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PS3 Releases: week of October 22, 2007

Oct
27

on the shelves

*Ratchet and Clank Future: Tools of Destruction – IGN: “Best Ratchet and Clank game – best PS3 game yet.”. PS-3 Advanced: “There should be a law saying you have to play this game.” Gamespot gives it a 7.5, the only review I can find that’s not gushing over the game. They, and others, point out the game’s too easy, which only few moments of real difficulty.
*The Eye of Judgment – your playing a card game against the PS3 while using the PS Eye Camera. I dunno.
*Clive Barker’s Jericho – gore gore gore
*Conan – shallow and short
*Juiced 2: Hot Import Nights – can’t find many PS3 reviews, but the XBOX 360 reviews said it was an average racer
*Ratatouille – a bad game taking advantage of a movie license; not so innovative

in the store

Add on:
– EyeCreate (create pictures with the PS Eye)
– Piyotama: Halloween Skin
– Ninja Gaiden DLC [$3] (play as Rachel)

PS1 Games: Spyro the Dragon [$6]

Game Video
– Bionic Commando (Trailer)
– Time Crisis 4 (Trailer)

Movie/Blue Ray
– The Water Horse
– P.S. I Love You Trailer
– AC/DC Live at Donington
– Reign Over Me

Wallpaper
– Eye of Judgment (3 more)

Spider-Man 3’s Goblin Add-on drops to $3.

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10/25 Cubs Catch Up

Oct
25

I hope the rest of the World Series isn’t like it was tonight. The one good thing is I waited long enough to start watching that I could cut out all the commercials and plenty of other junk during the show. By the time I caught up to the game, the game was a million to 1 and I didn’t need to sit thru much more. Just in case it’s a closer game, and I need to watch all nine inning, I think I’ll wait a little longer (or watch the Fire playoff game.)

There’s not a lot of Cubs stuff going on, but maybe enough to squeeze out a Thursday post.

They started ripping the field yesterday. Webcam footage (I guess) shows that all the grass is gone, and they’re dumping excess dirt. Most of the time will be spent on getting the new grass in and set up, I guess. It’ll be interesting to see if there’s any visible difference. You could tell it crowned from the seats (at least most of them.) It wasn’t as much as visible as it apparently is from the clubhouses.

Roberto Novoa got claimed by the O’s, which served to remind us that Roberto Novoa was on the team all year. That’s what preseason car accidents that break your shoulder do to you. I wonder if he got a playoff share.

Cliff Floyd was shopping himself to the Marlins. That wouldn’t seem to fit with them, but it’s a clear sign he’s not coming back to Chicago unless he’s getting a good spot; he doesn’t need to stay in Chicago next year as much as last year and won’t be taking a lesser role just to do it.

Ken Rosenthal says the Cubs are expected to pick up the options of Daryle Ward and Steve Trachsel. Ward makes a lot of sense, and I’m looking forward to his pinch hitting nearly as much as I’m looking for to a year of trying to spell his first name correctly. Rosenthal is usually accurate, but I hope he goofed about Steve Trachsel. Starting pitching is very thin in the majors right now, but there’s still plenty of bad options out there, just as bad as Trachsel appears to be for ’08 and a lot cheaper than $4.75mil a year. Trachsel was at best a luxury item at the end of the season to fill in holes, not something the Cubs need for 162 games. The Cubs are solid enough with their top five guys that they don’t need to be spending money on a 6th.

Henry Blanco says he’s 100% and will be back with the Cubs. Yay. He’ll be backup, Soto will be starting, Kendall will be long gone. The Cubs.com interview with Jim Hendry pretty much confirms that. (The other interesting thing about that interview is how Hendry praises the new scouting director while subtly burying the old one.)

Exciting Winter Ball Action!

Arizona Fall League
Sam Fuld: in 53 AB, 340/435/604 (Power? Who knew? It’s 4 2B, 2 3B, 2 HR, and he’s 6 of 7 SB)
Sean Gallagher: 6 IP, 0 R, 3 H, 0 BB, 5 K (Not one start, but 4 relief apperances; this may be connected to the Trachsel news)

I’m trying to think of what the next big news peg for the Cubs will be. Even though Cuban buying the Cubs and A-Rod signing with the Cubs both have minuscule chances of happening, those stories still manage to get covered. A-Rod’s opt out deadline is first, so I guess that’s it.

