The developers of MLB 14 The Show for the PS4 are going about its advertisement the wrong way. Instead of promoting its photo-realistic lighting, grass, facial hair, and crowds, they should be talking up its alternate-reality mode, which is apparently enabled by default. In this mode, we witness all kinds of fascinating twists on reasonable expectations for this dimension.
Disclosure: I am a Chelsea fan.
Having said that, I cannot stop laughing at the face this ball boy makes as he rolls in apparent “agony” after being mildly kicked in the ribs by Chelsea’s Eden Hazard. The situation in a nutshell: Chelsea’s down by two goals in the semifinal of a cup match with fifteen minutes left, the ball goes out of play, and Hazard wants to restart play quickly but the ball boy intentionally falls on the ball and won’t hand it over. So Hazard does the most logical thing and tries to pop the ball out with a swift kick, and he accidentally (and slightly) connects with the boy’s ribs.
Hazard was red carded after the fact, and pundits are acting like he egregiously assaulted an innocent little boy out of cold-blooded malice. In fact, it is obvious that all Hazard was trying to do was get the ball back in play; the lack of malevolence in Hazard’s actions is just as evident as the blatant malevolence in the boy’s. I fully believe the boy deserved every bit of the unintentional kick for clearly delaying the game for the benefit of the home team. The fact that the boy then rolled around in his finest Luis Suarez impression whilst grimacing and appealing for the call is icing on the cake. And that face he made!
Justice. Particularly when it is considered (an afterthought, or not at all, by many) that before the game the boy posted to his Twitter account: “The king of all ball boys is back making his final appearance #needed #for #timewasting.” Self-professed twerpism. Also, the ball “boy” is 17 years old; Hazard recently turned 22, so this is not the “30 year old assaults a 4 year old” scandal the headlines make it out to be.
Not that any of that really matters. Look at that face!
All right, so maybe by committing three errors, allowing four unearned runs, going one-for-eight with runners in scoring position and stranding twelve men, the Braves deserved to lose tonight – but that doesn’t make their 6-3 defeat to the Cardinals in the inaugural “Wild Card Game” any less bitter of a pill to swallow. They scored more earned runs than the opposition (3 to 2), had twice as many hits as them (12 to 6), had twice as many extra base hits (4 to 2), and turned two double plays. Chipper Jones had a hit in his final Major League at bat, coming with two outs in the 9th inning – an infield hit that he questionably beat out. But it’s easy to overlook all of the Braves’ ineptitude and the Cardinals’ seemingly endless streak of leprechaun-inspired luck due to yet another missed call by an umpire.
Andrelton Simmons hit a fly ball to left with runners on first and second, one out in the bottom of the eighth inning. The generic Cardinals shortstop drifted back and peeled off at the last second to avoid a collision with purported left fielder Matt Holliday. The ball dropped in and the bases were loaded with one out – and the crowd was wild with excitement.
But it was short lived. Left field umpire Sam Holbrook inexplicably decided, just before the ball hit the ground, to invoke the infield fly rule, a rule put in place to prevent the infielders from dekeing the baserunners by intentionally letting the ball drop and turning an easy double play. Of course, to accept that ruling it would need to be a routine play, the fielder would need to be under the ball, and the call would need to be made much earlier – and it’s customary to only call an infield fly on balls in, or near, the infield. The batter was automatically out despite the ball not being caught, and instead of bases loaded and one out there were now two outs with runners on second and third. So manager Fredi Gonzalez objected and played the rest of the game under protest. Fans threw bottles, an arguably justifiable reaction by an aggrieved populace that desired justice, or at least adherence to the game’s laws. No further damage, at least to the box score, was done.
It took an hour or so for MLB to nonchalantly reject the protest, officially backing up their horrendous officiating and continuing a trend of obliviousness toward making correct rulings. The umpires continue to refuse to huddle and overturn incorrect calls and MLB could not care less, as long as games are selling out and fans keep watching. As it stands, fans are forced to temper their excitement – because if MLB doesn’t care enough to get the calls correct in their own games, why should fans care who wins a game played under such arbitrary “guidelines”? Even my wife, who has only general knowledge of the game, acknowledges the lunacy here:
Baseball has problems. It’s because they’re sittin’ on their high horse, sayin’, ‘No, we won’t use technology to improve the game.’
This type of disappointment is familiar to the Braves. There was the Buster Posey out in 2010, where he was (incorrectly) called safe on a steal of second, ultimately leading to the only run of the game and contributing to Atlanta’s postseason demise. Then, of course, the Braves undid themselves last September to avoid having to face the umpires in the 2011 postseason. So this year the Braves, with 94 wins, had to face the Cardinals (winners of 88 games), in a one-game playoff to determine the right to play in the division series. Leave it up to MLB to take a season comprised of series and distill it into one game where the magnitude of a single mistake – by a player or an umpire – is so unjustly amplified.
Alas, there’s always next year, but it will be without Larry Wayne Jones. Perhaps after 162 games and a few more blown calls, we can once again have this discussion. We can also spend a bit of time wondering just what would’ve happened if the big hit could have come, or if those throws hadn’t been so outrageously errant. Maybe the game was devised with the idea that those truly heroic moments by the players are enough to outshine the ugly umpiring. Unfortunately for the 2012 Braves, those heroics were far dimmer than they should have been.
It may be premature to speak of the death of PC gaming, but the industry at least has some sort of terminal illness. Blame it on uninspired game designers, piracy, or the increased prevalence of console gaming, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. There will always be people who don’t deserve to use computers until they’re old enough to vote. I am speaking, of course, of those who give piss-poor reviews to highly-acclaimed PC games on sites that the average Joe would visit.
