Daily Ramble 136: 2018 Baseball Hall of Fame
With the announcements of the 2018 Hall of Fame class today I feel closer to baseball than I have in a while. I even played baseball with one of them as I was growing up.
With the announcements of the 2018 Hall of Fame class today I feel closer to baseball than I have in a while. I even played baseball with one of them as I was growing up.
I’ve made no secret of the fact that I am an avid baseball fan and whenever the calendar turns to January I start itching for Spring Training. While I’m not sure I’ll make it to Arizona for the games, I will definitely be following my favorite Western teams throughout the entire season. With that said, I think there are 2 teams that are seriously hunting for the West title – the Astros and the Angels. I take a brief stab at my initial thoughts for their prospects and then I turn to the hunters I’ve been leveling up in SMITE. Playing the adventure mode has me looking at these ADCs much more than usual and I think I might be learning a thing or two.
Fireworks featured heavily in my adventures in Secret World Legends today and I think they also might show up next season for the Angels. With the acquisition of 4 time All-Star 2nd baseman Ian Kinsler, my favorite MLB team looks like they might have put together the pieces they’ve been missing the past few years. If they can stay healthy, I think they might go pretty far next year, maybe even to the World Series. I can only hope.
The Angels just managed to pick up one of the most anticipated new players in baseball in Shohei Ohtani and I am so excited he chose my team. A player that actually has a chance to play both ways is truly unique in MLB today and there hasn’t bee one for quite a long time. My excitement for this makes up for my frustration that I feel for having read the wrong Point One issue for my Modern Marvel reading. Yeah, I picked the Marvel NOW! Point One that came out in 2012 rather than the Point One issue that came out in 2011. Can’t Marvel get better names for thier one shot comics? In any case, I’m gonna head back and read the correct issue and got back to my reading list from there.
First time in Detroit today and since I didn’t have any other games going on, I decided to fire up Pokémon Go and picked up 4 new Pokémon. Not to bad, but considering I haven’t played for the past few months, I was pleased.
Im actually really liking the updates to Pokémon Go but since I’m only level 11 I still can’t participate in many of the newer features effectively. Now that I’ve caught a few critters I think I might just see how well I can perform in this updated version.
With the news about the trouble Niantic had at the Pokémon-Fest and the drop off in players, I wonder how many are still engaged in the game.
How many asterisks do we need to append to Bud Selig’s Hall of Fame plaque? I’m sure that when all the drug enhanced, strike reduced records are finally tallied, there’d be so many aspects of baseball that this one man destroyed to give him his own Hall of Shame. And somehow the sportswriters are honoring him?
People used to be able to look up to the Hall of Famer’s and record holders as athletes of incredible skill and dedication. Now we have a bunch of drug addicts, wife beaters, and reality stars that people look upon with distain rather than the honor that used to be granted when obtaining the Hall of Fame.
Sure every team honors Jackie Robinson now by retiring his number but then we also had every team with players embroiled in the steroid abuse era. The joke of home run records and strikeout kings that were crowned throughout Selig’s tenure is a stain on the glorious history of the sport.
Player strikes, cancellation of the World Series, shortened seasons, and All-Star games that don’t mean a thing but then do mean something and now they don’t mean a thing again.
I still haven’t attended a Padre game since they named one of their terraces after Bud Selig because I think the man was horrible for baseball. Now I suppose I’m going to have to avoid visiting Cooperstown because of the man.
I really don’t see how a sport can deify someone who nearly destroyed it and tore it down from its pinnacle – this is despicable and I can’t say it enough.
Morning Ramble for May 2nd, 2017 in which I get my first disconnect in SMITE, I’m queried by HiRez about how I feel for obviously mismatched games, and I look back at the month of April for my Angels…they did pretty good surprisingly.
