Category Archives: Sports

Monday notes

- Grr.  Stupid database errors.  Database just keeps crashing.  Linux is not my friend sometimes.  Oh, well.  Learning as I go.

- The Brewers season has been a bizarre one, to be sure.  They played lights out in April and June, average in May, and terrible so far in July.  Still, they enter the All Star break with a 1 game lead on the division.

My heart goes out to the family of Jean Segura though.  I can’t imagine losing your child, especially at an early age like that, and I wouldn’t fault him if he decided not to come back to playing the game.  Just an absolutely heartbreaking ordeal for him to have to handle.

- Seeing as how it was my first World Cup where I truly paid attention to it throughout, I was sad to see it end.  I was able to find heroes and villians throughout and loved the entire thing.  Really hope that the U.S. gets a chance to host it again in 2022 (if and when they pull it from Qatar, like they should.)

- Lastly, I have confirmed my tickets to take my daughters to see Crystal Palace play the Columbus Crew next Wednesday night in Columbus.  My oldest daughter desperately wants to see Chamakh now that he has resigned with the team, but I’m trying to impress upon her the fact that usually it isn’t too easy to meet an athlete at a match.  Still, I’m glad that she’s so excited about going to the match (as am I.)

Things for the U.S. to take from the 2014 World Cup

- First off, Tim Howard was a stud yesterday.  The fact that someone changed the Wikipedia entry for the Secretary of Defense and replaced the position with Tim Howard was a testament to how great he was in net yesterday.  The game could have been over before reaching extra time without his efforts.

- The U.S. needs Premier League/La Liga/Bundesliga level talent on their squad if they are going to expect to complete on the world stage.  While they might be able to get out of the group stage with the MLS talent that we have been sending, it’s clear that Belgium had a different level of players on the pitch and it showed in extra time.

Sidenote: When Belgium brought in Lukaku late in the game the only thing that I could think to myself is, “Holy crap, how deep is this team that he was on the bench until this point?”

- Julian Green is the future.  The U.S. needs to start developing more players like him, or create a time machine to have more American servicemen father children back in the late 80′s, if they really want to compete beyond the round of 16 in Russia in 2018 (or in 2022, wherever that World Cup might be as Qatar is in doubt at this point.)

- Don’t listen to anything that the grizzled old sports-writers say, soccer has arrived in the U.S.  The amount of enthusiasm for this World Cup was tremendous and people were talking about it everywhere you went.  When my parents and sister wanted to come over to the house for a match-watching party, that was a great indication of how far the game has come in the last few years.  If the U.S. would have pulled off an upset yesterday, the country would have gone ballistic on Saturday for the game against Argentina.

The game is incredibly popular for children and will continue to be so for as long as the NFL and Football struggle with the issues of head injuries that swirl around that sport.

- The future looks bright for American soccer and it should be fun to watch going forward.

 

 

 

Tuesday notes

- Um, there is a pretty big soccer match today (outside of Argentina and Switzerland which was pretty boring for 115 minutes, but crazy exciting at the end.)  Dan and I will have more to say about that later.

- Thanks to the GOG.com sales last week, I’m now a proud owner of yet another copy of the entire Wing Commander series, but this time in digital form. (Only cost $6 during the sales last week, well worth that price tag.)

One of the great things about the internet is that you don’t even have to work all that hard to configure the titles to run nearly perfectly on any system now a days.  People on Youtube have done a tremendous job showing you all of the files to edit and settings to put in place so that you can get the games working beautifully in a very small amount of time.

The thing that they can’t help you with is the fact that asteroids are just horrible in the first game.  I’ve died twice on missions where I’ve fragged multiple Kilrathi, only to have a giant asteroid undo all of that good work in seconds.  Definitely frustrating, but part of playing a 25 year old game.

- Amazon has NHL 09 and Madden NFL 08 (the last two releases of each for the PC) on sale for $2.  There is a pretty good modding community for NHL 09 and they have been updating teams, rosters, and schedules since the games release.  Worth a look for the price.

- Enjoy watching the match!

Monday notes

- First a quick exchange between my daughters.

Youngest: ‘Wouldn’t it be great if you were the queen of soccer?’

