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Well, it was a crazy trip back up north, but we’re home now, safe and sound. I’m back at work catching up on emails. It was great to catch up with Chip and see how he was doing. It’s a shame I couldn’t get with Chris and Nagle as well, but schedules just didn’t work out. Not to worry though, we plan on going back up around Christmas, so we’ll definitely have to get together then.

We had a great time hanging out with the family and we got a lot accomplished for my parents, which was the primary goal in going.

My Dad has started his chemo this week, so we’ll all keep our fingers crossed that the reaction to the treatment is mild and he doesn’t get very sick.


I need to say a couple things in regards to David Ortiz. Having heard the story about testing positive for steroids, I have to say I’m taking issue with it. Not Dave, no, the story itself.

First of all, I need to say that as a RedSox fan, I’m going to try and be impartial in my opinions. I would say the same things I’m about to about any player, on any team. Even Jeter.

To start with, these “name drop” stories are getting out of hand. The actual tests, supposedly anonymous, unbinding and private, per an agreement by the Players Union, have been SEALED by the courts. SEALED, which means no one can see them, talk about them or reference them. Yet somehow, “anonymous” lawyers “familiar” with the tests seem to drop a name just about every month.

Since when do we trust ANONYMOUS LAWYERS.

I’ll let you read that sentence again. The best part about being anonymous is that you can’t get in trouble if you’re proven wrong, and the best part about these tests are that they’re sealed and no one can prove them wrong either.

Anonymous sources speaking about a private, sealed test.

If the commissioner of baseball, tomorrow, holds a press conference and says “these are the test results, they are true, these people test positive” then I would believe it as a fact. A story, in the New York Times, sighting anonymous sources about a test no one can see doesn’t cut it as “fact” in my book. I’m sorry, it just doesn’t.

Second, even if this story is true, these are tests from 2003, when the specific drug that they were testing for was still LEGAL. I fail to see how a legal substance in 2003 can be held against someone in 2009 when it suddenly becomes illegal.

If someone told me that Gatorade was now illegal, fully knowing I drink a lot of it, I would say “Gee, that sucks” and stop drinking it. I wouldn’t expect to be punished for drinking Gatorade 6 years ago!

The ONLY important question that should be asked is does he test positive now? Right now. Have him take a drug test this afternoon. If he’s clean, he’s clean, and that’s the end of it. If it tests positive then punish him accordingly.

All these people that have been mentioned in this “report” haven’t tested positive in at least their past 5 seasons. If they had they would have been suspended accordingly.

Baseball made something illegal. Players stopped taking it. What exactly is the problem?

If you’re worried about how stereoids have “tainted the game” then I almost agree with you. It’s a shame all of this has happened, it really is. It tarnishes the whole era but you have to use the entire era as your perspective point. In that era, hundreds of players tested positive. Divide 100 players by 30 and you’re looking at atleast 3 or 4 players per team. Add to that hundreds of players in the minor league system and you get an entire sport that had a problem. Not a specific player, not a specific team, it affected everyone. So, at least in my mind, the playing field was pretty even. Is Mark Macguire, Sammy Sosa, A Rod, Manny, or any of the rest any better or worse than each other? No, not really. Actually, the era had a lot of really great baseball. I don’t feel cheated as a fan at all. I saw some really awesome baseball over the past 10 years.

What it does do however is separate the current players from classical players, at least in the history books. You can’t really compare Babe Ruth and Barry Bonds. You can’t. It was a different time, a different set of circumstances, a different way of playing, all sort of variables.

Steroids separate the current major league stars and records from the classical stars and records in the same way playing with aluminum bats would if they were allowed. It’s a factor that changed that game.

I don’t pretend to know what that means for history, for Cooperstown, for records that have been broken, but I do know that I’m sure it’ll be argued about it for years to come, long after these current players are done. It’ll be up to the writers and fans to decide, years from now, if these players are allowed into the Hall of Fame.

This is a problem that’s been dealt with right now (by making those substances illegal) but will continue to crop up for probably the next 20 years.

We, as fans, either need to decide to accept the entire era as unfortunate but continue on or as earth shattering and hault the baseball world as we know it. I love this sport too much to let a couple years and a couple guys change my opinion on the game.