* 1 day after the world series – filing for free agency
* 4 days after the world series – last day to protect from the Rule 5 draft (neither these two should be big issues for the Cubs)
* 10 days after the world series – A-Rod gets an extension from the Yankees or opts out
* 16 days after the world series – Free agency starts (Cubs shouldn’t be big players)
* mid November – Mitchell investigation released (it’s Cubs related because I figure on players from most if not all teams being mentioned in one way or another)
* mid November/early December – Cubs finally officially for sale
* Dec 1 – last day to offer arbitration to free agents (probably no on Kendall and Floyd, yes on Wood)
* Dec 6 – Rule 5 draft (the Reds appear not to need another OF, so this should be quiet)
* Dec 7 – last day to accept arbitration (Wood probably says no, but still may come back)
* Dec 12 – last day to tender contracts (the end of Prior?)
* early January – Tribune is taken private
* late February – closing in on the final buyers (no idea when it’ll actually happen; team may be run by MLB this year for all I know)

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PS3 Releases: week of October 15, 2007

Oct
19

If you rely on this post and only this post for all of your PS3 news each week, you don’t know they’re introducing a 40GB model with no backwards capability and slashing the price on the 80GB model. But you’re not doing that, so I just wasted a link there.

on the shelves
Oblivion (Game of the Year Edition) [gamestats] – a bundle of Oblivion, the expansion pack (which isn’t otherwise available), and downloadable stuff. Maybe I’m understanding it wrong, but it sounds like they’re tricking you into buying another copy of the whole game to get the expansion. $$$$$$$$! Almost every review of the original game, an immense RPG released in March, gives it 9/10 or better and it’s the best rated PS3 game on Gamestats.
Tony Hawk’s Proving Ground [gamestats] – this is Tony Hawk 9, if you’re counting them out and arranging them numerically. I will not judge you. Reviews vary on this one – IGN accuses it of Maddenitis, a solid game that’s not much new or improved from last year. PGNx Media very much likes the new ideas added. They highlight the video editor feature, but I tend to think anyone who posts video highlights of their video game play is a tremendous dork.*

in the PS Store

Demo:
Folklore (RPG-ish)
Juiced 2: Hot Import Nights (racing)

Game Video
Uncharted: Drake’s Fortune (Action Adventure; making of)
Burnout (racing; trailer)
Turok (dinosaur hunting; trailer)
Devil May Cry 4 (hack and slash; trailer)

Movie/Blue Ray Trailers
Rails & Ties
Incubus – Alive at Red Rocks
Underworld

Wallpaper
Eye of Judgement (2)

They’re also dropping the price of Calling All Cars to $4.99 till next Thursday.

NEXT WEEK: Games based on cartoon movies, games based on movies based on books, games featuring characters you figured would be a cartoon by now but apparently aren’t, and more

* – exceptions made for RBI Baseball and playing thru Mario all the way on one life.

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Red Dust

Oct
15

When trying to figure out where the Cubs are going to finish in the future, you’ve got to take a look at the rest of the division. Not that it’s worth a close look yet, because the off season may change things, but you can pick up trends of where franchises are going.

The Brewers are obviously going to be pretty good for an extended period of time. I’d set a baseline of 80 wins for them; if everything goes completely wrong (like they don’t fix the pitching), they still should be around 500. They’ve got a high ceiling from there, and will surely be the consensus pick for the division in ’08.

On the other side, Houston doesn’t seem to be going in the right direction, but I’m not sure it matters with the talent they have left. Pittsburgh could still pick smart people this off season, but they’d have years of rebuilding. St. Louis kinda seems to be now in the same situation, except they’re going to waste the prime years of a top flight Hall of Fame player in the process.

The Reds are the wild card; they’re always close on talent, maybe a starter and a solid guy in the bullpen from being competitive. (I always think of them as a strong offensive team, but they could use some help there as well.) The Reds usually put up a run of very good baseball during the season, usually early, before turning into their usual disappointing season, seven straight of those now. Still, a few smart moves and some luck, and I think they could be the third strong(ish) team in this division.

Thankfully, the Reds are not going to let that happen.

Reds hire Dusty Baker – Cincinnati Enquirer

[Reds GM Wayne] Krivsky said Baker “embodies winning, leadership, credibility.”

ha!

“We’re going to play exciting baseball. We’re going to play fundamental baseball,” Baker said.

hahahaha

“He had two of the most high-profile players ever to play the game when they were going through rocky times,” [Jeff] Brantley said. “I’m talking about Bonds and Sosa. Dusty handled them both well.

“That’s the key. It ain’t going to be the pitching staff. It’s going to be about how he handles (Ken Griffey Jr.).”

