Saturday, February 23, 2013

Happy 1,000 Posts!

For a bunch of stat/numbers geeks, I think post number 1,000 is a pretty big deal. I figured I'd take a minute to look back and share our history with any readers who might have joined us recently.

In November 2007 Wedge started his sports blog and invited me and others to join him. I had just moved to Nashville and was trying to get used to a new job and a new city, while also trying to get together a new band. Within a few months, I finally made it over here and started posting.

Although a couple of other friends did post occasionally, it was clear that we would be the main two and settled on the Furious Wedge name to represent internet personalities we had used in the past. At first this was  a place for Wedge to post about racing and the other sports he watched. By 2009, though, I started picking things up. For the first time since college, I was writing as much as I was playing music. Looking back now, over the life of this blog, I have changed from a musician who liked to blog into a writer/blogger/podcaster who likes music.

Of course, the addition of Andy later inspired a name change to Grab Bag Sports. And here we are.

One thousand posts. Sure, most of those are Blogathon related. But still, 1,000 of anything is a lot. And yeah, Wedge has carried this site over the years, but I really like what has become of GBS and am excited about the future.

If you listened to our latest podcast, you'll know that we will soon have six kids between the three of us. Obviously there is not a lot of time for "hanging out" with friends sometimes. But through podcasting and blogging over the last few years, I've managed to meet some great friends.

I'd personally like to thank Andy and Wedge for giving me a place to write about sports, even if I'm just being stupid most of the time. If you have read any of our first 1,000 posts, thanks! I'm looking forward to the next 1,000, and I'm thinking it won't take six years this time.

Friday, February 22, 2013

World Babseball Classic 2013 Quick Preview: Pool B

Pool B Predicted Finish: Korea, Netherlands, Australia, Chinese Taipei


Notable players: Taekyun Kim, Sukmin Yoon

Manager: Joong-Il Ryu

First game: March 2 vs. Netherlands

In 2009, Korea took second place in the WBC, finishing 2-3 against Japan and 4-0 against everyone else. The team will likely benefit from not being in Japan's pool this year. The roster has plenty of new faces, but Kim hit .345 with three home runs and a WBC-leading 11 RBIs last time. Meanwhile, Yoon allowed only two runs in 16 innings pitched.


Notable players: Andruw Jones, Andrelton Simmons, Roger Bernadina

Manager: Hensley Meulens

First game: March 2 vs. Korea

One of the highlights of the 2009 WBC was when the Netherlands knocked the Dominican Republic out during the first round. The roster is mostly different this year, but features Jones, who won 10 Gold Gloves in his career. The team has several other past and present major leaguers, in addition to prospects like Xander Boegarts.


Notable players: Luke Hughes, Chris Snelling, James Beresford

Manager: Jon Deeble

First game: March 2 vs. Chinese Taipei

Australia began the 2009 WBC by crushing Mexico, but then the team dropped the next two to be eliminated in the first round. Snelling had two home runs last time, while Beresford hit .444.

Chinese Taipei

Notable players: Chien-Ming Wang, Che-Hsuan Lin

Manager: Chang-Heng Hsieh

First game: March 2 vs. Australia

The team managed just one run in two games in 2009. Lin, who had three hits last time, made his major league debut with the Red Sox last year. Chien-Ming Wang is the only other recognizable name, and if he makes it to the mound healthy, that will be quite a feat in itself. I expect another quick exit.

For complete 2013 World Baseball Classic rosters, schedules, and more, visit the official site.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

World Babseball Classic 2013 Quick Preview: Pool A

Pool A Predicted Finish: Japan, Cuba, China, Brazil


Notable players: Atsunori Inaba, Kazuo Matsui, Toshiya Sugiuchi

Manager: Koji Yamamoto

First game: March 2 vs. Brazil

Japan dominated in 2009 and will surely compete for the title again this year. So far it looks like most of the roster has changed, but I expect the pitching staff to be strong once again. Sugiuchi did not allow a hit in five appearances (6.1 innings) last time.


