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Friday, February 17, 2012

LeBron and Cleveland? Let it go already!

LeBron James recently said that he 'couldn't predict the future,' and that maybe one day he would entertain playing for Cleveland again. The internet, doing what it does best, blew this statement way the hell out of proportion.

The dude was standing in Cleveland. He was surrounded by reporters, microphones, and a city that - by all media accounts - wants him to go to hell. What was he supposed to say? If I was cornered in hostile territory, being eyed suspisicially by people who want to burn my shirt, then hell yes I'm going to talk nice about them. Is he serious about it? Who knows, but in my mind it doesn't matter. It wouldn't happen for 10 years or so anyway, if it ever were to come to pass, so it's not worth even debating. I'm not a LeBron defender, but I'm not a hater, either. I just wish people would come to grips with this and let it go.

I'm from Akron, Ohio myself. That's where I'm writing this, actually, on the eve of the Cavs hosting the Heat at Quicken Loans Arena (the 'Q,' to us locals). Am I excited about the game? Yes, because I like watching basketball and I love my home team. Does it matter who they're playing? Not really. The only games I might not watch are games against teams that are playing worse then we are (hi, Charlotte!), if only because really sloppy play irritates me and if they happen to pull a no-show against a poorer team, I get really mad - and that happens regularly. The Cavs are a young, inexperienced team right now with little to no true leadership on the court. Kyrie Irving has neither the personality nor the pedigree to command respect on the court right now, and our few veterans (Antawn Jamison, Andy Varejao, Anthony Parker) also fail in that regard.

The reason I write this is because of the continued anger and confusion that the LeBron/Cleveland connection still leaves in the media, a year and a half or so since the split. Let me explain my take on the situation, from what I can see here in Akron. For everyone I know who follows the Cavs, LeBron is old news. He's not on the team anymore, and he's not some specter looming over the franchise. He's a member of the Heat now. My social circle, at least, has let that go. I’m not wishing anything ill on the man (my father actually thinks far less of Blake Griffin, for example) and he can continue his career down south in peace. One reason I think he left when he did was because young teams in the East were stacking up (Chicago, New York, Miami) to go with Boston and Orlando so there was no way he was pulling those Cavs into the Finals by himself. He may have colluded to join Wade and Bosh long before but I think this is seen as more of a big deal because it's in the public consciousness. How many other players in how many other sports may have done this more successfully? We'll never know.

The big reason we're still hearing about this is because the media won't let it go. It's lazy reporting, to just connect LeBron to Cleveland and make some obvious statistical connection, then point to The Decision as it's root. The big news networks (ESPN in particular) thinks that the public still cares. Newsflash: most people don't. I got sick of the Brett Favre retirement saga, I got sick of hearing about Barbaro, and I'm sick of people painting the LBJ/CLE parting as an ongoing issue. Some reporter will go into a bar in Cleveland, intentionally stir up a hornets nest and then say, “See? See?” with a condescending tone, pontificating on why the issue won’t die. Hey jackass, the issue won’t die because you won’t let it. Give it a rest already.

I'll admit that I was mad when he left. Was I mad at him, or the way he did it? No. I was mad because I knew the first and perhaps only true Cavalier star of my lifetime was going elsewhere and I was back to watching 30-40 win teams with the likes of Bob Sura, Lamond Murray, Dujan Wagner, and Ricky Davis as it's 'highlight makers.' Here's what it's like to be a Cleveland fan: you watch players on your team, think , "wow, they're pretty good! I think we've got a potential star here!' and then they leave and you watch them get buried or cut by the rest of the league because they weren't that good after all. Players like Sura, Brevin Knight and Derek Anderson, players who looked better to us then they probably should have because of our inherently low expectations. This goes for all of our teams, most notably the Indians. Players like Ben Broussard and Jason Michaels, who start for us but go nowhere after leaving town because they're simply average at best. It's depressing when you step back and look at it.

Long story short, the media is the only reason that the public still links LeBron to Cleveland. If he came back someday, that'd be interesting. He'd probably be a shell of his superstar self at that point and it would be a purely sentimental move, but he did allot for the team in his seven years. He made the team relevant. He made people care, and he gave us some of the best highlights in the city's sports history. I just wish that Big Media would allow us to part ways for good, or at least, until a certain unpredictable future arrives.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Sports, Sports and More Sports

It’s football time! College football kicked off last week and the NFL started it’s season last night. The Ohio State Buckeyes romped my hometown Akron Zips, but who was surprised? They could have started their third string and still come away with the win.

As for baseball, the Indians season is over. The recent drubbing by the Tigers put postseason hopes to bed for good. They peaked in April and have been slowly sliding since, hitting rock bottom at the worst possible time. I’ll always wonder what they could have done, playing the “what if” game. What if Shin Soo Choo hadn’t missed all those games? What if Travis Hafner had stayed healthy? What if Carlos Santana could play defense? What if Fausto Carmona was someone else's problem? What if the Ubaldo Jimenez trade had worked out? “What If?” was the Indians marketing ploy this year, and it fits the season to the tee. What if, indeed.

Back to football, I’m in a fantasy football league and I’m starting Michael Vick at QB. I’m going to nervous until I see him play week one, because I just don’t know what I’m going to get out of him. I also have Peyton Hillis of my hometown Browns, and he’s already struggling with injuries. Damn you, Madden Curse!

