AMD vs. Intel: A Sports Analogy

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Using sports to evaluate the computer game and its announcers. –Ed

It’s baseball season.

The Seattle Mariners have easily been the best team in baseball this year. I’m sure their fans believe they’re a lock to win their first World Series.

However, to do so, they will probably have to first face and beat a team called the New York Yankees.

The Yankees certainly haven’t played as well as Seattle. On the other hand, they are the defending world champions. They have been the last three years in a row, four out of the last
five, and twenty-six times within the last eighty years. Winning world championship is not exactly new to them, nor to their fans.

(Actually, Yankees fans find world championships an entitlement.)

Do the Mariners look at the regular season records, say, “Piece of cake,” and refuse to take the Yankees seriously?

Last year, the Mariners faced the Yankees in the American League Championship. The Mariners won more games in the regular season, and the Yankees ended the regular season losing seven straight games. They were SAD.

Seattle swept its divisional series, while the Yankees barely managed to advance. On paper, New York was primed to be mugged.

Results of the 2000 AL Championship? New York wins, four games to two.

Do the Mariners remember that and do a Mister Bill next month, thinking that they are doomed? Nooooo, they don’t do that, either.

Do the Mariners think their superior season record will make it easy to convert most of the Yankee fans? Particularly the ones sitting in Yankee Stadium during the games? Even if they’re up three games to none?

AMD and Intel are much like the Mariners and the Yankees. AMD has had a great year, and Intel really hasn’t. But like the Yankees, Intel has a tradition of winning when it counts, and the Mariners don’t.

Like it or not, that’s a factor, both on the field, and in the rooting sections. The difference between this and baseball is that the fans play a bigger role in deciding who wins.

Does that mean AMD is doomed? No more so than the Mariners. Tradition can help and inspire (or intimidate), but Ruth and Gehrig and Mantle can’t hit a single home run or make a single catch for the Yankees this season; nor can the 8088 or 80486 or Pentium win one for Intel.

Even if AMD loses this go-round, there’s always next year. Same with Intel. This isn’t Aztec sports, losers aren’t executed.

The proper attitude for the Mariners and AMD to take is to realize that while they have a steeper hill to climb to win than their opponents and that the intangibles are against them, it’s not a sheer ice cliff, either.

So should their fans.

Even Homers Give You Losing Scores

Let’s say you’re a fan, you can’t get to a TV, and you have to listen to the New York-Seattle playoff games on the radio.

You can listen to the national radio broadcast, or you can listen to the local stations that regularly carry the teams.

For sure, you’re going to hear a more objective analysis from a Bob Costas than you would listening to John Sterling or Dan Niehaus (respectively Yankee and Mariner radio announcers)

But if “your” pitcher has just walked three straight batters on four straight balls to load the bases with no outs, and the heart of the other guys’ lineup is coming up, you would expect even Sterling or Niehaus to tell you that.

If the pitcher looks shaky out there, only a really rabid fan would accuse Costas of “bias” for noticing.

But even the most hydrophobic would gag at a homer saying, “He’s doing great out there, greatest pitching I’ve ever seen.”

Should the next batter up hits a grand slam, you wouldn’t expect even the most biased homer announcer to not call it. Maybe not too happily, but he wouldn’t keep his mouth shut, or refuse to give the score if the team were losing as a result, or not count the runs that just came in.

We look upon ourselves as the Bob Costas type. That just means we’re not fans of either team.

If you prefer someone calling the game that’s on your side and has a somewhat slanted view, fine. Have fun.

But you’d never listen to an announcer that simply ignored anything bad, or told you the home team won when they lost. There are limits to fandom.

Think about it.

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