Notable players: Frederich Cepeda, Yulieski Gourriel, Freddy Alvarez

Manager: Victor Mesa

First game: March 3 vs. Brazil

Cepeda was one of the best players in the 2009 WBC, leading Cuba to the second round with a .500 average, three home runs, and 10 RBIs. However, the team will miss Yoenis Cespedes, who posted similar numbers and earned a huge MLB contract with Oakland. Gourriel hit .333 with a couple of homers last time.


Notable players: Ray Chang, Jiangang Lu

Manager: John McLaren

First game: March 3 vs. Japan

China was shut out twice in three games in 2009, finishing 1-2. Chang is a decent minor leaguer, while Lu allowed just one run in 5.1 innings in his last WBC start. Royals pitcher Bruce Chen apparently provided enough documentation to pitch for China this year after playing for Panama in the last two Classics. However, he has now backed out and will remain with Kansas City for Spring Training.


Notable players: Paulo Orlando, Leonardo Reginatto, Rafael Fernandes

Manager: Barry Larkin

First game: March 2 vs. Japan

Brazil wasn't in the 2009 WBC field and will have a tough time advancing past the first round in 2013. The roster includes a couple of players who were born after I started college (Class of '95!), so things could be headed in the right direction. Unless Coach Larkin is suiting up, however, I expect the team to see a quick exit.

For complete 2013 World Baseball Classic rosters, schedules, and more, visit the official site.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

World Babseball Classic 2013 Quick Preview: Pool D

As great as the college basketball season is currently, I think I speak for all of the Grab Bag Sports staff when I say it's time for some baseball. Fortunately this year, in addition to the college baseball season that has already started and the MLB Spring Training that is approaching quickly, we will also get to watch the 2013 World Baseball Classic in March. Over the next few days, I will be posting quick previews of each of the four pools, starting today with Team USA and Pool D.

Pool D Predicted Finish: USA, Italy, Canada, Mexico


Notable players: Mark Teixeira, Joe Mauer, R.A. Dickey, Giancarlo Stanton

Manager: Joe Torre

First game: March 8 vs. Mexico

So I think we all know how I feel about Ryan Braun, but I still have two weeks for that to change. He did hit .381 in 2009, but that was back when he was (probably) juicing. Overall, I don’t know if the USA roster is strong enough to get back to the semifinals, but if this team is healthy, it will be very competitive. Jimmy Rollins returns after hitting .417 and stealing four bases in 2009.


Notable players: Anthony Rizzo, Nick Punto, Chris Denorfia, Jason Grilli

Manager: Marco Mazzieri

First game: March 7 vs. Mexico

Denorfia returns after leading the team in 2009 with a .400 average, while Rizzo will try to bring some power to a squad that failed to hit a home run. Italy should compete for a spot in the second round this year, despite finishing 1-2 last time.


Notable players: Justin Morneau, Brett Lawrie, Russell Martin, John Axford

Manager: Ernie Whitt

First game: March 8 vs. Italy

Canada was eliminated by Italy in 2009, losing the only two games they played. They obviously can’t be any worse in 2013, but I don’t think they have enough to defeat both Italy and Mexico to make it into the second round.


Notable players: Adrian Gonzalez, Karim Garcia, Jorge Cantu, Yovani Gallardo

Manager: Rick Renteria

First game: March 7 vs. Italy

Garcia hit .421 with three homers in 2009 to help Mexico reach the second round. However, the team finished just 2-4, and I don’t expect them to be much better in 2013.

For complete 2013 World Baseball Classic rosters, schedules, and more, visit the official site.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

GBS at the Movies: Blue Chips (1994)

Here we go!


OK, so Nick Nolte hates his team. He's already yelled at them, stormed out the locker room, and then came back in to yell like three times. There are only two games left this year. Times are about to change for the Dolphins. And what's a Dolphin Dome? Things likely won't get better for Nolte's team in the second half, cause the other guys are coached by Rick Pitino! He's a real coach!


The banners hanging imply that the Dolphins have won like a million NCSA championships. Probably because all the real teams play in the NCAA.


Nolte shower scene. Sorry, ladies! Nothing to see.


What!? Ed O'Neill as the reporter. I forgot about that. Jay Pritchett looking good.


OK, so the Dolphins suck, Nolte kicked a basketball and got ejected, and Al Bundy thinks Nolte is a cheater.