Today I experienced a disconnect for the first time and of course it was not fun. I’m not sure exactly what happened but I was simply playing Ra in the mid lane and about 5 minutes into the game, I was staring at a black screen. I alt-tab’d out and back to no avail and when I tried again, I saw some dialog with an Anti-Cheating failure asking me to click. I suppose the anti-cheating app crashed and that screwed up the game. I closed everything down and restarted and got back into the match without any further issues, but when I got back in, I saw that I was in base, facing away from the game and I had 2 other teammates sitting there as well. Loki seemed to be stuck partway down mid lane and a minute later – he disconnected. Only one of my team didn’t disconnect and I wonder if perhaps they were the cause of the anti-cheating crash, but who knows.
So I go from that game to one in which it’s pretty clear the Match Maker screwed up. HiRez even asked afterwards what my thoughts were on the balance of the match. We lost something like 7–33 and it was a clear rout. There was never a point in the game where we had any chance to even feel like we were competing in the game. It was 0–7 before 3 minutes into the game and they had 2 of our towers down by 5 minutes – it was crazy.
Two quick surrenders and I finally ended up in a game where our team had a chance. I played Ra mid lane and did pretty well. I didn’t rack up many kills – only 3, but I had the fewest deaths on our team – 5. We were dominating for most of the game and I feel I was contributing with lane control and vision – I actually purchased wards and started learning where to place them. It helped but it wasn’t enough since we had a 0–14 Cernunnos on our team. Even though we lost, it was a fun game since we were competitive as opposed to the previous 2 games.
I have to say I’m surprised that my Angel team pulled off a successful April. They eked out a win the last game of the month against Texas to take the series and their 3rd series of the month. Sadly they lost 4 series including a 0–3 match to KC and a 1–3 set to Houston. They did finish the month with a winning record at 14–13 though and they sit in 2nd place in the AL West. With so many injuries – Richards on the 60-day DL, Skaggs out for 10–12 weeks, Cron and Bedrosian on the 10-day DL, and Tropeano and Heaney not even expected to pitch this year, it’s surprising they can field a full team some nights. Trout has really carried the team so far with his best April ever. His 7 HR, 18 RBI, 2 3B, 9 doubles and his .364 average and .707 slugging percentage are all tops for him in April and he’s near the top in many categories in the AL. Hopefully he can continue to carry the weight of the team while the injuries heal – perhaps they’ll then have a chance to play like I really want them to.
This has been a crazy month, but a look back at April 2017 shows that I was a busy person. While I feel like I didn’t meet many of my goals, I actually did get a bunch done and on the whole had a good month.
I Nioh, I didn’t get very far but I did get outta the Tower of London. I actually was right about the fact that the London portion at the start is just a prelude to the real story. I was not gaining experience other than learning how to fight and how to get the basics down. I wasn’t even able to use the various stances available until after I got outta the tower and into Kyushu. I ventured forth a bit after the tutorial in Kyushu, but not too far. I’m taking this game cautiously since I keep dying.
I finished off the Moon missions and headed off to Venus. That’s as far as I got, but then again, that was my goal.
The big news for April was missing out on Preview Night tickets. I showed up on time and did everything I needed to do but the RNG gods didn’t look upon me favorably. I also lost out on the parking lottery so I’ll have to wait till June to see if I can get in on the open parking sale. One the positive side, I did read through both graphic novels for my book club – Archie and Afterlife with Archie and I enjoyed them both. Neither was really my cup of tea but I did get a kick outta some of the humor in the Archie issues and loved seeing the original stories that were included in each of the issues. It was just a bit too much reminiscent of high school for me, which I think is the point of the series. The Afterlife story was pretty good – kinda like a Walking Dead thing with high schoolers. I also read more in the Complete Marvel Reading Order and am almost done with 1962, I think May could be the month I finally move on to 1963, but we’ll see.
