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Tuesday, July 12, 2005


At the midpoint of the year it is time to start drawing conclusions for this season and making second-half predictions. I'll get to the predictions in a moment, but let's talk about individual performances. Who are the Phillies Most Valuable Player (MVP) and Least Valuable Player (LVP)? The envelope please ...

MVP: Home Run Derby winner Bobby Abreu is the Phillies MVP. He's leading the team in OBP (.428, team average: .346) and in slugging percentage (.526, team average: .405). 21 steals, 18 home runs, 17 doubles ... Abreu is a machine at the plate. He's got a great eye and great bat control: few players can hit for power and still have more walks (67) than strikeouts (65).

Abreu is the model of consistency: since joining the team in 1998, he's hit better than .400 OBP seven of his eight years (assuming he'll do so this year). His career walk-to-strikeout ratio is nearly one-to-one, tremendous for a power hitter. With his start in the All-Star game tonight and his victory in the Home Run Derby, I'm glad to see him get some recognition.

LVP: This is close because I think you have some viable candidates, including Jon Lieber, Jimmy Rollins, David Bell and Mike Lieberthal. But I think the Phillies LVP is Jim Thome. Expected to anchor the Phillies middle order, Thome has had an awful season: his .352 slugging percentage is .200 off his career average and .229 off his 2004 average. Thome, the Phillies highest paid player, is the big reason (but not the only one) the Phillies are in the middle-to-bottom of the pack in most of the power stats like slugging percentage and ISO. After largely carrying the team in 2003 and 2004, it seems like Thome has given out at the plate.

Predictions: I don't want to revise my preseason predictions too much. I still like the Marlins in the NL East and the Cards in the Central. I tend to think that it will be the Padres in the West, but the Dodgers could still challenge. As for the wildcard, I see the Braves.

Plenty of interesting races in the AL. The East is wide-open. Perennial second-tier teams like the Orioles and Blue Jays have a shot, although I think the Red Sox will take it. In the Central I think the Twins can make up the ground on the White Sox, and I think the A's, so dismissed of late, can take the Angels. Look for the Yankees as a wildcard.

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Games & PC Games News - Oct. 16, 2005

Is the PC game market? (Dallas Morning News)
The last few years have not been all fun and games for computer game fans, but that might be changing. As attention has shifted to sophisticated video game consoles such as the Xbox and PlayStation 2, PC gamers have watched their preferred platform wither.

Xbox 360's New Media Play Finding Fans (eWeek)
Consumers were impressed by the expanded multimedia features of Microsoft's upcoming Xbox 360 at the Digital Life conference, while gamers were excited to begin using the devices to access other types of services.

NewTek Releases Fifth Free Feature Update for LightWave 3D (Digital WebCast)
NewTek, Inc., manufacturer of industry-leading 3D animation and video products, today announced the release of the fifth free update and the 64-bit port for Emmy award-winning LightWave 3D . Version 8.5 offers hardware support of OpenGL 2.0, the new Multishift tool with editable history, Photoshop -style texture blending modes, improved dynamics, and easier integration of third-party file formats.

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