Tag Archives: sports

Sorry Albert, I don’t believe you

My new Sports Illustrated came in the mail today.  On the cover is Albert Pujols, slugger for the St. Louis Cardinals.  The headline reads, “Albert Pujols has a message: ‘Don’t Be Afraid to Believe in Me'”

Albert Pujols on SI

Sorry Albert, I have nothing against you personally.  I might actually believe that you are clean – but I’m not giving you the benefit of the doubt.  I want to believe you are clean – you are an amazing player.  I lived in St. Louis for three years and marveled in your greatness.  You are the only player I have ever watched that actually surprises me when you make an out.  You are so good that I actually expect a hit every time.

There are no signs that you are, or ever were, on steroids.  Yet you did sort of come out of nowhere.  You have always been a huge man, yet you do sort of look smaller on the cover of this issue.  Maybe you are clean – and I hope you are, but I still don’t believe you.  And you have no one to blame but yourself – and your union.

I assume you’ve heard the saying, “Once bitten, twice shy.”  Well, I was bitten when I believed Mark McGwire say that bottle of chemicals in his locker was just a supplement, and I was bitten over and over again each time I drove by the sign that read Mark McGwire Expressway just north of Busch Stadium.  I was bitten when I believed that the reason for the increased home runs in the late 90’s was because of “hard balls.”  I was bitten again when owners called Ken Caminiti and Jose Canseco embittered liars.  I was bitten (how many times is that now?) when Rafeal Palmeiro wagged his finger and angrily declared “Let me start by telling you this: I have never used steroids, period. I don’t know how to say it any more clearly than that. Never.”  And I was bitten when Alex Rodriguez made himself out to be the great anti-Barry with Katie Couric.  So I guess after all the times I have been bitten by the owners, media and especially by members of your union, I’m more than twice shy.

You might be clean, but you are not blameless.  Where was this indignation when Barry Bonds’ hat size went from melon to globe? Where were you when your former teammate, he of the cartoon-like forearms that were built on something more than spinach, was declaring, “I don’t want to talk about the past”?

There is plenty of blame to spread around in this whole steroid mess.  The owners probably turned a blind eye to it as Sammy and Mark rescued the game from the despair of labor disputes and a cancelled World Series.  The media droped the ball as they gawked at the home runs while ignoring the signs.  But the players – the clean ones – are as much to blame as anyone.  They were the ones that really, undeniably, knew what was going on.  They were the ones that were most directly being negatively effected by the cheaters.

So now you clean players want to say, “It wasn’t me – He did it.”  Sorry, it doesn’t work like that.  As far as I’m concerned – you’re all guilty.  The whole era is tainted – not just Barry’s numbers, but yours too, Albert.  Because it was you, Albert, that had the power to prevent the steroid era from happening.  If the union cared about the clean players, then it would have acted to make testing happen to protect their integrity.  Yet, the union continues to drag its feet.

You want me to believe you?  Then demand that your union leadership be fired – now.  Demand that Bud Selig is fired – now.  Demand random blood testing – now.  Demand full season suspensions for first offenses – now.  Do that, and maybe I’ll believe you.  Until then, you, and no member of your union, deserves the benefit of the doubt.

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Tecmo Bowl, Part 2

Everything I know about football, I learned from Tecmo Bowl.

  1. Walter Payton is the greatest football player of all time.
  2. Bo Jackson’s career was cut way too short.
  3. Lawrence Taylor was the most dominant defensive player in the history of football.
  4. Chicago is awesome when they have a great running back and a dominant middle linebacker.
  5. Special teams can win or lose a ball game (the ability to block extra points by choosing the second guy on the line from the top with Chicago, is an extreme advantage).
  6. A good tight end can bail  you out of a lot of problems (especially when calling Pass 2 with Chicago).
  7. Tackling with one man is good, tackling with two or more is better.  And when tackling, it is very risky to leave your feet.
  8. Nothing is more embarassing on a football field that getting thrown into the air by your opponent.
  9. You need a balanced offense – If your plays are 3:1 in favor of passing, it is too easy to shut you down, no matter how great your quarterback is (sorry San Francisco and Miami).
  10.  Halftime shows are always too long.
  11. There is nothing wrong with a high-five after a touchdown.

Any more things you learned from Tecmo Bowl?

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Tecmo Bowl – the first great sports game, Part 1.

Last week I picked Super Tecmo Bowl as one of my top 5 favorite video games of all time.  The reason I picked it over Tecmo Bowl is that it was a perfect sequel.  It kept the game play similar, but added a few dimensions.  I believe that Tecmo Bowl was a revolutionary sports game.  I’m no video game historian, but it was the first game that I remember that used things that are common in football video games today. 

  1. The scrolling screen.  Before this, almost all sports games had the entire field on one screen.  Using a scrolling field allowed for much more realistic scale and better gameplay.  Madden, the most popular sports game in history, now uses the scrolling field, but switched it to a vertical field, whereas Tecmo Bowl was a horizontal field.  The horizontal field better simulates the way we watch football on TV.  The vertical screen makes for a more realistic players’-eye-view.
  2. Player’s names.  Tecmo Bowl had permission of the NFL Players Association, so actual players and stats were used.  These stats were also used to individualize each video game player.  Even though they all looked alike (except for skin tone), each player had different attributes.  Oddly enough, they did not get permission from the NFL, so the teams did not use team names – just cities, and a loosely patterned color scheme (the San Francisco team was red and gold, but Seattle was pink for some reason).  Super Tecmo Bowl remedied this problem by getting the NFL’s permission – I think the first game to do so – and used the actual logos.
  3. An ongoing season.  The game simulated a season by randomly selecting a team for each “week.”  You were given a password after each week, and if you kept winning, you would advance to the playoffs, and then the Tecmo Bowl.  Super Tecmo Bowl took this a step further, by keeping some basic stats as the season went on.
  4. Play calling.  Tecmo Bowl coaches had four plays to choose from.  For most teams there were two runs and two passes, but for some teams, the ratio was 3:1 (Miami and San Francisco had three passes, LA had three runs).  Super Tecmo Bowl expanded the play calling to eight.  The defense called plays too, guessing which of the four offensive plays their opponent would call.  If they got it right, the defense would overrun the offense (most of the time).

You might be wondering, “Why the sudden interest in Tecmo Bowl?”  Well, I just downloaded it on the Wii, and it is as fun as I remembered.

 

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