It has been, once again,
a long time between these posts. I can use excuses, but I'll just
say when life has you running at a frantic pace, it's hard to put
words to type.
Anyway, I just have to
say it was nice to see that finally the "Cascadia Cup" games between
Seattle, Portland, and Vancouver in the MLS had something worthy of
watching. After seeing too many sad Sounders FC games (sad as in
boring and looking like high school level soccer), the game in
Portland yesterday was pretty damned amazing. Of course, it should
be when it was on ESPN. Not ESPN2, but on the real deal of ESPN1.
I nearly quit watching
after the first half. The first half looked like practice before the
match. The score at the half was 0-0, with nothing worthy of note.
It was looking like when Seattle hosted the Timbers a month or so
back. However, Portland kicked off the second half with a furry with
a quick goal in the first few minutes. That just started off the
game in full earnest with a score of 2-2 around the 80th minute. It
was nicely capped off on one goofy red card situation (goofy because
the attack by Portland looked nothing short of stupid to ever
attempt in the MLS; hint, don't send a flying kick next to someone's
head unless your aim is to get a red), which resulted in a 3-2
Sounders lead after the penalty kick was good. The only thing that
would have been better is if Montero's close shot around the 88th
minute went in (so damned close) and he walked away with the hat
trick. Still, 3-2 is a damned bit nicer than the usual Sounders FC
0-0 or 1-1 draws that have dominated their standings lately.
It's too bad the other
Seattle team (the Mariners) are not keeping up in the standings.
After being so close to the Rangers for first in the AL West in
June, the M's are dropping game after game. After being above .500
within a game or so of Texas, Seattle just got swept in a four game
series with the Angles and are now 7.5 behind Texas and 6.5 behind
the Angles. With the All-Star Break upon us, this is not a good
amount of deficit to face going into the second half of the season.
With about 90 games left, Seattle either has to go up, or start to
think about the trade deadline. I just hope this deadline thinking
doesn't lead to something as absurd as the loss of Peneda (who is
now All-Star bound due to some major shuffling in the line-ups).
Speaking of which, the
All-Star game is looking pretty damned funny with so many big names
sitting out for various reasons. Of note for Mariner fans, Felix is
now out since he pitched on the final game of the Angles sweep.
However, you also have Sabathia, Jeter, A-Rod, Rivera, and a dozen
other major names who were voted in not taking the field tomorrow.
It makes me think of the NFL Pro-Bowl games now that they are before
the Super Bowl. At least with the NFL you know the most vote getters
are going to probably be in the Super Bowl so it only makes sense
for many to skip the completely useless Pro Bowl the week before. In
the MLB it just looks silly for this many vote getters to not take
Anyway, on a final note
before ending this post, I'm getting close to ending my first run
through Ocarina of Time on the 3DS. The game has been fun, and far
more enjoyable than the original. Have a smoother control system
(thanks to the touch screen) and some vastly improved visuals is a
definite boost for this aged game. It's also cool to see the use of
the motion sensors for aiming of weapons, since it allows a better
experience in some of the puzzles and any archery based mini-games
(especially for the horse archery game near the end of the game).
Most of all, the 3D is so damned sweet in this game. The best
instance of 3D is easily when you obtain a sacred jewel or
medallion, since you get a really cool pop-out effect that makes the
visuals look like they are slightly closer to your visual frame than
the actual screen. Unfortunately, the manual aim doesn't play nicely
with the 3D, but the 3D slider is easy enough to access to solve
that issue. Just make sure you turn 3D on again whenever you have a
cinematic moment or obtain a medallion.
Now that the All-Star
game is over with for 2011, the obvious talk comes up...but first, I
have to say watching Pineda in his first All-Star appearance, as a
potential rookie of the year winner, was amazing. Strike outs, in
pleural? Check. No hits? Check. Total command of the mound? Check.