Eldest: ‘No, way! If I was the queen everyone would be paying attention to me, and then none of my teammates would get the attention that they deserve.’

I think she is being taught sports the right way.

- Yesterday was a first in  my house, as my parents and one of my sisters came over to watch a soccer match.  Never would have seen that happening in the past, but I guess the World Cup does a tremendous job in bringing that out of families.

Given the fact that they have no real concept of the rules, they did a great job of asking questions at the right time and did seem to genuinely enjoy the match.

The draw was a killer, but it is great that the U.S. controls their own destiny for moving to the next round.  I will be stunned if the match with Germany is anything but a draw.  There is absolutely nothing that either of the teams has to play for and should just focus on making sure that no one gets hurt.

- Took the girls to see How to Train Your Dragon 2 on Saturday and we all loved it.  Not to give anything away, but there were plenty of smiles, laughs, and tears from the girls.  Definitely worth the price of admission.

- I’ll have some post E3 notes coming up either later today or tomorrow (hard to believe the week went by without posting anything… but things have been crazy.)

US vs. Ghana

Watching that match last night has to have been one of the most tense sporting moments of my life.  After Dempsey’s goal 36 seconds in, it was white knuckle terror watching Ghana dissect the US defense for the next 81 minutes until they scored the equalizer.

After the Ghana goal, I sat in my living room, utterly deflated, thinking that Ghana was destined to score the winner shortly after that, but when John Brooks drove that header past the Ghanaian goalkeeper, fear and dejection turned to utter jubilation in my home.

Having watched, or listened to, part of every World Cup game thus far, I continue to fall deeper and deeper in love with this sport more and as I continue to follow it.  Can’t wait to see what happens next.

Monday notes

- Looks as though Dan is going to win the race to 100 followers.  I’m just not that popular it appears.  (Anyone who sat in my high school lunch room could have attested to that fact.)

- As we get closer and closer to the World Cup, I have been spending more and more time playing Football Manager 2014 in a way to connect more with my building love of soccer.

With the January transfers now being a part of the default roster, I decided to take another shot at running Crystal Palace to see if I could get them to avoid relegation in FM, as they did in real life.

Tony Pulis can not be given enough credit for keeping Palace up this year, as I have found through my time with the game that it is incredibly difficult to keep that squad from being relegated.

Thanks to some monumental efforts from Ince and Chamakh I was able to grab 17th place in the Premier League (by 3 points) and stay up for one more year (and get a 2 year contract extension.  Woot!)

I have had more fun with this game over the past six months than any other game in recent memory.  Even though I can simulate every game, I find myself watching each match and yelling at my players when they make a bad play and pumping my fist in the air when they make a great one.

It’s still priced at $12.50 on Steam and is worth every penny.

- E3 begins with Microsoft, Sony, EA, and Ubisoft all having press conferences today.  Not sure how much there will be out there as far as sports gaming from them, but I’m sure that Dan and I will be commenting when we have a chance.

Monday notes

- It would be difficult to find a game to recommend more highly than Mario Kart 8 right now.  The family and I spent a good bit of time with it over the weekend and (other than my wife) none of us got anywhere close to bored with it.  Even when I was working on getting 3 gold stars for each of the series in single player mode, I was still having a great time with the game (and from my experience this will be a pretty good challenge.)

While I’ve seen some comments from people about how much they dislike the replay features of the games, I love having the ability to post your race highlights to Youtube (as I have done here and here.)

Also, it’s given us highlights such as this one.  (You have to love Luigi’s evil glare in that one.)

If you’re interested in playing some online, feel free to add me to your WiiU for some multiplayer.  My Nintendo NNID is Psunami.

- On Saturday, the family took the trip down to Miller Park for our first game of the year (my 3rd to this point)  and even though Brewers lost, we definitely had a good time at the game while taking in plenty of the activities at the stadium.

As I get older, things like tailgating have become less interesting for me, so we just went to the Friday’s restaurant at the stadium and had a nice lunch there while watching the end of Cubs batting practice and then got to our seats well before the game began.

I guess that there is just something special about a simple and fun day at the ballpark with the family.