If Coach Pete Bell (Nolte) could coach like he drinks, he'd be back on top! This man likes his beer.


I remember as a kid being in awe while watching this movie because I got to see Bob Cousy shoot free throws. So many great players and coaches are involved here. Cousy just made a left-handed shot.


OK, last game of the year. Shaq and his friends are about to take over. Many of you are playing your last game in a Dolphins uniform.


This game is out of control, and bad guitar licks are emphasizing it!


Butch McRae and Ricky Roe. Time to recruit the best. Will Nolte go against his morals and pay players??


The college season is over, but they're still playing high school basketball in Chicago.


Butch McRae looks good, yes. Because he's Penny Hardaway!


This movie has such great basketball action... and such terrible music.


Penny Hardaway is in the top ten basketball players ever. I don't care what you say. Play NBA Live 95 and see for yourself.


I never understood how they got Shaq and Hardaway, and then went to Matt Nover for the role of Ricky Roe. Was Rick Smits not available?


Attention coaches: if you need to recruit the top player in Indiana, just call Larry Bird.


I feel like Nolte doesn't wear enough ties to be a college coach.


The music is so bad that they finally found a CCR song that was awesome, so they used it twice!


Wait... this kid never played high school ball? Grew eight inches in two years? Let's go to Algiers, Louisiana, and meet Shaq!


Haha. Algiers looks like a third world country. It's literally right across the river from New Orleans. Yet here it's like some remote jungle land.


"If I couldn't play basketball, would you be trying to get me into college?"


"Neon, please try not to step on the children..."


We're worried about paying athletes, but we're making bets with Neon about his SAT score? Sounds like a definite violation.


Nolte's entire coaching strategy is to point at the screen and say: "That's Calbert Cheaney. We need to shut him down. That point guard is good. We're going to have to stop him. Shut him down."


I know all about this stuff. This is like when I got that music scholarship, and they gave my mom a nice apartment, got my dad a sweet John Deere tractor, handed me keys to a Lexus, and dropped off a bag full of cash.


Jay Pritchett/Ed O'Neill smells something fishy here. He even has pictures of Butch's mom taking down the sign in front of her new home. How'd he get this picture? How'd he get all of these pictures?


I definitely feel like this movie is missing a Lil' Penny appearance.


There's really not much of a movie here, is there? It's like: team loses, team recruits players, team cheats to get recruits, team gets better. Just throw a lot of basketball scenes in there, make Nolte hold his head a lot, and we've got a movie!


J. T. Walsh is a dirty scumbag in this movie, but he sure knows how to buy the best players.


"You took the purest thing in your life and you corrupted it... and I'm not talking about your Heavy D and the Boyz poster!"


"The basket is the same height as it was on your barn in Indiana." I think you should credit Hoosiers when you rip them off.


Dick Vitale is here. So is Bobby Knight. These guys all look so young. Vitale just killed five minutes of screen time.


Bobby Hurley is Indiana's point guard! This is messed up.


1990s basketball movies were confusing for fans. You had all of the following: real players using their real names, fake players using real players' names, and real players using fake names.


I can't believe Bobby Knight couldn't sign Ricky Roe. He has the best team in the country and he loses his state's top recruit?


I love the convenient shot clock they put on our screen. Dolphins upset the top-ranked Hoosiers. Nolte's hard work has paid off, and he's back on top!


"Boys, the rules don't make much sense, but I believe in the rules. And Ricky Roe needs to get dressed, cause I think he's naked behind me."


Ed O'Neill is about to ask the fatal question.


Coach Bell resigns. Meanwhile, the pep band is still playing in the arena!


And we close it out by learning what happens to these fictional characters in their fictional future.


So I suppose this wasn't quite as fun as the previous movies, since this film is actually pretty good. For our next GBS at the Movies feature, I will be sure to select something that is not as good as this basketball classic. Stay tuned for a new movie in March, and if you have any film suggestions, let us know.

Blue Chips - Tonight!

Tonight, I'll be starting Blue Chips at 10:00 p.m. (EST). Feel free to join me here and watch along on Netflix or any other source. Below is my original post from a couple of weeks ago...