Pineda showed that a Mariner's uniform was definitely not out of
place in Arizona yesterday. Sadly, I only caught the first half of
the game, so I missed seeing if League pitched or how he did. Still,
seeing Pineda was all I needed to see to feel damned proud to be a
M's fan (and that feeling is not one I get too often for the last
So, the obvious
talk...trade deadline is coming up and the M's are probably sellers
after the recent string of losses and a slide from contention to
battling to not be last. I think the four game sweep by the Angles
is enough to darken some Seattle horizons. Still, the M's are not
out, but they sure are down.
I already said
what I think of talk of trading the epic starting pitchers
(especially Pineda, but also King Felix); just don't go there. They
are too good to give up on and will be the cornerstone of this
rebuilding effort. Assuming the most likely outcome happens, Fister,
Bedard, and Vargas have too good of a shot of becoming two or three
bad parts of the rotation. So, leaving a 1-2 punch of Felix and
Pineda is, without a doubt, a priority in building a contending team
in the future. The relievers should also be off the table for now,
since the M's bullpen is amazing and a reliever (possibly excluding
a closer) is never going to get a great return in a trade despite
what they can bring to a team. Relievers are like punters in the
NFL; needed and under-appreciated in value. Like punters, a good
reliever is only truly missed when they are gone.
Now the talk is
coming in Seattle about
trading Felix (once again...blah, blah) and Ichiro. I can almost
see the idea behind trading Ichiro. On one hand, he is slowing down
a bit (but I expect a huge return to form in the second half of this
season; he is always hotter after the All-Star break). Also, the M's
have plenty of people who can fill the void in the outfield that
would be left when Ichiro's glove is gone. Plus, this season, Ichiro
hasn't been the defensive power we have come to expect.
Now, why shouldn't
the M's trade Ichiro? Well, as I said, he's in a slump and he's
fielding like he's injured. If we saw an Ichiro trade last year, it
would bring a huge return. If he is traded now, his stock is down.
In other words, wait until the end of the season for him to pick up
his stats again, or else the M's will be, like they do every damned
season in July, giving away value for nothing of worth in return.
The M's are consistently like wanna-be day traders (the failed
type); they sell when value is below average and buy when value is
above average (or even at its peak). Look at Figgins; bought when he
was worth far more than his career stats showed. Look at Ichiro
right now and think about his value versus what it will probably be
after the season ends and he goes through the home stretch (which is
always the time for Ichiro to shine).
That's a damned
good reason right there, but here's some more. First off, Ichiro
likes Seattle, and Seattle likes Ichiro. He's not the most
personable player, but he has the mystique of a ninja; quiet, not
normal by any means, and just amazing to watch from a distance. If
the M's trade Ichiro, they will take a PR hit at home. More than
that, Ichiro is huge to Japanese MLB fans, and who owns the M's?
Yes, Nintendo. Yes, the Nintendo from Japan. Yes, the only MLB team
to be owned by a Japanese entity is also the one with the most
electric MLB star in the average Japanese sports follower's eyes. If
he was traded, I can assure you that the home office will probably
make a move of it's own, and the M's will be shopping for a new GM
quicker than you can say good bye to your Ichiro memorabilia.
If the M's want to
trade, they need to look at priorities and those priorities say they
need to trade where the M's have excessive prospects. For once the
M's have a ton of quality prospects and are truly rebuilding. If a
trade is made, then it needs to be one that has the M's gain large
in return for something that is not a guarantee, instead of the
other way around (like the M's seem to always do in the 21st
century). Rebuilding a house doesn't start with destroying a good
foundation while keeping around any rotting lumber. Get rid of the
rotten parts and keep what is quality and solid. The M's are not the
farm team of the AL...or they shouldn't be. I mean if the Pirates
can be amazing to watch instead of serving as a AAAA team for the
NL, the M's should be able to do the same.
The Sounders FC have
been in the US Open Cup tournament for two years (not counting
2011), and has walked away with the hardware each time. It is
becoming a wonderful tradition that the Sounders FC, no matter how
they look in the MLS, will be electric in the US Open Cup games.
