Red Right 88

In Cleveland, hope dies last

Archive for the category “Subbuteo”

Honoring a team that does it the right way

After yesterday’s news about the culture of lies that surrounds Jim Tressel and the Ohio State football program, we need to take a moment to recognize a coach and an athletic program that truly does things the right way.

Congratulations are in order for Kent State basketball coach Geno Ford, who was named the Mid-American Conference’s Coach of the Year, and Justin Greene, the Flashes’ junior center, who was named Player of the Year in the MAC.

Ford took a team with only three returning players and repeated as MAC regular season champions, the first conference team to pull off the feat since Ball State in 1988-89. And he did it without being confused about doing what is right versus doing what is easy.

Seven times since 1999, KSU has had the MAC Coach of the Year – going to four different men.

Kent State has had 11 seasons of at least 20 victories in the last 12 years, five NCAA and five NIT appearances. They have had four coaches, and the worst record since 1999 was 19-15 in 2008-09, Ford’s first season.

And they’ve done it all without cutting corners or lying to their bosses.

Greene averaged 15.6 ppg and delivered 10 double doubles, including the last three games of the season.

The Flashes open conference tournament play Thursday night against Buffalo at the Q.

The Bulls are going to be a tough out, as the two teams have split their two regular-season games for the past three seasons.

But we’re confident the Flashes are going to get it done the right way. The Kent State way.

***

Remember Subbuteo? Sure you do.

EPL Talk reports there there is a documentary about the legendary table soccer game in the works and scheduled for release this year.

Definitely going in the Netflix queue.

***

Lonnie Chisenhall keeps doing his part to make it tough on Indians manager Manny Acta during spring training.

If he keeps it up, it will be interesting to see what the Indians will do. Because of their silly signing of Orlando Cabrera to play second base, the Indians are in a situation where they are trying force Jason Donald, a natural short stop to play third base, blocking Chisenhall.

Why the Indians don’t just go with an infield of Chisenhall at third, Donald and short and Asdrubal Cabrera at second is baffling.

***

Finally, good news from Terry Pluto, who reports that Joe Tait is hoping to be back calling the Cavs game on March 21.

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Life Before Sports Video Games

EPL Talk had a short post today about Subbuteo Table Soccer, a game that was popular in the late ’70s and early ’80s. The post is worth checking out to see brief clips of commercials for the game.

While we never played Subbuteo growing up, reading about it made us think about the tabletop games we played in the dark ages before video games took over.

First up was All-Star Baseball, where historic players were represented by circular discs. Each disc was divided into a pie chart, with each slice numbered to represent a particular outcome. If you were a homerun hitter, the slice corresponding to homeruns was large; and the rest of a player’s abilities was parceled out on the disc accordingly.

When the player batted, his disc was placed in a spinner, which the manager spun. When the spinner stopped, it pointed to a numerically coded play result. To find the result, the manager looked the number up on a chart that indicated the play (e.g. single, walk, or strikeout).

That was fun for a while, but the game was limited to the player discs that came with the game and there was no pitching option. So we eventually moved to Strat-O-Matic baseball, simply the greatest tabletop baseball game ever invented. How great was it? Pete Franklin used to advertise it on his SportsLine show, so you know it was good.

Strat-O-Matic offered all the major league teams, was much more statistically accurate than All-Star Baseball and, like the Madden video games, put out new rosters each spring for the Major League teams. We can still remember when the new cards would arrive every spring having to pull the perforated cards apart before we could start playing.

In addition to hitters, there were pitching cards as well, which could impact the outcome of a particular at bat (like J.R. Richards’ 313 strikeouts in 1979).

We played countless four-team, 50-game seasons during out childhood, with the Indians always being one of the A.L. And no, the Indians never won a World Series, no matter how hard we tried.

A side benefit was our math skills improved dramatically from calculating batting average and ERA for each player.

We also branched out into Strat-O-Matic’s football and basketball games, but they never really lent themselves to solitary play and we never really got into them as much.

Mattell’s Electronic Football caught out attention when it was released in the late ’70s and that turned into our gateway into video games. Starting with Tecmo Bowl, we ran the gamut of sports video games, from Punch Out to Blades of Steel to the various EA Sports franchises.

And while we still enjoy a good game of Madden or FIFA Soccer, we’ll always be glad we had the opportunity to experience the fun of tabletop sports games.

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