The Greatest Game I’ve Ever Pitched

April 25th, 2011, a day that will live on in my video game memory banks forever. After a normal Monday of work and my usual 45 minute drive home, I arrived to notice my wife hadn’t arrived yet. So I did what any good husband does and fed our two dogs, Rocky and Maddux (named after Cubs and Braves great Greg Maddux). Once the boys finished eating I had some time to myself so I decided to do what any man would do with some free time, play video games.

I sat myself in the living room, turned on my PS3 and popped on MLB 11: The Show. Playing as my virtual-self in Road To The Show is easily my favorite aspect of Sony’s MLB series. As a starting pitcher for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim’s Double A team, the Arkansas Travelers, I took my turn in the rotation against the cross state rival, the Northwest Arkansas Naturals.

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MLB 11: Rosters Gone Wild

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After making it to the major leagues in Road To The Show as a pitcher for the Angels, I noticed that the landscape of the MLB had changed drastically. Strange trades in Sony’s baseball games are not uncommon, for example, I’ll never forget, as a Yankee minor leaguer, in MLB: 09 seeing seeing Joba Chamblerlain being traded to the Cardinals for Jesus Flores.

While that was akward, to say the least, in MLB: 11 it seems like the rosters fly completely out of wack after as short as one season. Now I understand that people get signed and traded normally, but this is getting a little out of hand.

Here are some players with their new teams:

Jake Peavy, Scott Rolen – Athletics
Mark Buehrle – Mariners
Tim Hudson – Cardinals
C.J. Wilson – Rockies
Derek Lowe – Red Sox
Francisco Liriano, Aaron Harang, Jason Marquis, Ryan Ludwick, Michael Cuddyer – Yankees
Carlos Zambrano, Kyle Drabek, Carlos Pena – Indians
Justin Morneau, Jeff Francis, J.J. Putz – Braves
Joe Nathan – Marlins
Derek Lee, Kerry Wood – Mets
Andre Ethier – Astros
Heath Bell – Brewers
Jose Bautista, Alfonso Soriano – Giants
Ike Davis – Orioles
Pablo Sandoval – Blue Jays

The worst trade effecting my team was when the Angels traded Jered Weaver to the Yankess for Rafeal Soriano. Also, since that trade, for some reason now Rafeal Soriano is the Angel’s ace (No wonder we’re in last place in the AL West).

Something needs to be done about this. A lot of the guys listed above are not going to be leaving their current teams for a long while. There needs to be some sort of loyalty rating that will keep superstar players attached to their current team, but leave room for blockbuster trades to still be made.

Hopefully this gets resolved, because this is getting as out of hand as Mike Piazza on the Marlins or Frank Thomas on the Athletics.

* 5/24/2011 – I’m still in my second season and just faced Jayson Werth on the Yankees.

Ranked: Japanese Born MLB Players

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Yesterday my buddy Jeff  of TwentyThreesThoughts brought up the idea of ranking the Japanese born players who have made it to the major leagues.

While we didn’t use the complete list of players because either we didn’t know them or felt they didn’t play long enough to warrant being on the list, we feel like we covered everyone that was worthwhile.

Packers Are The Trendy Pick In Madden 11

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packers steelers online use in maddenThe New York Times has recently posted graphs showing what teams Madden 11 players were using in online play. As could be expected, each playoff teams usage went up as they advanced, with over 10% of players using the Green Bay Packers after their Super Bowl XLV victory.
This got me to thinking about “front runners”, mainly because I’m sure next year I will be called one, even though it’s not entirely accurate. I’ve used the Packers in online and offline franchises for the passed few years now, essentially because they play the style of game I like to play. They pass heavy, and run every now and then as shown by their 11 rushing attempts during the Super Bowl.
Since I’m more a fan of Madden‘s version of football than the actual game, in the past I could easily have been considered a front runner in the past. I was always using the top teams in the NFL because I didn’t know better. Some examples of teams I used were the Buffalo Bills in Super Tecmo Bowl,  the San Francisco 49er and Dallas Cowboys in NFL GameDay time, and the Minnesota Vikings in the NFL 2Ks.
As I’ve become more nuanced in the game of video game football, I’ve learned my strenghts (passing) and weaknesses (running) and use teams that do that successfully. That is the main reason why the Packers have been such a good team for me in recent years.
Next year I’ll be making the switch from purchasing Madden on the PS3 to the Xbox 360 after the sad realization that I bought NCAA Football 11 on Xbox 360, and obviosuly couldn’t bring over my Draft Class to Madden 11 on PS3. I can’t wait to hear all the 13 year olds on Xbox Live call me a “front runner” when I smoke them with Aaron Rodgers and the Pack.
I just can’t wait to win a game on a Rodgers to Greg Jennings TD and yell “f&ck you Gumby” after I win.

Graph courtesy of NY Times.

Madden 12 Cover Showdown

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Aaron Rodgers Madden 12 Cover AthleteAfter a great ending to the 10-11 NFL season with the Green Bay Packers defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers, its about time to look at the choices for the cover athlete for Madden 12. While the offical cover athlete won’t be named until April, its always fun to speculate.

Here is ThatSportsGamer’s top 5 choices for Madden 12 cover athlete:

Arian Foster, RB Houston Texans – In his first full season he blew the doors off the place with 1,616 yards (thats damn near a mile). He also posted the 2nd highest Opening Day rushing total with 231 yards.  Sadly, the Texans went 6-10, and that is certainly not helping you get on the cover of Madden.

Philip Rivers, QB San Diego Chargers – Threw for 4,710 yards with a 101.8 QB Rating, but the Chargers went 9-7 and missed the playoffs.

Tom Brady, QB New England Patriots – Brady played out of his mind this year.  He broke his own record for touchdown to interception ratio at 9:1 with 36TDs and only 4 INTs while racking up 3,900 yards.  Not to mention he was an All-Pro, NFL Offensive Player of the Year, oh yeah, and the unanimous choice for regular season MVP. Sadly, the loss to the Jets prolly takes away his chance at being the cover athlete, but crazier things have happened.

Clay Mathews, LB Green Bay Packers – If EA goes defense with this years cover athlete, Mathews has got to be the leading contender. He was named to 2 Pro-Bowls to start his career, finished 2nd to Troy Polamalu for NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He also forced Rashard Mendenhall to fumble while the Steelers were driving in the 4th quarter of the Super Bowl.

aaron rodgers championship belt

Aaron Rodgers

Aaron Rodgers, QB Green Bay Packers – Who was that guy on the cover of Madden 09? Brett something, but he was a bum compared to Aaron Rodgers. After throwing for 3,922 yards  and 28 TDs with a rating of 101.2, he didn’t slow down when he got to the playoffs.  Playing 4 playoff games at the #6 Wild Card team, Rodgers threw for another 1094 yards and 9 more TDs. Last but not least he was the Super Bowl XLV MVP for throwing for 304 yards and 3 TDs. If Rodgers isn’t on the cover it will be the biggest shafting in cover athlete history.