I think I read quite a bit this month. My usual target is 4 books a month – roughly one a week, and I was able to do pretty well this month. I finished off Lindbergh (B+ rating) by A. Scott Berg and it turned out to be a fun read. I was kinda surprised since it’s been a long time since I’ve read a biography. I’m pretty sure the exciting life that Charles Lindbergh lived and the fact that I love flying contributed to how much I enjoyed the read. Someday I hope to be able to pilot myself, but I lived vicariously through this book for now. The other books I read this month included A Head Full of Ghosts (B rating) which I talked about the other day; Robots of Dawn (B+ rating) – the 3rd (or 4th depending on if you count I, Robot) robot story from Isaac Asimov; Foreigner (B+ rating) by C. J. Cherryh which kicks off a series of about 15 books that I may just keep reading since this was interesting; and The 12 Week Year by Brian P. Moran which I haven’t rated yet since I am trying to implement what he suggests before I come to any conclusions. So, 5 books for April and I started a 6th that won’t get read fully till May but I’m looking forward to learning. It’s starting off the month with another non-fiction book called Black Flags: The Rise of ISIS – it won the Pulitzer Prize so I figure it should be informative.
Sadly, this game didn’t get any attention this month. I’m still pretty psyched about it and will start playing it soon, but I just had too many other things going on. April was a busy month, so much so, I passed on this game and I didn’t even buy Mass Effect: Andromeda yet though I want to give that a spin as well.
This is gonna be my MMO for the time being. I just started up a new Hobbit Minstrel, I’m enjoying her and am dedicated to reaching MAX level finally. I’ve had many different characters in this game over the years, but none that have made it above level 30. Most were Lore Masters or Rune Keepers but I figured a Minstrel would be nice to try – particularly since I enjoy healers quite a bit. So far I’me enjoying her kit as I’m learning. The complexity of using ballads, anthems, and codas is interesting and a bit difficult at first, but I’m learning. Actually, I’m still pretty young so I haven’t been challenged by anything that could really cause me issues yet.
I picked this up going into the baseball season to see what it was all about. From what I’d heard, it’s a pretty good simulation and from my gameplay, I’ve enjoyed it. I’ve won a game and played around a bit, but haven’t spent much time with it so far. There’s a couple of dynasty type modes that look real good so I look forward to playing it a bit more.
The first month of the baseball season was a hit or miss for my fantasy teams – I have 4.
In the big leagues, my favorite Angel team came out pretty even, at least not counting today which hasn’t occurred yet. They’re either gonna have a winning record for April or losing since they’re at .500 right now with today’s game the deciding factor. They’ve played better than expected but I worry about injuries. I’m just so happy it’s a long season.
This month, I got really into SMITE on both the PC and PS4. I’ve been really enjoying it, but for some reason, this weekend, I can’t seem to win a game. I’ve made it to level 18 overall on the PC and went ahead and picked up the god pack that unlocks ALL gods now and in the future. It’s pretty cool having so many options but I’ve tended to settle on a few that seem to be decent – Ra, Medusa, and Zeus, but I’ve also taken a liking to Athena as a Guardian/Support. I’m certainly not the best player, not anywhere close to a decent one, but I do my best to stay alive and contribute to my team.
Three weeks in and I’m still holding on to first place in my Hybrid Head-to-Head/Roto baseball league. I’ve put together 516 points so far and my nearest competition has racked up 507 wins. 9 points is pretty close and I just put another of my pitchers on the injured reserve. This one is doubly troublesome too – Garrett Richards, the ace of my Angels was placed on the 60 day disabled list and that really hurts.
Sadly, when it comes to my Scoresheet teams, the team I have based on the Angels is performing about as well as the major league team…they’re 7–12 so far and it’s been a struggle. I did well in week one, but it’s been a nosedive since then.
My team from both major leagues isn’t doing much better right now either at 8–11. Pitching is doing ok, but I can’t seem to get any offense going. I’m gonna look to mix up my batting order next week and we’ll see if that helps. It doesn’t help if my pitchers are throwing a 3.4 ERA when I’m only scoring 2.1 runs per game.
I’m still enjoying all 3 leagues and my Mendoza league is doing pretty well, though I’m no where near #1 in my division – somehow I turned a division winner into a mediocre team – I’ve really got my work cut out for me.