- Lastly, I hope that you were able to catch game 7 between the Kings and Blackhawks last night as overtime was a fitting conclusion to an incredibly entertaining series.

Now I can firmly put all of my energy into cheering the Kings on to thrash the Rangers.

Thursday notes (gaming stuff)

- Last evening I finished up Wolfenstein: The New Order for the PS4 and I have to say that while the gameplay was that of a pretty standard first person shooter (with some pretty fun weapons,) the story really surprised me throughout.

With a game that has you blasting away at hundreds of 1960′s Nazi’s, you would think that it would be pretty easy to just have a cookie-cutter “all of them are evil” story involved, but the game surprised me with it’s ability to create some more complicated narratives of what it would have been like for people to have lived in a time where the Germans won World War 2.

Also, I have to give credit to the people at Bethesda and Machine Games for making a first person shooter game that does not include a multiplayer component.  Personally, I can’t remember the last time that I enjoyed playing an FPS game online, so purchasing this game was a way to support a company and studio for taking the chance on putting out a single player focused game.

- If you’re a Playstation Plus subscriber (and really, every PS3, PS4, and Vita user should be) you will be getting NBA 2K14 for the PS3 as part of the free game selection in June.  It’s not as strong of a game as the PS4 or Xbox One versions are, but it’s still a very solid basketball game for the price of… sort of free.

I do have to say that it has been great to see sports titles appearing in the monthly free titles as that was always a genre that was neglected in the PS Plus library.

- Continuing on the Playstation kick, I started playing MLB 14: The Show for the PS4 late last week and other than the large scale graphical improvements to the game I just wasn’t all that impressed by the Road to the Show mode (which is all that I’ve had time to tackle to this point.)

One of the things that impressed me the most about the My Player mode for NBA 2K14 for the PS4 was how much different and improved that mode felt over the previous generation versions.  I didn’t get any of that with the Road to the Show for MLB 14 and I guess the whole thing just left me feeling like it was missing something that made it really great.

I’ll give some of the other modes a look and see if any of them change my feelings on the game, but for now… meh.

Football Manager 2014 – $12.50 on Steam (and Amazon)

Ok, I get that not everyone has gotten into soccer as much as I have over the last year, but even if you haven’t fallen in love with the game, you can certainly owe it to yourself (or maybe you don’t) to learn more about the financials and strategies of soccer.

At Steam (and Amazon,) Football Manager 2014 is currently running for $12.50 and that’s a crazy good bargain for one of the best text based sports sims on the market.

Tuesday notes

- Somebody is taking a road trip to Columbus!  My daughters just about lost it this morning when I told them we would be going to see Crystal Palace play.  My wife won’t be able to attend, so it’ll be interesting taking the girls on an 8 hour drive to see a soccer match, but it should be worth it and we will definitely be coming home with some new Eagles gear.   Can’t wait.

- For those of you who trade in your games (Dan….) Target is having a deal where they are offering triple value on their trades for this week.   For example, Grand Theft Auto 5 for the PS3 is getting $45 in store credit right now.

As for me, I’ll be trading in the PS3 version of Diablo III (for $30) and picking up the new addon for the PC (which is priced at $30) along with a few other old PS2, original Xbox, and GC games that have bizarrely high values.

- Speaking of Diablo III, it took Blizzard a few years to get to this point, but the game is really great right now and I’m having as much fun with this as I did with Diablo II back in the day.  There is still something special about every Legendary drop and waiting to see what valuable goodie you’re going to get from it.

If you’ve held off until now, you should really pick up the game either for consoles or for the PC.  Both are terrific at this point.

- As for upcoming games, we have Wolfenstein and Transistor releasing today, Watch Dogs next week, and Mario Kart 8 at the end of next week.

Trying to remember this many games being released right before E3, but maybe I’m just getting old and having a hard time remembering details like that.  #oldmanproblems

4 week rehab notes

No more crutches (or wire hangers) for me!  Based on my PT appointment yesterday, I got the go ahead to ditch them and start walking around without any assistance.  (I did also ask if they had a window that I could throw them out of, but since it was the 6th floor there must have been some sort of liability issues… so they discouraged me from doing so.)