Empire: Total War is a strategy game that was well-received by experienced reviewers and gamers, but its somewhat demanding system requirements left the inexperienced 12 year old scratching his head. Those who don’t realize that their inferior components may be to blame instead find fault in the game, which leads to low scores and mixed public approval.
Still, if game designers just made their products devoid of “huge white screen errors,” PC gaming would still have a chance.
Driving is probably the most dangerous activity in which most people will participate throughout their lives. What is important to remember is that the danger does not stop on the highway – there are some absurdly bad car parkers out there. It is not an uncommon occurrence to see someone a bit over the line or attempting a foolish maneuver in a parking lot, but true absurdity is indeed rare. And then there’s this…
It takes one of three people to park in such a conspicuous and generally apathetic manner:
- The hurried husband, eager to grab some Oreos to appease his pregnant spouse.
- The elderly grandmother, not even sure how she found herself at the store at all.
- The sleazebag.
I’m still not sure what actually possessed someone to show such blatant disregard for the yellow lines. In any case, it would be a miracle if he maintained an unmarred bumper with shenanigans like these. (And no, there was definitely no one in the car; it was not in the process of backing out or pulling in.)
Yesterday I got back to my apartment to discover that the doorknob would not open the door. The knob would spin loosely, with no indication that it could engage the little pop-out “button” thing that normally slides inward when the knob is turned. This was not an altogether surprising development; my knob had been operating “questionably” for months. So I went to the office to request that maintenance find some way to get me into my apartment. I was told that someone would meet me there to fix the problem.
After waiting near my car for perhaps 15 minutes, I decided to be clever. In a fit of MacGyver-esque magic, I used an old card from my wallet to gain access to the apartment (after unlocking the deadbolt, of course). I then waited for hours and no one ever showed up.
Consider this: if I had not found some way into the apartment, I would have been sleeping in my car last night. This alone would be reason enough for the average person to decide that another housing complex would be more deserving of his money. I, however, simply placed tape over the pop-out “button” thing to keep it in and then used the deadbolt to secure the door.
Now, a day after my work request, I find that it still has not been fixed. Instead I’m greeted by the cacophonous pounding of those oft-sought-after maintenance workers in the apartment above, presumably installing new carpet in the hopes that some other sucker will move in to keep revenue flowing to this shoddy community.
And now a light needs replacing in my kitchen…it appears that I’ll be fixing my Pop-Tarts in ominous darkness until my lease runs out.
Imagine this scenario:
Little Sherry is all set to go out and play in the softball championship on national TV. She’s nervous, but confident, and she grabs her glove and starts to jog from the dugout.
“Hold on, Sherry! Aren’t you forgetting something?” her coach calls to her.
She turns around, and he hands her a plastic contraption. “You almost went out there without your Stupid Mask on. Now go get ’em!”
The Stupid Mask…
Now I don’t watch much Little League softball, because why anyone who doesn’t have a sibling on the team would watch it is beyond me. But I noticed, as I was flipping channels, that they make the infielders wear these absurd devices that are not unlike headgear.
That’s it. The picture says it all, but I’ll spell it out. I’m all for safety, and face guards on helmets are fine…because the batter isn’t standing in a ready position with a glove on. But when it’s evident that little girls need huge guards while in the field because they simply aren’t capable of defending themselves with gloves and reflexes, then perhaps you’ve got them doing it wrong. Maybe ballet would be more accomodating, or simply waiting until they’re old enough to develop hand-eye coordination before making them play big people games.
Then they wouldn’t have to worry about looking like some characters out of Star Wars.
I’m back in the city, reacquainted with the sirens, the solitary (and sedentary) apartment life, and the suck. Fortunately, I have a limited-time free preview of cable, so I got to watch Wheel of Fortune tonight.
During the obligatory, dull, and often awkward biographical segment of the contestants, a woman introduced herself as being “married to [my] husband.” I’ll forgive that slip-o’-the-tongue, because there was no doubt that she was nervous. But what followed was far worse for her pride.
I was feeling pretty good, having just solved the puzzle (the clue was something about a person), when a few short letters later, our favorite wife was ready to give it a go. I felt a bit dejected, but my spirits would be lifted when she offered up this brilliant answer:
“Award-winning children’s book _____…”
…and that’s where it got interesting. Most people should be able to guess the final word, especially when it looked like this:
a _ t _ _ r
But our woman – being the wife of her husband, after all – fluidly spat out the following:
“Award-winning children’s book actor!”
Pat looked somewhat bewildered, and told her the bad news – she was incorrect. But the good news was that she had previously won a free spin, so she had the opportunity to take another guess. She opted to spin again instead, and I don’t blame her.
Now let’s think about what it would take to be a children’s book actor, much less one who has honed his craft to such a degree that it has warranted at least one award. All right, that’s enough thinking…it hurts the mind. Maybe we could just think about the number of letters in the word actor instead, as that might be easier.
Perhaps amazingly, I think she went on to win the game. It’s a crazy world.
Oh yes, the answer was truly “author.” “Award-winning children’s book author“? Those devils who act out author the clues should be fired.
Some people just lack common sense. Take this situation: this guy is a writer for foxnews.com for 10 years, and presumably he has no inclination to lose his job in the current economic climate. Still, he illegally downloads a movie that isn’t out yet – “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” which looks pretty awesome – and then goes on his column and explicitly states what he did while preemptively giving his thoughts on the film. What’s worse is that the movie is from 20th Century Fox, which is owned by the same company (News Corp.) as Fox News. He had to think there was a possibility of someone reading his column and “disapproving” of his actions. At least it’ll make for an interesting conversation at his next job interview.
None of this would be an issue if downloading movies was legalized. Lobby your senator.
He did enjoy the movie though, for what it’s worth.