Over the past year or so, I have screened Driven, Kart Racer, and Superdome. I'll now officially be making movie screenings a more regular event here on the site. Our next movie will be the Nick Nolte and Shaq masterpiece, Blue Chips. Join us on February 17th and watch/chat with us.

With the Super Bowl marking the end of football season, I figured it would be a good Sunday activity. Plus, watching a Shaq movie is always a great way to celebrate President's Day, right?

If you are interested in joining us, comment here or find me on twitter @MikeGBSports. I'll announce the time as the day gets closer. The movie is available on Netflix streaming (and other places for those who know their way around the internet). If it's more than just me, we can launch a live chat here on the site like we do for Mario Kart during Blogathon. If I end up watching alone, I'll simply be blogging here.

Stay tuned for details...

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

February Madness: Predicting the Top Seeds for the 2013 NCAA Tournament

Here we are, a month away from March Madness, and, to me, this has been the best college basketball season since the 1990s. While it's impossible to tell what is going to happen in the final handful of games on each team's schedule, and even more impossible to predict conference tournament seeds and outcomes, I've decided to take a shot.

As of right now (and before tonight's Rivalry Week games!), here are the 16 teams that I believe will occupy the top of the NCAA Tournament Bracket in March. Teams are separated by seeds.

1: Miami, Indiana, Kansas, Duke

2: Gonzaga, Florida, Michigan, Syracuse

3: Michigan State, Arizona, Georgetown, Louisville

4: New Mexico, Colorado St., Butler, Marquette

Current bubble spots: NC State, Kansas State, Belmont, Creighton

I realize Louisville can play themselves out, but I'm expecting them to put together somewhat of a run here. Also, it will be tough for both New Mexico and Colorado State to get here, so I'm probably off at the four seed already.

Maybe I'll update this each week.  Any thoughts?

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

National Signing Day 2013 and a Little Perspective

Like everyone else, I'm having fun today watching all of the college recruits officially choose their schools. It's always fun to hear the "rankings," I guess because I'm an LSU fan, and I know my school will be ranked high. I get to say things like, "What, Ole Miss won't ever be better than us!" and "Whoa, A&M will be even scarier." But I realize that ESPN's (and anyone else's) rankings do not really mean anything.

I was recently cleaning out a box of old football magazines. In addition to finding a great wager for our annual playoff game (a 2008 Athlon Sports with Vince Young on the cover will be handed over to @TheSpeedgeek soon!), I also came across a 2006 high school publication printed by Sporting News. I was pretty excited, and I flipped through the pages, expecting to see high school pictures of a bunch of young current NFL stars.

While quarterback Jimmy Clausen tops the magazine's "Hot 100," Arrelious Benn is the only name I recognize from the Top 10 as an NFL contributor. (Granted, I am more of a fantasy football fan when it comes to teams other than the New Orleans Saints, so defensive players may slip off of my radar.)

Aaron Hernandez (18), Eric Berry (21), Joe McKnight (26), and Martez Wilson (30) have all reached their potential, at least somewhat. But what about the lists full of guys I have never heard of? The wide receiver positional rankings, for example, feature Greg Little (6) and Leonard Hankerson (15) plus a bunch of players who may not even be real for all I know. I'm pretty sure some of the East Dillon Lions' players have seen more NFL action than Junior Hemingway. (Yahoo Sports says he's on the Kansas City Chiefs. But is he really? Really?)

The point is this: who cares about these rankings? Good college coaches are going to coach well, and their teams will compete. Still, it is pretty funny to hear them say Kentucky's class ranks 13th in the SEC, but they would be 4th in the Big Ten. #SECRULES

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Alex Rodriguez to the Chicago Cubs... Please?

First, let me say how amazing it is to have nothing but baseball talk on Twitter today! I'm even getting tweets about which position players have already reported to camp for my team, the Chicago Cubs. If you are like me, and scanned the transactions section of your local newspaper 20-30 years ago just to see who your team was signing and cutting, you'll probably agree that this Twitter stuff is mind-blowing.

So of course the hot topic today is A-Rod. (Poor Joe Flacco can't even have two days, can he?) ESPN's Scott van Pelt even wondered today whether or not Rodriguez has played his final game for the New York Yankees. Would any MLB team even want him, SVP asked. As a Cubs fan, I can tell you right now... YES. I want him. Right now. At third base. In Chicago. Right this second.

