Boston.com: Somerville-Cambridge Softball Story Live

The rain has wreaked merry havoc with my high school sports coverage lately. The softball game I intended to cover last week got rained out, then the tennis match I covered earlier this week had to suspend activity about a third of the way through. The Greater Boston League website has become a sea of red cancellations, postponements and changes of location

Thankfully, Somerville and Cambridge got their softball game in Wednesday afternoon. Double-thankfully, I was there to recap it for Boston.com.

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Is Game Over Imminent for Curt Schilling’s Video Game Company?

Kingdom of Amalur's lack of creativity may be the biggest reason Curt Schilling's 38 Studios defaulted on its $1.125 million loan-guarantee payment to the state of Rhode Island. (rpgfan.com)

Curt Schilling has many talents. Pitching in the playoffs, bleeding into socks, butting his nose into steroid hearings without cause – the list goes on and on (and on and on, given Schilling’s talent for ranting).

But apparently one talent Schilling doesn’t have is making video games.

Kate Bramson of the Providence Journal reported Tuesday that 38 Studios, Schilling’s video game company, defaulted on a $1.125 million loan guarantee-payment. Rhode Island governor Lincoln Chafee has called an emergency meeting of the Economic Development Corporation to discuss the $75 million loan-guarantee – two-thirds of which has already been paid – Rhode Island awarded 38 Studios to entice the company to move from Massachusetts.

While the EDC took no action against the company following a meeting Wednesday, fiscal problems like these can’t help but scare the Rhode Island taxpayers whose money went into the loan to 38 Studios.

Clearly, trouble’s brewing in the Kingdom of Amalur (38 Studio’s only game).

Schilling Should’ve Gone MMO

Schilling’s decision to get into video games post-retirement wasn’t a bad one. Globally, video games have become a $65 billion industry. A game that actually gains a foothold in such an industry could translate to jaw-dropping profits and widespread jobs proliferation. Everything Schilling promised Rhode Island could be done with the right game.

Schilling, unfortunately, just made the wrong game. Or, at the very least, he made the wrong decision to change the game midway through. Originally, Kingdom of Amalur: Reckoning was supposed to be a massive multiplayer online role-playing game (MMORPG). Such games have advantages over their single-player console cousins, bringing in extra revenue from membership fees and easing the deployment of expansion content.

But the final version of Amalur turned out to be a single-player RPG with the size of an MMO but lacking all of the other players that make the world fun. Single-player games shouldn’t take so much time to get anywhere.

Continue reading Is Game Over Imminent for Curt Schilling’s Video Game Company?

Wes Welker Signs $9.5M Franchise Tender

Many movie moments could symbolize Wes Welker‘s decision to sign his $9.5 million franchise tender Tuesday and return to the Patriots for the 2012-13 season. Perhaps the Hulk destroying enemy ships in The Avengers. Or Dean Portman showing up at halftime of the JV-Varsity game at the end of Mighty Ducks 3. Really, any clip of someone returning from somewhere and then going on a rampage would do.

But none could do it better than Randy Quaid in Independence Day:

Just pretend the spaceship is an opposing defense and the metaphor works perfectly. Kinda like Welker and Tom Brady.

Continue reading Wes Welker Signs $9.5M Franchise Tender

DigBoston: Northeastern-UConn Baseball Story Live

The Northeastern Huskies last Tuesday played the Connecticut... Huskies. Find out who won in my latest 52 Games!

Northeastern’s athletic program really pales when compared with Boston’s other D-I schools. BC and BU have better men’s hockey, BC and Harvard have actual football teams, and BU and Harvard suddenly have NCAA-competitive basketball teams.

What’s Northeastern got? I went to a Huskies baseball game last week to try and find out, and it’s now up on DigBoston.com.

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USA Ultimate: Girls’ High School Northeasterns Roundup

Amherst entered the girls' High School Northeasterns tournament on a mission. Read more at USAUltimate.org! (Burt Granofsky/UltiPhotos.com)

I had a dream. I dreamed my old teammates from Nietzsch Factor, Wesleyan’s men’s Ultimate team, logged on to USA Ultimate’s website. And who should they find on that site but yours truly, who wrote both a preview and a Day 1 recap of the girls’ High School Northeastern Championship that took place this past weekend at Rogers Field in Devens, Mass.

“Goose is writing for USA Ultimate?” my teammates would say. “I remember him. He didn’t even like sports in college. And he sucked at Ultimate!”

Then they’d all read my stories and realize that, while my physical skills may never have reached A-team caliber, my understanding of Ultimate’s language and strategy was always top-notch.

And then they’d email me and say hi. Pretty nice dream, wouldn’t you say?

To learn about the teams, check out my preview. Then find out how they did with my Day 1 recap (for Day 2, check out a recap not written by me). And look for my feature in USA Ultimate Magazine later this summer!