Punish those who test positive today and from this day forward and let’s move on and try and enjoy the game.

One Day at a Time

It’s been an interesting week, that’s for sure. Let me fill you in on a little of the back story before I jump right into the present. A couple weeks ago, my father was feeling rather ill. He couldn’t keep food down and his stomach was hurting. He went to the doctors, had a couple scans and it seemed to indicate that he had a small intestinal blockage. Those of you who remember what my father-in-law went through might find this strangely ironic, or frighteningly similar, one of the two. Anyway, they did a colonoscopy to see what was blocking the intestines and said he had a small (non-cancer looking) pollop. They scheduled a fairly routine surgery, to be done laproscopically, for last Friday. As they started the surgery, the surgeon didn’t like what he was finding. Apparently, not shown on the initial scans, was a large mass hidden behind the pollop. They went ahead with a normal incision surgery, removed the pollop, the large mass, and the section of affected intestine. They closed everything up and sent the mass off to the lab to be analysed.

That’s how we got the bad news on Monday. The mass tested positive for cancer, which they’re classifying as Stage 3 because it had apparently spread to the surrounding lymphnodes (which were also removed and tested positive). Stage 3 means that it was one specific place (colon, liver, lungs, etc) but is now spreading.

The good news is that, while open for the surgery and having the foresight to check, the surgeon checked the other common locations for spots. According to him (and the scans) places like the liver, lungs, kidneys, etc, all seem to check out ok. They didn’t find any spots or questionable tissue.

So, what does this mean? Well, it means essentially that it had just started to spread and they caught it. More tests will be needed to confirm that, but that was the general thought of his doctors. Of course, we haven’t talked to the cancer specialists yet. That meeting is set for Monday. We’ll see what they have to say and what treatment they recommend going forward.

In case you’re wondering, I’m not actually in NH at the moment. I’m still here in Houston. All this was garnered by rounds and rounds of phone calls and probably ridiculous phone bills. I had fully planned to go up the instant I heard, but air travel is so retardedly expensive that a last minute plane ticket would have cost upwards of $900. I know that might not seem like a lot, but I have about $20 in the bank at the moment.

The plan, as I’ve discussed it with the family, is for my brother to be there this weekend and that we’ll trade off weekends in the future. I’ll probably plan on coming up either next weekend or, depending on what the doctors advise for a treatment, whenever the chemo starts, whichever comes first.

I wish terribly I could be up there with them. I still feel guilty for not being there at my grandfathers funeral about 5 years ago and I’m really torn up about this.

This is really the one time a family should really come together. I wish I could blame the airlines alone, but not having an emergency fund is my own fault. This is precisely the reason to have one, before anything else.

Personally, I was really pretty shaken this week. I was a wreck Monday and Tuesday. After lots of discussion, uplifting words from Lauren and from you guys, now I’m feeling better about it.

His chances are very good that this will be merely a bump in the road. He’s very healthy, in great shape and not showing any signs of infection anywhere else. With luck, the chemo shouldn’t be very long and he can get on with a normal life shortly.

It’s funny, I know things don’t always make sense when they first happen, but in the end, they start to come together. Things happen for a reason. We may not get that at the time, but they do. Usually they happen to make us strong people, I really believe that. After this entire year, I think as a husband and as a man, I’m a much stronger person than I was 12 months ago.

Thank you all for your support. As always, I’m astounded by the awesome friends I have. You guys are the best.

I’ll let you know when I head up to New England, maybe a couple of us could get together for a drink or two.

Matt out.

Loss for words

My dad had minor surgery on Friday. They found a small growth and decided to check it out. My brother just called. The results are in. He has Stage 3 colon cancer. I’m at a loss. I’m… I dunno, I just… I can’t believe this. I’m looking up plane tickets to New Hampshire.

Top 15 Games that Need to Happen

Well, E3 has come and gone, announcements have been made and with one or two exceptions, everyone had a pretty good idea what to expect this year. While I’m obviously interested in what the game industry releases in the next 8 months, I thought it would be fun to think about gaming’s next generation. These ideas might require advancements in technology, be licensing and logistical nightmares or just plain old bad ideas, but I thought it might be an interesting exercise anyway. So, join me if you will, for what I feel are 15 games that just NEED to not only happen, but be so awesome that they advance the genres they represent.