Today I finally got into LOTRO after trying all week. I also got around to looking at how my fantasy baseball teams did…One did pretty well so I focus on that one of course. I also read the next installment of Hulk…I’m almost out of 1962 and I’ve enjoyed things so far but these Hulk stories could use some help.
Ok, well I’m not really just starting LOTRO, I’ve actually played a few characters to their early 20s. This time around though, I really am planning to stick to the game. Not only do I have some determination this time around, I’m also moving on to a different class. My previous attempts at leveling have been as either a Lore Master or a Rune Keeper. Both are pretty cool and I enjoyed them, but for whatever reason, I never got out of the 20s with any of them. So this time around I’m gonna give the Minstrel class a shot. From my limited understanding (at this point), the Minstrel is a pretty versatile class that does pretty decent damage and is considered the best healer in the game. I figure that since I usually enjoy healing I’d finally pick the healing class in the game. I never rolled one before mostly because I didn’t have a group that I was leveling with so I figured healing might not be needed much. Screw that – I want a character with survivability and desirability – able to survive solo and desirable to groups if I want to group up. Along with a new class, I went with a new name…one that I checked the spelling of before I committed to it…
Meet Miaow, my Hobbit Minstrel. I’m looking forward to walking with her into the bowels of Mordor and challenging Sauron to a fiddle contest.
I had another good week this time around in my Hybrid Head-to-Head/Roto league. My other teams seem to have taken the week off, just like the Angels, but I pretty much dominated the Fantrax league for the 2nd week in a row. This format pits every team against each other every week in a “mini” roto contest with 10 hitter stats and 10 pitcher stats. This allows a total of 20 points for each matchup. We’ve got 15 teams in the league – it was 16 at the draft, but someone quit the next day – so there are a total possible point count of 280 points a week. With 2 weeks behind us, I’ve got 365 points in the win column which is about 65%. More to the point, I’m 44 points above the 2nd place team – so I feel pretty good so far. Sure, I know it won’t last all season but it’s a good start. I just hope to remain competitive for the rest of the season.
This is an interesting issue in the Complete Marvel Reading Order in that it encompasses 2 different Hulk stories and they are treated separately by the order. So since I’ve been using the CMRO site as my guide, I’m gonna only talk about he first part of this issue now and the second part next time.
The Monster and the Machine is the first story of the issue and it revolves around a machine that Doctor Banner created before he became the Hulk that should help control the transformation…and that’s just the start of the questionable decisions I’m seeing in this issue. Banner didn’t know that he would need a machine to control the Hulk before he was hit by gamma rays so I’m guessing he had a premonition or something.
In any case, I’m also confused as to why we need to get another reselling of the origin story, but we do. I think modern day movie writers must get this idea from these early Marvel comics since each series seems to repeat the origin for in the first bunch of issues – it’s getting old.
Another issue I have with this one is that the day/night cycle transitioning of Hulk is gone, replaced by…he’s permanently Hulk until they zap him with this new gun. And I’m not too sure about the mind control that Rick has over the Hulk.
Anyway, we get the origin story again, General Ross yells about taking out the Hulk with a new weapon, the army captures Rick but the Hulk gets away and does some nice hero type stuff. He saves a school bus from a train, saves a movie set from bad acting, and he flies around until Rick contacts him telepathically. The Hulk rescues Rick from the army and they head to the secret lab where they Zap Hulk with more gamma rays and he turns into Banner again. But Bruce isn’t happy to be restored, he want’s it all and zaps himself again hoping to get the Hulk’s strength and Doctor Banner’s intellect. It works…so far. So now whenever the Hulk is needed they’ll zap Banner with the gamma ray gun and blamo – Hulk.
One thing I did like about this issue – yes I know I bashed it a bunch – was that Betty Ross seems to be showing signs of intelligence. She’s starting to play with the idea that there’s something fishy about Banner, Hulk, and Rick, and I think she’s gonna figure out the secret soon.
The art was definitely the high point of this issue and I think Kirby is getting pretty solid in his drawing of Hulk. Too bad the stories seem to be getting worse. I rate this part a C-, but we’re getting awfully close to a D.