MassBytes: El Pelón Chili-Eating Finals

Those two look terrified because those jalapeño and cherry peppers are just the preliminary rounds. Find out how the actual habanero-eating rounds went at MassBytes.com. (Photo by Sarah Sparks/MassBytes.com)

I had an absolute blast covering El Pelón’s Fiery Fifteen habanero contest last month. Thanks in no small part to all of you, the story went on to become one of the most popular stories on MassBytes, Sarah Sparks’ fantastic food blog.

After such a successful first foray into competitive eating, how could I not return for the finals?

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Garnett Powers Celtics Past Hawks in Clinching Game 6

Kevin Garnett shoots against Josh Smith during Game Six of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals between the Celtics and the Hawks, played Thursday night at TD Garden. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

The Boston Celtics have asked so much of Kevin Garnett this season. They’ve asked him to play with few days off and even fewer days for practice. They’ve asked him to play center on team without a shred of depth at the big-man positions.

And with the Celtics’ best chance to close out their Eastern Conference Quarterfinal series against the Atlanta Hawks coming in Game 6 Thursday night at TD Garden, they asked him to carry the team home.

The Celtics asked, and as he’s done all season long, Garnett answered. Garnett scored 28 points, grabbed 14 rebounds, blocked five shots and stole three passes, helping the Celtics edge past the Hawks, 83-80, and clinch the series in six games.

Garnett’s turn-around jumper with 8:41 left in the fourth capped a 7-0 fourth-quarter run that pushed the Celtics’ lead to 74-65. Having already played Garnett for 35 minutes, Doc Rivers subbed out Garnett two minutes later.

The decision proved costly, as the Hawks went on a 10-2 over the next 1:42. Now free of Garnett’s pesky defense, center Al Horford fueled the charge with six points. He finished with 15 points and nine rebounds in a Herculean 46 minutes.

Garnett came back in with 3:51 to go, but even that couldn’t halt Atlanta’s run, as Josh Smith (18 points, nine rebounds) and Horford put the Hawks up 79-76 with two more unanswered baskets.

Needing something from someone other than Garnett, Paul Pierce cut the Hawks’ lead to one with a layup with just over two minutes left. Garnett capped two straight Celtics defensive stops with two emphatic rebounds, then put the Celtic back up 80-79 with another turn-around jumper.

The Celtics crushed the Hawks in the paint, out-scoring them 42-30. They also out-rebounded the Hawks by four, recording more offensive and defensive boards.

Continue reading Garnett Powers Celtics Past Hawks in Clinching Game 6

Brookline Access Television: Volleyball, Part 2!

I was by myself the first time I did play-by-play of a Brookline High volleyball game for Brookline Access. I definitely struggled to find moments when I could insert a bit of color commentary between all the fast-paced action.

The second time around, I had help from Brad Kasnet, another former BU sports guy. I had way more fun tag-teaming the game, alternating between play-by-play and color commentary each set. In my humble opinion, that made for a far more interesting broadcast for BATV.org.

Check it out!

If you’d rather watch the hour-long broadcast offline, click here to download it.

Matt Light Made Patriots Offensive Line Much, Much Better

Matt Light retired from the NFL Monday. He played for the Patriots for 11 years, starting nearly every game and anchoring a much-improved offensive line. (AP/www.Boston.com)

When the 2012 New England Patriots kick off their season in a few months, many of the faces will look familiar. Tom Brady, Rob Gronkowski and Wes Welker will still be there, picking apart defenses. Jerod Mayo will still blow up any receiver foolhardy enough to run across the middle of the field. Stephen Gostkowski will still split the uprights with computer-like proficiency.

But one familiar face won’t be there: Matt Light, who retired from the NFL Monday. Light played for the Patriots for 11 years, starting 153 of 155 total regular season games, plus 16 playoff games. He started all 16 games in seven different seasons, playing a key role in the Patriots’ transformation into the premier NFL franchise of the 21st century.

Light Anchored Competent Offensive Line

In the five years before Light arrived, the Patriots’ offensive line averaged just under 41 sacks per season, with an average rank smack in the middle of the NFL (16). With Light anchoring the team starting in 2001, average sacks dropped down to 30.5, and average ranking improved to 11.1.

Continue reading Matt Light Made Patriots Offensive Line Much, Much Better

DigBoston: Manchester United-Manchester City Story Live

This was the key moment of last Monday's Manchester United-Manchester City match. Find out what happened – and how the Banshee Pub crowd reacted – at DigBoston.com

I knew after having so much fun at Real Madrid-Barcelona that I’d be covering more soccer for DigBoston. I also knew the EPL season was winding down, so I had to act fast before a league even more popular than Spain’s La Liga went away for the year.

Manchester United and Manchester City played each other last Monday for first place in the EPL. Couldn’t have asked for a better setting for 52 Games.

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