Wednesday, September 20, 2017

MLB Needs Social Media Presence

I don't think I've ever seen a sports league be so backwards in being online than Major League Baseball. There was a time where you could watch clips that lasted a few minutes. Now, they only do 30 second clips. It's a little understandable, but this is beyond stupid. Along with being very strict, they still don't get this isn't 1996 where TV is still king and cable is still in its infancy for sports. You wonder why the other sports leagues do better on the Internet? They don't mess with fans and don't look at their wallets (NFL really depends, though). If MLB wants to do better with social media, here is what they have to do.

Get rid of the 30 second clips (somewhat)- These highlight type clips are not a bad thing if you don't want to get up and listen to Sportscenter or some local channel in the morning, but why not show the entire play? There was a time where they showed clips that lasted two to three minutes. I can't even find the 2011 clip of eight Yankees players getting hit in a span of five games. MLB should save some of the best stuff as full plays and something like a strikeout performance as 30 second clips.

Do better archiving and uploading games- A point in time this decade, MLB tried uploading games, but it was a joke. A number of games were Japanese and their own games didn't account for possibly two percent (maybe even lower) of the total of games shown since the 1940s. There are all these games they can upload and show to the public. Why do they not make the effort? Are they that money oriented that they can't give back something for free? I keep thinking about what the NFL did last year with the free games they uploaded of each team. At least for MLB, they should try to get some games real fans consider classics, not games that Ichiro Suzuki played in before joining the Seattle Mariners.

Kill Advanced Media and give teams Internet control- Here is why the NBA and NHL handle things better than baseball. They know their audiences and are less likely to get caught up in flagging videos. MLB Advanced Media will go after lots of users for videos except if they are in the stands at a game. Teams don't really have anything on their channels and their subscriber counts are still embarrassing What I mean is all the teams have is behind the scene things and press conferences. No videos of any of their highlights. MLB needs to kill off the Advanced Media brand and let the teams upload highlights and games. It would be more convenient and less of a mess when navigating for videos. Less exposure is not a good thing.

There's other reasons like making the MLB site look more stable and not slow down, but I digress. They can't keep relying on the 50 to 75 year olds who can stomach seeing the same Viagra ads for three hours. Eventually, they will all pass away. I'm not saying there isn't a new generation of people that aren't interested in baseball, but MLB should be worried. It's a step above NHL, but the NBA and NFL have grown a lot bigger on the Internet. Even with the NFL joining YouTube a few years ago, it has done things better than MLB has in the last seven to eight years.

In a nut shell, Major League Baseball has to be stop acting like dictators when it comes to social media. Instead of always being focused on money, they should start giving back to the fans. Rob Manfred should be embarrassed by how much bigger the other sports are online compared to his.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Switch Ports: Bethesda and Rockstar

Since 1996, Nintendo has struggled with getting third party games on their systems. Even for as big as the Wii was, it wasn't big on getting some of the bigger titles that made it to the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. The question on the Switch is still in the air. It has done decently since its debut in March, but the concern will be if there are games beyond the Big N that can make it to the portable/home console hybrid.

In the midst of this, Bethesda announced plans for a few of their latest titles to make it to the Switch. Doom, one of the bigger hits last year, is expected to come out late this year. Continuing into 2018, Wolfenstein II: The New Colossus will be one of the new titles that will release in year 2 for the system. I think this is very important since these are titles, while not as big as other games, that can be high quality and give people a reason to feel confident in their new system. Bethesda is pretty confident. They are putting their eggs into Nintendo's basket. The last time these two series made it to any of their systems was 2002 with Doom II on the Game Boy Advance and since 1995 with Doom on the Super Nintendo.

To keep this in mind, Bethesda has developed games for Nintendo systems going back to the NES days, but it's such a small number (only two games for NES, nothing after that until the DS) and not much was seen in the last ten years in terms of support. With these two franchises and an Elder Scrolls port on the way, it could pave the way for other companies following suit and make it more than just a first party box. It could also give the company another avenue for profit considering how much they have grown since the first Elder Scrolls game on DOS in early 1994. Could something like Fallout 4 make it to the Switch? Who knows. The possibilities are there.

