to pinch ourselves," said Jonathan Mayers, co-founder of Superfly Presents, which plans and produces Bonnaroo. "And the idea of having some of our heroes and our legends play on The Farm — it's just really special."Joining John in the headliner spot is the headline-grabbing, hip-hop performer West.This is sure to stir up some angst among the Bonnaroo faithful, who likely have yet to forget West's last appearance in Manchester.In 2008, the typically chill, hippie-centric Bonnaroo crowd went slightly senseless when West's one-man show took nearly two hours to set up following the Pearl Jam set that preceded him.He didn't hit the stage until 4:30 a.m. for what was supposed to be a "Glow in the Dark" show. It was cut short by the dawn."Kanye" became almost a bad Continue Reading

The Top 10 New Jersey entertainment stories of 2016

This year, the Jersey entertainment scene was filled with departures and homecomings.Bruce Springsteen returned to Freehold in September for a book event that saw him press the flesh with 2,000 fans and Bon Jovi debuted live tracks from the band’s new album, “This House is Not for Sale” at the Count Basie Theatre in Red Bank.Also, Danny DeVito made his first public appearance in his hometown of Asbury Park in nearly 30 years at the city’s House of Independents.The year’s departures included Bernie Worrell of Parliament Funkadelic, Big Nancy Swarbrick of the state’s blues scene and Medford’s Christina Grimmie of TV’s “The Voice.” Grimmie was killed following a live performance in Orlando.In the year’s debuts, the Asbury Hotel opened in Asbury Park, bringing the town a new dimension of clubbing, movie and music options. Nicole Atkins opened the hotel’s Asbury Hall and Lawn in July.For Atkins, it was a family affair.“Dad made the party happen,” said Atkins in reference to her father, who was at the show. “Dad, can you turn the lights down?”On that note, drum roll please for our picks of the state’s biggest entertainment stories of 2016. 1. Springsteen meets fans in FreeholdTwo thousand fans in four hours: Bruce Springsteen literally touched each one during a book event for the release of his autobiography, “Born to Run,” in September at the Barnes & Noble in Freehold.“He touched me,” said a bounding Christine Grimaldi, 30 and formerly of Marlboro. “It was amazing.”The day was a feat of physical and mental stamina by Springsteen. MORE: President Obama on Springsteen: It all started on Highway 9“Bruce is very courteous, the women are kissed, the men are hugged and he kneels down for the kids,” said Mitch Slater, uber fan and host of “Bosstime on the Brucebook” Facebook page.2016 was another big year Continue Reading

Short Takes: ‘Girl Who Played with Fire,’ ‘Racing Dreams,’ ‘[Rec]2,’ ‘Red Alert: The War Within’

The Girl Who Played with Fire *** Second chapter in author Stieg Larsson's thriller trilogy. R: Violence, sexuality, language. At area theaters (2:09). In Swedish, with subtitles. When we last left punk hacker Lisbeth Salander (Noomi Rapace), the girl with the dragon tattoo was escaping Sweden for an easier life. Now she's back, for the second chapter in Stieg Larsson's best-selling "Millennium" trilogy, and you may briefly wonder ... why?Michael Nyqvist), are frustratingly separated for most of the movie. Still, the dragging pace picks up halfway through, as Mikael uncovers Lisbeth's tragic past. Those who've read and loved the book should be satisfied, but it's reasonable to hope for more from the final entry. Elizabeth Weitzman Racing Dreams ****Marshall Curry's outstanding documentary won't just entertain your family for a little while. It'll also inspire everyone to get back outside, and find a new passion. For Curry's tween subjects, kart racing is the obsession of choice. Brandon, Josh and Annabeth are determined to become professional racecar drivers, and their devotion colors every aspect of their lives. That kind of focused commitment would be compelling enough, but Curry delves much further into their individual histories, with great insight and sensitivity. It's thanks to him that — whatever your age — you'll care about these kids long after the lights come up. E.W. [Rec]2 * Video recordings document a ­virus that turns humans into zombies. Not rated: Horror, violence. At the Village East A foreign derivative of "28 Days Later," "Daybreakers" and several other horror films, this Spanish sequel to a 2007 cult hit uses the way-overdone conceit of videotaped terror — the title, "Rec," refers to the onscreen prompt on a camera — and follows a police crew and the father of a lost teen into an abandoned apartment complex. In the first film, a zombie-making virus was let loose by the teen, and this movie's most Continue Reading