Is A-Rod still awesome? No. Especially if the league finally gets him to stop shooting up, he is not nearly the player he once was. But, if the Yankees had to pick up his salary and my team could grab him for the league minimum... geez. That's like a dream come true.

If you think I'm crazy, then you must not know the current third base scenario projected for Wrigley Field this year. Let me break down our options for you:

1. Ian Stewart - After hitting 43 home runs in two seasons, Stewart managed zero (yeah, none) in 2011 during his final year in Colorado. The Cubs promptly gave him a chance to bounce back in 2012 and take over the hot corner in Chicago for the foreseeable future. He hit .201 and crushed a whopping five homers in an injury-plagued year. The team is giving him another shot to prove himself this spring.

2. Luis Valbuena - He kind of saved the team by giving them a body capable of standing near the third base section of the field after Stewart proved incapable of doing so adequately. Valbuena could actually swing the bat sometimes as well and came up with a few big hits last year. Still his .219 average isn't fooling anyone, even if it did lead the team's third basemen last year.

3. Josh Vitters - This young man should have a very short leash in Spring Training. After being the "third baseman of the future" for five years, Vitters finally had a decent enough minor league showing to warrant a promotion to a team that desperately needed help at his position. Unfortunately he responded with 33 strikeouts in 99 at bats. He hit .121 and looked completely over-matched, even against teams like the Houston Astros. I'd love to see him come back in March and be ready for the top level, but let's be realistic here.

That's it, people. Scott Rolen and Brandon Inge are still available in free agency, but signing one of them would just be telling Valbuena to stay warmed up, since he'd be starting at third again before the Indy 500. (Look, if I'm talking baseball on a racing blog, I have to get my references in anyway I can. For non-racing experts like me, this refers to like late-May. I think.)

So would I take the 17 homers, 60 RBIs, and .274 clip that A-Rod has averaged the last two seasons? YES. Theo, make this happen. Or put Soriano at third base. One or the other.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

GBS at the Movies: Superdome (1978)

It's Sunday morning, it's Super Bowl Sunday, and I just learned about a terrible Tom Selleck TV movie titled Superdome. Since the big game is indeed being played in my hometown today, I had no choice but to honor this occasion by screening this lost treasure.


"In five days this gigantic Superdome will host the big game..."

The football team is sauntering off of their plane, getting ready for the big game. And now, Tom Selleck has officially said the words: "The party is in my suite."


Uh oh, a mysterious locker with a mysterious briefcase. Meanwhile, you can't come to New Orleans without having catfish, even if it means missing an important Super Bowl-related meeting.


Too many black players on the team! The plot thickens!


"I'm a reporter doing a behind-the-scenes story on the big game." Ha! We're a long way from media week, aren't we.


And cue our first river boat. Oh wait, it's not just production value. There are characters who are actually ON the river boat. The big paddle wheel is right behind one of them. Makes sense, though, because this is what we do in New Orleans. Hang out on paddle boats.


This was probably a real groovy idea in the late-70s, when this building was semi-new and sort of revolutionary, but this movie is already a mess of NOLA cliches and bad TV drama. I don't even know what's going on. I just hope they start playing football.


The thing about binoculars in movies is that they're ALWAYS shady. There's never some normal dude just honestly using a pair of binoculars. They're always up to no good. Frankly, I feel like this gives binoculars a bad rep.


"New Orleans is like a time-bomb about to go off..." This random media announcer guy has quite the flare for hyperbole. AND cue our second riverboat... and first horse and carriage.


Gee, movie dialogue, thanks so much for explaining the intricate details of a sports bet. "The Cougars are favored by four-and-a-half, you see? So if you bet on the Cougars, they need to win by five points, you see?"


OK, sub-plot roll call... mysterious brief case, mysterious business man, binoculars, gambling, and, now, just some ol' boy-girl drama in the form of marital issues. But it's cool, cause she said she asked a doctor if she was attractive. They might just need to "make love," because apparently it's been quite a while. Which might be because this guy shoots himself "full of drugs" just so he can "play the game."


I know we're having marital problems, but...

"We're heading down to Bourbon Street. I told the boys I'd show them the good spots."