Shifting gears, Rockstar is one of those companies that early on gave Nintendo support with some games on the Nintendo 64, GameCube, and Game Boy line. However, they have mostly gravitated to Sony and Microsoft systems for their big titles. There have been a few surprises like Manhunt 2 making it to the Wii, but overall, they haven't warmed up to the Big N. I doubt this will be a confident changer to bring stuff like GTA V, but it is support. Coming out in November will be their crime thriller, L.A. Noire. The 2011 game that had a lengthy development time (started in 2004) is also going to come out on PS4, and Xbox One at the same time. It is the first big title, even though a port, for a Nintendo home console since 2008 with a port of Bully, and since 09 with GTA: Chinatown Wars on the DS.

I think this speaks a lot to Rockstar looking at how well the Switch has done. Typically, they are more of going towards the PlayStation and Xbox brands. It's very evident with Red Dead, GTA, The Warriors. They've been with these two since the original PlayStation and Xbox systems. They are not going to take a huge risk, but it's still in the air on whether this will convince Rockstar will continue with support for the Switch. It is going to be a little more expensive, but not much. Forty dollars is what it will be digitally, but getting a cartridge will be 50. There hasn't been a cartridge based system since the 64 and before this, all Nintendo handhelds have been cart based. With a new developer handling the port since Team Bondi shut down in the fall of 2011, it will be very intriguing to see where this lands in terms of critical and commercial success.

Nintendo has certainly got companies coming to them. Getting games from big and small developers and publishers so far in 2017 has gotten them off to a decent start. Combined with some of the big name titles like Mario Odyssey coming out this fall, it could be the year that they recover from the dreadful era of the Wii U. They can't let their foot off the gas. If they can continue to be aggressive and fully advertise and market the Switch and games for it, it will give the world a reason to like the Big N as a home console manufacturer.

The Simpsons Shorts: Bart of the Jungle, Family Therapy Reviews

Short #44: Bart of the Jungle

A creative way to piss off Homer can be through various means. In this short, the kids go through his closet to play with all his ties and act like they are in a jungle. It works pretty well. There is enough to be consistently funny. Animations are really good for this very late short. A great one to watch.

Score: 8 out of 10

Short #45: Family Therapy

This is one of those shorts that definitely has a Season 1 quality to it. The way the animation and backgrounds look, it has that look that was seen in the very first episodes they produced. (Some Enchanted Evening caused the show to be delayed from September 1989 to January 1990 with the episode airing in May) Getting into this one, the whole family is in for therapy, courtesy of Homer. Strange to think he would do that, but then again, there would be an episode in the first season with therapy.

As far as the writing goes for this one, it's consistent. It's funny. The characters all have good moments individually, and the last 30 seconds is hilarious that it feels like the show. I got nothing but good praise for this one. Very funny.

Score: 9 out of 10

It's come down to this. Next week, the final three shorts. Maggie is in danger, and the TV has signal issues.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

It: Scaring Records Away

No doubt, if you have seen the advertisements, you will know that It has made its way to theaters last Friday. What was yet another film adapted from a Stephen King novel, I don't think anyone expected the numbers for it to be high. When I saw the Thursday numbers at 13 plus million, my impression was it would make 50 million and have a good weekend. Not only did it do well, but it easily outdid its competition.

For final weekend numbers, It made 123 million dollars at the box office. It is one of the biggest R-rated openings. This is also the biggest opening for any horror film, September release, and fall release, beating out recent films like Gravity and Hotel Transylvania 2. Keep in mind there was a 1990 version of the book, but that aired on ABC as a mini-series. It is also close and will beat out The Green Mile's domestic total, leaving the film as the top grossing film from any of King's novels.

In a sea of films adapted from the author's works, most of them have never been huge. Some, like the overplayed Shawshank Redemption, are still held in high regards. The Shining is still regarded as one of the best adaptations. Why did It do so well to begin its run in theaters? I put it down to people really wanting to see how this film stacks to its mini-series counterpart. Obviously, the tone looks a lot of different judging by the commercials. There is a little bit of cheese with the mini-series, especially with some of Tim Curry's lines as the clown. How close it stays true to the novel might be a factor for some people. The fact that there hasn't been adaptations of King's works the last few years since the 2013 Carrie remake helps a little bit. Really, the last ten years have seen not so many adaptations compared to what was seen throughout the 80s and 90s.