I don’t even need to have witty/sarcastic remarks. This is so awesome.

Reading more in the Cincy papers, you can find Reds personal saying things like
– Wood had “the worst mechanics in baseball”, so it’s not Dusty’s fault. (You’d think a coach might want to catch and correct that before he breaks his arm. Guess not!)
– Prior “hurt himself”, whatever that means
– Kent Mercker thinks Dusty is great. In Chicago, Mercker confronted Chip Caray and Steve Stone, and Dusty protected him from punishment, so I hope Mercker would be appreciative.
– oh, the Chicago newspapers had it in for him, of course.
– Marty Brennaman may still heavily dislike Dusty, because no one can get him to say a quote otherwise.

I’m glad Dusty got this job, because it means Adam Dunn will be gone from the division very soon (surely to the Nationals as part of Jim Bowden’s master plan to recreate his old 70 win teams). Maybe Josh Hamilton will be gone too – Dusty is much more a Norris Hopper guy. I’m not looking forward to the first Reds trip to Chicago (April 15) and am already rolling my eyes at the “how dare you boo a guy who brought you within five outs of the World Series” columns, but mostly I’m thrilled to discount a contender. It’s not even specifically because they signed Dusty, though I love the idea of being able to watch him implode a team from a safe distance this time

The Reds problem is more talent evaluation than managers. The last couple of interim managers have turned things around for a while, and then dropped off in following seasons. The managers haven’t changed how they run things during those stretches, and changing managers gives the same results, so you’d think it’d be time to try something else. By making a splashing manager pickup instead of going after more talent, the Reds management show they still don’t have a clue. They could’ve used the extra money they’re paying Dusty over what they would’ve given Pete Mackanin on improving the players on the field and it would’ve made a lot more difference.

The bonus is one less bad person on Baseball Tonight. You know, the Cardinals still need a GM and Steve Phillips is right there…

Joe on Rubber Guard Radio

Oct
13

This Saturday afternoon, Joe was on Rubber Guard Radio. You can download the hour show right here.

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give the world a call

Oct
12

Have you ever said to yourself “by gosh, I would’ve listened to that last Joe Versus The World show, but I misplaced my audio playing device and only have my phone with me – if only there was a solution for my woes?” Well friend, have I got a deal for you!

(If you’re in the US) Call 1 (212) 404-5650 to hear the last Joe Versus The World Show on your phone! This is a free service (except for whatever you’re paying for your cell minutes) from podlinez, so we thank them.

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PS3 Releases: week of October 8

Oct
12

So. James started posting a list of Wii and DS weekly releases over on the w, and I eventually started to mimic him becuase that’s the sort of person I am. I’ve started posting them on Friday, because (I usually have time on Fridays and) enough reviews have started turning up to give you a feel about the game. If it’s a game people are getting blind, they probably already know it’s out.

This is the only time a week I actually discuss my PS3. No one else I know actually has one or is close to getting one, so I almost kinda have to do this sort of research myself to figure out if anything good’s coming out. At least that’s my excuse.

I use ps3 fanboy to get the list of games, and wander over to gamestats to get links and reviews. And that’s the whole process.

Anyway, since I post it there, and I’m posting absolutely nothing here, why not cross post?

on the shelves
* FIFA 08 – the reviews I read say it’s a definite improvement over FIFA 07, but differ about how much more polish it still needs. Game features online league play, so that’s another franchise EA’s managed to figure out how to do that with while still not having it for Madden. There’s also going to be online psuedo-Superstar mode (it’s not fleshed out in the game), but it won’t arrive until a patch that’s yet to be released. You’ll have to watch the store for it.
* Folklore – adventure/rpg/fantasy mix; 1up gives it a “good” review but warns “may well bore the average player before reaching the halfway point”
* Sega Rally Revo – racing. Looks pretty, very limited. It’s an arcade game, basically – fun but not deep.

in the store

Games: Everyday Shooter ($10) – 1up says it’s the first must buy game of the store (though I found the screen shots confusing)
Demos: Ratchet and Clank, NHL 2K8, Conan
Videos: Uncharted (BTS), Folklore (trailer), Fallout 3 (trailer)
Movie Trailers: The Assassination of Jesse James, Spiderwick Chronicles, Walk Hard
Wallpaper: Ratchet and Clank, Everyday Shooter

Next week: the next Tony Hawk and a re-release of the last Elder Scrolls game.