I’m still kind of shocked that Hillis won the Madden Cover bracket contest. I understand his Arkansas fan base helped, but I just have this vision of the EA Sports executives seeing him beating out Vick on the final vote, and going, “s**t.” Vick would have been the first repeat cover star and is obviously more famous and marketable then Hillis. It’s too late now, since the game’s on store shelves with the Browns RB on it’s cover. It doesn’t seem to have hurt the game’s sales though, and let’s be honest – who buys the game for the cover, anyway?

Later, all.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I Suck at Halo Reach

It’s official: I’m no match for the Teenage Mutant Ninja Cyborgs that play online shooters anymore. Seriously, some people must be wasting their lives mastering headshots instead of doing something productive. I recently took a sojourn into Halo Reach’s online community, and it was a brutal wake-up call.

  • GAME ONE: I played team slayer and got first kill (dying in the process). So far, so good, right? I led my team in kills for the first half of the match but suddenly things went south. I don't know how or why. I started getting killed allot and no one would die for me. It was irritating as hell. I finished with 6 kills and 10 deaths, good for second worst in the game. My team lost the match, 50-41.
  • GAME TWO: Another team slayer match, this one was pretty much a ‘lambs (noobs) to the slaughter’ type scenario. I was constantly killed by a-holes I never even saw. I would unload entire clips into a guy, and then he’d one-shot me. I’m confident in saying that the other team was likely not a random rag-tag bunch like mine was: their coordination was just a little too sharp. I finished with 4 kills, 16 deaths and we lost 50-20. I was again second worst in the entire game. Damn it all.

At that point I called it quits. There are those who say that the only way to learn in these games is to get mercilessly pummeled over and over. These are the people who’s head I would like to slam in a door for hours on end. The whole, ‘die and a millions times and then you’re good’ idea is an archaic concept. There has to be another way. It’s like saying, “I burned myself hundreds of times learning to make coffee, so that’s the way you should have to do it, otherwise you’re a quitter.” Logic, anyone?

I asked the game to match me with players of my skill level. Did it? Well, if the rank and lifetime kills of my opponents was any indicator, no. The reason being, this long after a game’s launch is a terrible time to try and jump into the fray. If you don’t start when the game comes out, the longer you wait the bigger handicap you’ll have. The reality is that the game could have looked for hours and not found enough players as green as I was to fill a match.

As for playing with friends, that’s a great idea. You get together with people you know, and there’s a comfort level there. There’s a problem though. If you were to look at my friends list, you’d see one person, that would be Beta. She’s the only other player I know who plays the Xbox 360. Omega plays with me but for whatever reason he doesn’t have an online account. Even then, both of them only play when they’re visiting me, because neither of them has a system of their own. Anyone who I meet online playing Halo Reach or the like isn’t going to be impressed with me as I get blown away time and again. They’re not going to seek me out to play later. So for me, using the friends list is out.

I honestly don’t know what I’m doing wrong here. From Call of Duty: Black Ops to Team Fortress 2 to Halo Reach, I’m taking my years of FPS skills online and being ripped to shreds. The truth is, I’m not bad at these games. I’m actually pretty competent – especially with a mouse and keyboard in my hands – and when I’m playing an even match I can rattle off the kill streaks. I’m just no match for the folks with hours of playtime under their belt and skills honed over dozens to hundreds of matches.

I may yet retire playing multiplayer games for future reviews if this trend continues. Time will tell.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Pass? Not me… or will I?

I’m in the middle of reviewing NCAA Football 12, and it’s not been easy. Why? I can’t seem to pass the damn ball. Seriously, I can’t pass! Every ball I throw gets batted down or picked off. To that end I’m playing a running back in Road to Glory. However, there was recently a surprise.

I had to play makeshift QB for a play, and I completed the pass! Of course it was the second straight time we ran this play, so I had some idea what I was doing. The first time, I panicked – no one told me I was to throw the ball! – and got sacked for some 5+ yards. Dammit.

The review is still en route, so look forward to it soon.

Monday, August 1, 2011

NCAA Football 12 Bites

You can bite my... oh wait, you already are

You can bite my... oh wait, you already are.

I’m playing NCAA Football 12 for review, and I wanted to share this pic fro my Road to Glory career. Bud Daniel got his a** bit by a defender. Kind of against the rules, don’t you think?


Nothing to see here, just me being awesome. Again.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Almost Back to Full Speed

Things are progressing well with my new PC. I've updated AlphasSports and posted the quarterly report on It looks like we're almost back up to speed already.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

New PC–Updates Delayed

New PC

Just an FYI for anyone who follows the sites: I got a new computer yesterday. My old one was very slow and wasn’t up to playing many current games, so I was hampered in my reviews. My new rig is allot better and has room for upgrades, which my old one did not.

The big reason I’m sharing this is because it’s set me back a bit as far as working on the sites. I’ve got to transfer allot of data from the old computer to the new one still and that’s going to take time. How much time is still up in the air. I have to get things in working order first and then I can start the transfer process. Hopefully in the next day or so I can start doing proper updates again.

If not, hey – at least I’m working on the problem on a shiny new computer. That’s a plus, right?