I think most people want to see a real horror film. When I mean real, I mean something that genuinely keeps you frightened for a good while. Not any of this light-hearted PG-13 crap. Studios think more about trying to get an audience than producing an authentic scare fest that can wow people. Obviously, it's not a surprise film like Paranormal Activity which got movie goers curious when it came out in 2009. However, It seems like the kind of film that could last until around November or December. Depending on the legs, it could even last beyond 2017, but that's a big pipe dream.

As always, there will be competition to best It. The next big horror film is Friend Request, coming out on the 22nd this month. However, it's going to face the next few weekends with American Assassin, mother!, and Kingsman 2 coming out in that time span. Even limited stuff like Battle of the Sexes are getting some promotion. For It, it still has time to keep chugging away and help September 2017 be a month to remember following a bad summer that hadn't been that putrid since 1993.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Using Adblock

Probably the last five years, I have used Adblock. It's one of those internet tools that is used to block ads that appear on websites and videos all over the web. But do companies understand why people do this? Do they get the complete picture?

When YouTube got big around 2007 and into 08, companies wanted in on the pie. As a result, ads for various products, films, etc. became the norm. That being said, it would usually be the same commercials. For example, it seemed like all I got was the T-Mobile ads with the one girl in the pink polka dot dress. Whatever flavor of the month film was coming out seemed to get a lot of internet air time. Typically it was horror films.

Using your own computer or laptop, you can pretty much get away with not seeing ads. However, colleges and schools don't use adblock, so you'll see commercials. The last ones I saw on a college computer was the same repeated Burger King ad for french fries that were healthier (Satisfries I think was the name of the product) As time has gone on, companies and sites have gotten wiser on what people have done and counteracted with stuff that forces you to see sponsored ads. In regards to that, it's really shitty.

Look, I get sites need money from advertisements. We are in an era where DVR and streaming is big and people can skip through commercials. The way they do it, however, needs to be changed. Sites need ads that aren't going to clog computers with viruses or malware. They also need to stop shoving the same things down everyone's throats. It's annoying when one sees the same Progressive image of that idiot Flo constantly. I remember one site constantly showing a Netflix advertisement image of Shutter Island from 2010. People understand that a business needs to thrive. They would rather not see a site get clogged and slowed down because they need to promote something that will be replaced with something else in a month's span.

Luckily, Adblock can still be used on YouTube via computers. When it's all said and done, sites and advertisers  have to think smarter and cater to what people want. Otherwise, more and more ways of blocking ads will still be a huge problem, (which I will still block ads) with no way to stop it.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Scary: The 2017 Cleveland Indians

There are those records that can be traced back to who knows how long. Odds are we'll never see someone break Cal Ripken Jr's consecutive game streak, which he broke Lou Gehrig's in September 1995. The 56 game hitting streak set by Joe DiMaggio in 1941 could be broken as some batters can get 30 game hit streaks, but fail. That being said, what this Cleveland Indians team has done this past month is nothing short of spectacular.

As of this blog, the Indians have won 19 in a row dating back to August 24th. They have played 11 straight games with the start of September to now. When this season began, they looked mediocre. Some might have questioned the players that acquired like Edwin Encarnacion. Since mid-June, they have been a bigger team in the American League Central. A few hiccups here and there, but they could get back into the World Series. What is that makes them scary?

For one thing, you don't want to face pitchers Corey Kluber and Carlos Carrasco. They will find ways to get batters out and produce lengthy outings. Both them and Trevor Bauer are a deadly trio, though Bauer has a high E.R.A. The relief in the bullpen shows some stand outs like Cody Allen and Andrew Miller. They can get those innings in case things go bad or close out to get a win. Four of the relievers have struck out 60 plus batters, so there isn't too much of a weakness in that area.

Batting has its obvious strengths and weaknesses. What team doesn't? The Indians have some power. Francisco Lindor has been on a tear with the long ball. Encarnacion has been a decent addition. His numbers aren't like what they were the last five years, but Cleveland should be happy this year. With 34 home runs, it's still good enough to guarantee wins. They can hit the ball well with Jose Ramirez, Lindor, and Carlos Santana. A problem is being healthy. Jason Kipnis and Michael Bradley have had issues being on the field. The Indians have just lost Bradley Zimmer for the rest of the season due to a broken hand in their latest game. They don't have much talent on the bench outside of Austin Jackson. 