NLDS Game 3: Diamondbacks 5 – Cubs 1

Oct
07

POTG: RP Bob Howry (2 IP, H, 4 K)
Runner Up: 2B Mark DeRosa (2H, R but GIDP), 1B D Lee (2 H but GIDP)

No power, no win. One double on the night, 4 extra base hits on the series, and it obviously wasn’t going to be close. Rich Hill dug a hole early, but it doesn’t matter much when the Cubs only put up a 1.

I’m looking for something to say about the game, but there’s really not. The grounding into double plays, 4 in the first 7 innings, was crazy annoying, but they would’ve been just as much an issue if they were only good for one out. The Cubs were hitting ground balls instead of line drives all series, and it’s tough to get extra bases when your hitting the ball to the short stop.

Stephen Drew looked good at the plate, but looked at shortshop like he should be a third baseman.

Gut, instant feelings:
Ward – returns
Floyd – does not
Wood – stays
Prior – DFA, possible resign at a big salary cut
Monroe, Cotts, Novoa – same
Jacque/Marquis – no trade
Pie/Murton – platooning
Dempster – still the closer
Marmol – still the setup
Kendall – free agent
Blanco – back up catcher
Soto – #1 starting the year
Trachsel – history

Next Year’s 25

01 CA Soto
02 CA Blanco
03 1B Lee
04 1B Ward
05 2B DeRosa
06 2B Fontenot (or Cedeno)
07 SS Theriot
22 3B Ram (oops! distracted)
08 LF Soriano
09 CF Jacque
10 CF Pie
11 RF Murton

12 SP Z
13 SP Lilly
14 SP Hill
15 SP Marquis
16 SP Marshall

17 RP Wuertz
18 RP Eyre
19 RP Marmol
20 RP Howry
21 CL Dempster

22 SS Cedeno or middle infielder
23 spare OF
24 left handed reliver (Ohman?)
25 spare reliever

NLDS Game 2: Diamondbacks 8 – Cubs 4

Oct
05

Cubs 0-2
Diamondbacks 2-0

POTG: C Mr. Soto (2R HR)
Runner Up: PH Daryle Ward (2B, 2 RBI), RP Kerry Wood (2 IP, H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K)

Ted Lilly and the Cubs are going to beat Doug Davis and the Diamondbacks today. I’m not even worried about it.

Shows what I know.

I was thinking about doing a liveblog last night, but opted to get some other stuff done while watching the game. If I had written then, or written this in the immediate aftermath of this game, this blog would’ve been filled with bursts of depression and anger. I waited till now instead and spared myself an embarrassing comments for the rest of my life (though it’s another thing that makes this the least interesting Cubs blog ever.)

I’m trying to look at things rationally. Like at least Kerry got to make it back to postseason and be effective. And Soto’s probably the Cubs starting catcher in ’07 with Kendall only coming back if he’ll be a backup and Blanco can’t. (Though Soto didn’t have the best game behind the plate, both in blocking ball and pitch selection; with Hill on the mound anyway, I wouldn’t be surprised if Kendall was behind the plate and they just told the Diamondbacks to do their worst.) Even though Ram didn’t get the big hit, they at least got some looks on Valverde.

The Cubs had two game loss streaks 19 times during the season. Before the team bottomed out at the start of June, they lost the third game 5 times and won twice. As the Cubs turned around, the Cubs followed winning streaks by winning 9 times and losing only 4. The Cubs have mostly been the first half team for the first two games of the series, but they’ve got to find their second half/later two-thirds ability if they’re going to have a chance.

I think the Cubs still have it in themselves to send this back to Arizona, because the Cubs can get to Livan and win the game if Hill doesn’t leave the ball up, and Z will win Game 4 all by himself if he has to (just to make a point about who should be silver slugger!) I’d be lying if I felt at all confident about a Game 5 back in Arizona – I’d also be lying if I told you I ever wanted to see Chase Field again – they were playing paddy cake in the top of the 9th in that home plate dugout! – but I’d like not to be crushed.

If the Cubs can get out to an early lead on Saturday – never be a better time for a Soriano leadoff homerun – the crowd can carry the club a bit. I just worry about how it’ll be if it’s agonizing early, because the Diamondbacks have taken the heart out of the lineup with the last two games.

Dick Stockton is an awful announcer. I swear, he confused “Cubs” and “Cowboys” when Michael Wuertz came in.

NLDS Game 1: Diamondbacks 3 – Cubs 1

Oct
04

Cubs 0-1
Diamondbacks 1-0

POTG: SP Z! (6 IP, R, 4 H, BB, 8 K; 2B)
Runner Up: 2B Mark DeRosa (H, BB, HBP)

I need to get this argument out of my system, because arguing with human beings, arguing with the radio and arguing with newspapers hasn’t helped so far. Writing it out usually does the trick. Since the Cubs are indeed playing another game today, it doesn’t serve a purpose to dwell on it.