After last night, when
the Sounders took down the LA Galaxy 3-1, the Sounders are once
again heading to the semi-finals (against Dallas in Tukwila...which
is almost home for the Sounders).
My problem with
this is despite drawing a good following and never being defeated in
a US Open Cup game, the game is still played at Starfire in Tukwila
(instead of Qwest/Century Link/Seahawks Field/Stadium) for less than
5000 people. Even worse, while the All-Star break is in effect, so
sports programming is a bit light last night, and despite summer
re-runs on network TV, not a single channel carried the game. Even
local radio didn't have it. I mean the Sounders have played on ROOT
(formerly FSN, and usually re-runs of matches), KING-5 (local NBC),
KONG-6 (local sister of KING-5), FSC, ESPN-2, and even ESPN-1. So, a
team with a huge local following (sold out stadium for ever home MLS
regular game and most friendlies), the best attendance possible
(until they open more seats at CenturyLink), and a perfect
undefeated record at the US Open Cup and the game gets no local
coverage? What the hell?
At least I can say
have a good website that will show the game when no one else
will. I was able to see each moment of the amazing victory, and even
have the true voice of the Sounders (best announcer ever; Arlo
White), and have the joy of DVR like functionality in streaming the
game with full pause and rewind ability. However, having no local
media coverage of this, especially when a few of the regular
Sounders broadcasters were showing absolute crap is nothing short of
At least it's a
great time for soccer in the Seattle area. The Sounders are going to
the semi-finals for the US Open Cup, they have CONCACAF Champions
League games starting soon, they are in playoff contention for the
MLS, and the US World Cup women's team is going to play Japan in the
finals. For those who don't follow soccer and view it as a boring
game which can result in 0-0 ties and 90 minutes of dullness, this
means nothing. For those of us who love give our 90 as supporters,
this is what the game is all about.
I will leave sports
behind for a day. I have focused on sports a lot on my posts mainly
to have anything to post. I mean it's summer, few exciting games are
coming out anytime soon, I don't get to movies often, and stresses
in life have left me with little energy to do much that is not
watching the M's or Sounders.
So, while being
lazy, I've come to appreciate one thing as much as sports; streaming
videos. I mean it's like watching TV, but better since there are
good things on streaming video (there's always something new to
find) and TV right now is pretty much lacking.
released the Netflix application for the 3DS. It was known that this
would be available at some time since before the 3DS launched.
However, the real question remained of when this would happen. The
web browser (which is pretty damned weak for something released with
current technology) eventually arrived. The e-store eventually
appeared. Now the question was when would Netflix come. It looks
like, at least judging from my Nintendo newsletter, yesterday was
the magic day...but it may have been sometime earlier in this last
Since Velveta was
busy on the 360 streaming some She-Ra cartoons on Netflix, and since
I'm a He-Man type over She-Ra (it's like we're little kids with
Netflix and it's always a battle of boy cartoons versus girl
cartoons), I needed something to occupy my time. So, I downloaded
the Netflix application and waited for the largest download I think
I've made on the 3DS to go through.
I have to say,
while the 3DS web browser needs to be able to stream youtube videos
(or maybe make a youtube application in the e-store), the Netflix
application almost makes up for it. Despite being on a little dinky
handheld system, the video quality looks pretty nice, and the sound
is pretty clear on the speakers...of course, trying to out-compete a
7.1 system blasting She-Ra with the 3DS speakers is not a fair
battle. Overall, I am pretty happy with this. I only wish the 3DS
had 3G or something similar to allow it to use Netflix anywhere. I
could really see myself enjoying it when taking a rest during a long
trip or the like.
Now I just hope we
see Nintendo add a youtube application, or update the web browser to
work with Flash to bring about more video streaming abilities.
However, with the web browser being capable of working while a game
is being played (and currently paused in the background), I don't
see this happening anytime this generation...unless Nintendo finds
it in their hearts to add another web browsing application to the
e-store that will get full use of the 3DS system resources...hint,
For Those Who Don't
Have Flash Plug-Ins...
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