Could the Indians get cold, though? Absolutely. Look at the Los Angeles Dodgers. They have lost the last few weeks, and what could have been an easy candidate to represent the National League in the World Series is now in question. It's going to be tight for Cleveland to get home field advantage throughout the playoffs with the Houston Astros breathing down their neck.  However, they could make history with their next few games. Win another one and they will tie the 2002 Oakland Athletics streak at 20. Another one can tie the 1935 Chicago Cubs with another one securing the number one streak as far as consecutive games without a tie goes. The record, tie or not, is 26 set by the 1916 New York Giants. Funny as it is, these records were around August and September of their respective years. (Update: They are second all time and their streak lost last night, September 15th)

The only team I see scaring Cleveland is the Astros. With the addition of Justin Verlander in the Lone Star State, the pitching can be even more dangerous. Don't rule out the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees as. When they are good, they can't be stopped. Cleveland can't let their foot off the gas. It's crunch time and every game matters not in the sense of division (they're going to win the Central), but as mentioned, home field advantage. Similar to the Dodgers, anything less than a World Series championship will make 2017 a big year for nothing.

The Simpsons Shorts: Bathtime, Bart's Nightmare Reviews

Short #42: Bathtime

It's hard to come up with anything to say regarding this short. Bart attempts to hide from Homer so he can avoid taking a bath. Unfortunately for him, he gets caught and is forced to bathe. That's about it without spoiling too much of it. It pulls the punches and pays off with the beginning and ending of the short. You'll get the chuckles from this one.

Score: 7 out of 10

Short #43: Bart's Nightmare

With this one, Bart has eaten a lot of cookies and has a nightmare. It features a nice little call back to The Shell Game and plays off that with a funny nightmare that the eldest Simpson child has. That's really all I can say with it. The ending is really hilarious. I haven't said much as far as the animation goes since it feels like most of the improvements came in the second season of shorts. This is about as close, if not, identical to what would be seen in the first season of the half hour show. It's a must watch short.

Score: 8 out of 10

Five more shorts to go. Next week, the kids play jungle in a unique way, and the family goes to therapy.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Abusing Authority

I know a few friends that are nurses. One of which is a traveling one. In my own family, I have a sister and cousin who work as ones, too. This profession works very long hours in a stressful environment. I hope that they don't face the same thing that happened to Alex Wubbels back in late July where she was arrested for doing her job the right way.

Back in July at a Utah hospital, Wubbels had to deal with a cop, who demanded to see blood work of a patient who was involved in an accident earlier the day of the incident. The cop, Jeff Payne, was said to not have a warrant to get a sample. Another way in Utah is to get permission, but the patient was unconscious, so there was no way to do that. Wubbels explained to him about the policies, but Payne grew tired of it, and had her arrested.

Up until the last few days, it's just another arrest story. With the body cam video being released within the past week, it's become another case of cops over abusing their authority. The way Payne tried to grab Wubbels to arrest her comes off very aggressive and unprofessional. I'm going to go on a limb and say not every cop (and FBI for that matter) is like this. Unfortunately, there is a few that take a step too far and whether it gets them in trouble or not depends. So now in Utah, new rules have been implemented. Cops are not allowed to talk directly to nurses and being banned in certain areas. A few cops have been put on leave, but potential lawsuits could be coming from Wubbels pending what goes on with police procedure and changes if implemented.

You can't blame this nurse for following protocols and doing her job. I think there does need to be a point where the law needs to show actual warrants. People should not be afraid to ask them for warrants. Police departments (and any authority like FBI, ATF, etc...) need to be held accountable and take initiative for when one of their own goes out of line. Maybe this can serve as something to prevent other incidents like this from happening all over the United States.

We need cops to protect the world. However, there's always the few that ruin it for others. Payne will fit in that latter and could potentially be charged for his treatment of Wubbels. I just hope none of this happens to friends and family I know, or anyone that works in the medical profession.

MLB Needs Social Media Presence

I don't think I've ever seen a sports league be so backwards in being online than Major League Baseball. There was a time where you ...