Whatever time Z got yanked – after 6, after 7, after 8 (I’ve been arguing with someone who thinks he could’ve gone 9, which would’ve put him at 127 pitches and pitching in 3 days) – it makes absolutely no difference if the Cubs can’t score any runs. Z pitching one more inning would not have changed the offense, you can’t prove Z wouldn’t have run into trouble, and even if he didn’t, Marmol’s always going to be the first guy out of the pen but now facing a better portion of the Diamondbacks order. You’re getting the same result whenever you pull Z, and if the Cubs weren’t going to score regardless, they’re better off saving Z for a day where they might. (Let’s take a moment to note that Arizona is going with a 4 man rotation, which means Z faces Micah Owings next time thru, not Webb. That’s a much better shot.)

I find the whole argument about pulling Zambrano completely and totally insane and inane. It’s like arguing if it’s better to get to the North Side via Lake Shore or 90/94 – if you don’t have enough gas to get you there, it doesn’t matter which route you take. The Cubs ended up pulled over to the side before the big S curve and for all the complaining about taking the wrong route, the actual problem was not stopping at BP sometime earlier. In 2007 baseball, pitching can not be blamed for any lose where the offense scores 3 or less runs – it takes a heroic effort to win with little support.

Marmol’s problem clearly wasn’t the batters he was facing, but overthrowing the ball and pulling everything to the left because he was too hyped up, then trying to just get pitches over which got them cranked. Maybe Wood would’ve handled the moment better, but you’ve got to go with your best bet, and Carlos Marmol arguably has been the MVP this year.

I greatly admire Lou for believing in the move he made and refusing to back down from people who had decided what story they wanted to tell without taking a look at the scoreboard.

Sometimes, the other team is just simply better. This was one of those games. Tip your cap and try again tomorrow.

These things I know to be true

– The Cubs aren’t winning the series if they score 1 run a game
– The Cubs aren’t winning the series if Carlos Marmol turns into a pumpkin
– at least the first and probably the second problem won’t be such an issue when the Cubs face the non-Webb pitchers.
– The Cubs must get ahead early to take the Diamondbacks bullpen out of the game.

I think I’m not really as mad about this as I am about the extremely annoying guy in the blue/white Under Armor-like shirt behind home plate all night. He had tickets in the surely most expensive section in the ballpark and he wasted them, so either he’s filthy rich or someone was dumb enough to give him free ones. He clearly didn’t care about wasting the money for the tickets, because he spent half the game turned around chatting with someone, a full inning flirting with the blond girl who was sitting in that section (and also not paying any attention) and the rest of the time watching himself on television. He gave Narcissus a run for his money, and the stupid “Hi [whomever]” signs he kept trying to hold up were unreadable even in HD but still very distracting.

This guy really should’ve been ejected after he tried the flashing Cubs logo thing, and I’m figuring it was only because the game was so close to being done (those people who left early just after can also get lost) and because he was in the expensive section – if someone did that in the bleachers, they’d be banned for life. At the least there was a payoff at the end, when he picked up a plastic glass of whatever and he got distracted or got yelled or whatever and the glass slipped from his hand and splashed onto the floor. Serves him right for standing around like a goof and acting the part all night.

(These are the kind of things you notice when the team’s doing nothing at the plate.)

This dude, more annoying than anyone calling home on their cell phone and waving to the camera, gave me two ideas:

1) Baseball needs to find some fabric that allows one way viewing – you can see out, no one can see in, like a one way mirror – and use it to cover the area behind homeplate (as well as any visible basement area like where this guy was sitting). TV still has the whole rest of the stadium for reaction shots, and we don’t have to stare at people who are purposely trying to distract attention from the game so we will look at them instead.

2) The next great idea for a cable station is to have no TV shows at all. Just turn a camera on in a public metro area, broadcast that camera’s feed on your network, and promote it’s existence. It’d basically be the most high profile webcam possible. Everyone who so desperately needs to be on TV can seek it out and do whatever, and it ought to be cheap enough that it can be added to every cable system in the universe and maybe those people can get the exposure they want. I’m not sure who’d bother to watch this, but if you can make being on TV not so novel, perhaps people will get over it when they get good seats at a sporting event.

Ted Lilly and the Cubs are going to beat Doug Davis and the Diamondbacks today. I’m not even worried about it.