To this point my recovery has gone very well and while there has been some minor discomfort from time to time (and I wake up a few times a night due to rolling on my right side,) things are going to plan and I look to be on the path for full recovery in a few more months.

If you want a good idea as to what I’m dealing with right now, imagine that your right leg has gone to sleep and then try to walk with it while it’s asleep.  Basically, the entirety of my right leg feels incredibly weak so I’m really going to put in the work to get the leg feeling right (no pun intended) as soon as possible.

As my therapist was looking at my exercises that I need to work on, I was reading the monitor over his shoulder and looking at the long term rehab items that I can be shooting for.  Biking and elliptical in another 4 weeks, kicking and other movements in 6 weeks, and it looked like getting back to some full sports activity in 8 weeks (If I could get back to running and hockey after 3 months, I would be over the moon… but I’m just going to have those out there as a goal, not something that I’m counting on.)

To celebrate, I brought in some running gear and will be going to the track and walking for a mile or two tonight (obviously only if it’s pain free, since I have no distance limits according to my therapist) to try and get my right leg starting to feel normal again.

It’s been a slow process so far, but things are looking up.  Perhaps another half marathon by the end of the year isn’t out of the question, but that might just be me getting ahead of myself.  A man can dream…

Go shorty…

So, it’s my 40th birthday today and I’m celebrating it like most grown-ups do by going to work.

Tomorrow though, I will be going to the Brewers/Pirates game by myself, then having dinner with a friend, and then possibly seeing Godzilla by myself.

Sports geek, friend geek, then geek-geek.

Not a bad way to celebrate spending another year on the planet.

NFL Draft

For the last half hour I’ve been trying to come up with a post about the NFL Draft.  I started by trying to talk about why I gave up watching American Football, but couldn’t really get a good feel for that post.  Next, I tried to talk about how much of a waste of time that I feel the draft is, but that really just tied back into the original premise that I didn’t want to get into.  Then, I tried to come up with something funny, but realized that I’m just not in the mood for that.

So, I guess if you’re interested in it, have fun watching a 3 day(with talk of possibly turning it into 4,) overly prolonged, pointless media spectacular dedicated to talking heads (who really have no idea how good players are or will be) telling you all about players that may or not ever play (and if they do, play well) for the team you support.

Patrick Hruby is right… just get rid of the damn thing.

Wednesday notes

- So, if you’re a Playstation Plus subscriber (and really, if you have a Vita and a PS3, it’s almost silly not to) you get access to PES 2014 as one of the free games for May.  If you haven’t looked at the game yet, I highly advise that you download it and then try out Paul’s option files for the game.

Again, I just enjoy playing PES more than FIFA at this point (even though I own both.)  I haven’t messed around with online matches though, so if anyone wants to give it a try, send me an email or post a comment and we can give it a go.

- Also on the Playstation Store is the new release of Football Manager Classic for the Vita.  I love the cloud save capabilities of the Vita version so that you can play your franchise on the PC version, then take your Vita on the road with you and continue that same game.

We can only hope that other games follow this model in the future.

- My guess is that we might get a post from Dan today once we have a result from Manchester City and Aston Villa’s match.  A Man City draw barely keeps Liverpool alive.  A loss by Manchester City would change things dramatically.

- Anyone playing Hearthstone?  People keep telling me that it’s worth looking at (considering the fact that it’s free.)  Just curious.

- More as the week goes along.

 

Palace!

Ever since the game, I’ve been trying to think of the right words to describe what happened at Selhurst Park yesterday.  For a team with almost nothing to play for, the Eagles put forth a magnificent effort.

Crystal Palace isn’t a team that comes from behind well, due to the counter style that Tony Pulis implemented, and they certainly aren’t a team that could overcome a 3 goal deficit, but both of those things managed to happen in less than 10 minutes in yesterday’s match against Liverpool.

I’ve watched that 10 minute segment, 3 times now and each time I’m still stunned at how great Palace played (Gayle and Murray really showed tremendous form) and how shellshocked Liverpool looked.

All of this has led to an incredible finish to the season for Palace, as they are guaranteed 11th place in the Premier League.  Quite a run for a team that only had 4 points after 11 weeks.

Can’t wait for the last game (and for next season.)

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