Look at this motley crew! I know you can't really see it well, but when you watch as many bad movies as I do, you get used to this kind of picture quality. Besides, you can see that pixelated mustache from space.

I like that there are "too many black players" on the team, but I guess only one wanted to hit Bourbon Street.


Whoa. This old guy is basically being harassed by this young reporter chick throughout the movie. The man is just trying to eat some oysters (like we always do) and she tells him, "Make love to me." What?  Right there? Can the man finish his oysters??


"There's a party at Brennan's on Friday night." Can't tell you how many times I've said that in my life. Oh yeah, I can. Never.


Party by the pool. Chick in a bathing suit. Sexy trumpet music. I'll bet somebody's about to feel like making love.


OK, the quarterback with marital problems just had to call his wife and tell her the coach drew up some new plays and needs to learn them. Cause I'm sure the Harbaughs are both coming up with brand new plays for their teams to learn right this very second. Even better, though, she was upset! Maybe the root of their marriage trouble is that she wants him to tour the French Quarter or take a riverboat ride instead of focusing on, you know, the Super Bowl.


The old man/young reporter thing is way out of place. They should've just saved money and inserted Mardi Gras footage in all of those spots.


And there we go. A parade! I can't tell if it's Mardi Gras, or if this is just one our random parades that we just spontaneously throw together sometimes.


Did you think this movie needed a murder? Cause, yeah, we just got one. Pillow over the face.


Two more days for the coaches to draw up plays!


Quarterback's on pain killers, guys. Hate to crush your clouded view of your hero.


This lady wants to find a nice place to have a drink. In New Orleans... hmm... don't know if we have any drinks...


IMDB just confirmed for me that M. Emmet Walsh was the guy giving the QB the drugs. Which is OK in my book.


Wait, are we drugging someone's drink? I miss the days where the teams just showed up and played football. Does this movie even have ANY football? I'm like halfway through, and no one's even put on pads or a helmet.


M. Emmett Walsh just got shot! What the hell. You want to gamble on the Super Bowl, eat lots of oysters, make love all night long, I don't care, bad 70s television movie. But killing a great American hero is crossing the line.

RIP, M. Emmet...


"I met a man. He bought me drinks, and we went back to his hotel room. What do you think we did? Talked football? We made love."

Everyone's making love in this damn movie.


Ha, the QB's wife walked out on him, slammed the door, and caused the hotel lamp to fall off of the dresser. The camera, naturally, zoomed in on the lamp.


Look, we're playing football! Gotcha. We're making love.


Superdome: Making Love in New Orleans

If the Ravens and 49ers made half as much love this week, they're gonna be tired on the field tonight.


Dick Butkus is here now. So is his mustache.


So, I guess this girl drank the wrong drink. She's about to make love, whether she wants to or not.


Things are getting real...


The QB's wife is trying to leave town, but he's stopping her at the airport. Lady, he left the French Quarter to get all the way out to Kenner. That's true love, OK?


I don't think we're getting any football here, guys. Maybe there's a sequel.


The old man's young reporter girl is actually a bad chick. Who could've seen that coming? If only Selleck were playing Magnum right now...

"She's going to see to it that the Cougars lose, no matter what it takes."

Of course, for someone to lose, we'd have to have a football game.


The team is loading the bus to head to the Dome. At this point, I'm guessing the credits will roll somewhere around kickoff.


I think this is an editing mistake. We're watching the entire pregame show.


Chasing the suspect through the Superdome. She fires a shot, and luckily there are no people around just a few minutes before kickoff.


The good thing is that I'm seeing lots of areas of the Superdome that I've never seen before. You know, cause I'm always looking at the football field.


If Tom Selleck gets in this hot tub, he will die. Does he get in? Or does someone run into the locker room and tackle him at the last minute?


Wait...?! We missed the game?? Who won?


Never mind, they were just talking about selling the team ten minutes before kickoff. I think. I'm so confused.


Mustache Men


I like how there are like 1,000 seats reserved for a marching band and flag team right behind the bench.


And... credits roll during the National Anthem, as our random media announcer says how great the next three hours will be...


One final post to summarize what I watched here today...

Friday, February 1, 2013

Super Bowl XLVII: The Tecmo Super Bowl Prediction

So here we are once again. For the past four years, I have predicted the Super Bowl winner by playing Tecmo Super Bowl. In order to make it five consecutive wins, however, I had to shake things up. First, as I posted earlier this week, I believe the Baltimore Ravens will win Super Bowl XLVII. So, this means I had to face the San Francisco 49ers, never an easy Tecmo task. In addition, I had to play as the Cleveland Browns, the closest thing in Tecmo world to the current Ravens.

So could the lowly Browns properly substitute for the high-flying Ravens and knock off the powerful 49ers? Here's how it all went down.

1st Quarter

Well, just like last year, I began the game with an accidental onside kick. I realize that if I only play this game once a year, it takes me a little while to get acclimated, and this was proven by a scoreless first quarter.

Joe Montana began the game with three incomplete passes, and I returned a punt from my goal line to the four. I opened things up with a 38-yard strike from QB Browns to Webster Slaughter, who had the game of his life. Two failed runs brought up 3rd-and-16, but Ozzie Newsome bailed us out with a 17-yard reception. The drive stalled, though, when QB Browns threw his only interception, snatched by San Francisco’s Dave Waymer.

The 49ers began to shred my defense. John Taylor caught his first pass, Montana scrambled for 35 yards, and then running back Roger Craig ended the quarter with a couple of good runs to get his team into the redzone.

2nd Quarter

The 49ers were poised to score first, when Super Bowl MVP Felix Wright stepped up with his first of three interceptions in the game. This pick came in the endzone, on a pass intended for Jerry Rice. Momentum shifted, folks. QB Browns wasted no time, firing an 80-yard bomb to Slaughter for a 7-0 lead.

I managed an actual kickoff and stopped the 49ers near their endzone. I had Montana for a sack near the goal line when he shrugged me off, spit on me (OK, maybe not), and then hit Rice with a 45-yard pass. After a 15-yard completion to Taylor, Rice seemed to grab another first down himself in the redzone… but he fumbled! Linebacker David Grayson scooped up the ball near the endzone.

With only a minute remaining in the half, QB Browns handled business quickly, with a short pass to Newsome and then another 80-yard touchdown to Slaughter. My Cleveland Browns led 14-0 at halftime, and the Tecmo girls came out to dance.

3rd Quarter

My first kick return was forgettable, and we started near our 20. I was determined to get running backs Kevin Mack and Eric Metcalf involved now that I had a good lead. Mack grabbed a couple of first downs on short passes, Newsome had a 20-yard catch, and then Metcalf ran a draw for 22 yards to get us near the redzone. However, a failed run and a Matt Millen sack (he somehow knew my exact play!) quickly gave me a 3rd-and-19. As the crowd chanted “Wade in the Slaughter!” (does that even make sense?), Webster scored again on a 32-yard catch.

The 49ers were down and almost out. Running back Tom Rathman seemed to save his team by recovering a fumble on the kickoff, but after a quick Craig run, Wright intercepted Montana for the second time. Newsome ended the quarter with a 25-yard touchdown, giving the Browns a 28-0 lead.

4th Quarter

After a short kick return, Craig gained a few yards on the ground, and Montana scrambled for another first down. On a 3rd-and-10, though, Taylor leaped for a catch and outran my entire defense to put San Francisco on the board with a 70-yard touchdown.

We recovered the onside kick, and my running backs took over. Aside from a first down reception by Reggie Langhorne, Mack and Metcalf handled our final drive, with Metcalf scoring on a 10-yard run to put us up 35-7.

With 20 seconds remaining, I onside-kicked, but the 49ers recovered. Montana had time for one pass, which was intercepted by Wright to end the game.


San Francisco out-rushed Cleveland 81-57, but QB Browns managed 326 passing yards and four touchdowns, while completing 71 percent of his passes. Montana completed just 28 percent and managed 150 yards, a touchdown, and three picks. Webster Slaughter caught four passes for 230 yards, scoring three times. Metcalf led all rushers with 52 yards, while Montana led his team with 44.


The answer is clear: the Baltimore Ravens will win the Super Bowl. Is this the year that I will stumble? Or will I move to 5-0?