Archive for Gaming

Coming Soon: Baseball Commissioner 2014


As a child you thrilled at the life-like realism of Intellivision Baseball, the plink of the wooden bat, the ghostly Theremin of the pop fly. As you grew older, your tastes grew more sophisticated, and the video game industry responded. Soon you were buying your own players and building your own rosters, until you left the field behind and began running franchises through the glittery spreadsheets of Out of the Park and Baseball Mogul. But as you brought the 2024 Houston Astros to their fourth consecutive World Series, you began to wonder: what’s next? How do I add yet another layer to the metaphorical onion of my illusory baseball experience?

Prepare yourself for the ultimate challenge with Baseball Commissioner 2014. Instead of manipulating a single player on the mound or running a single franchise, you’re responsible for maintaining the esoteric concept of baseball itself. You decide how to manipulate the media when scandal breaks! You hand out the suspensions and decide how many games there are! You choose the wording in your press releases to maximize delivered connotation! You’re no longer a part of the game. You are the game.

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Mustache Bracket

If you follow college basketball (or even if you don’t), you may have taken part in the American tradition of filling out an NCAA Tournament bracket. There will come a time, if it hasn’t already happened, when your bracket will become busted, and you will lose interest in said tournament.

When that time comes, take solace in the following project I have worked very hard to create. It is a bracket of mustaches, for which to pick the best mustache in baseball. The present author has taken the time to (arbitrarily, as time was a concern) whittle down the candidates to the two finalists, below. Choose wisely, pick your winner, and click the image to reveal the answer.


Abrasive Emails from Computer-Generated Players, Agents

It is nothing new to suggest that the level of discourse on the internet — and perhaps off of it, too — lacks much in the way of civility. The precise reasons for this have surely been considered by people more qualified than the present author by methods more rigorous than the present author is likely or willing to employ. Given the ubiquity of internetting aspersion, though, and the frequency with which it’s cast, there is clearly some satisfaction being derived by the casters.

Nor is one free from verbal histrionics even within the otherwise friendly confines of WhatIfSports’ simulated baseball game Hardball Dynasty. Without dwelling upon the particulars of that game at length, it’s sufficient to note that, as part of said game, a human owner can attempt to sign free-agent players by means of a page that looks very much like this (click to embiggen):

Contract Offer

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Conflict, Justice and RBI Baseball

The history of mankind is defined by conflict. All conflict is, in its distilled form, RBI Baseball.

Long before it became recognized on the fuzzy television screens of the late 1980s, RBI Baseball burned within the heart of every man and woman. It is the struggle to progress, to succeed, to vanquish. When Homer described the bronze armor of the Trojan heroes clattering in the dust, he was (without his knowledge) echoing the shrill whistle of the umpire calling the out, following the death rattle of the lazy fly ball. When Pushkin stood back-to-back with death on the frozen, miserable tundra, he too felt it. We all feel it.

How blessed are we, then, to have the actual RBI Baseball with which to express our will, rather than straining to conceive it through unbidden words and the swirling cloud of troubled dreams.

Of course, the power to wage total war upon the pride and identity of another soul is not to be taken lightly. As Clauswitz opined on the deadliness of the bayonet and Walzer with napalm, our generation has struggled to establish jus in bello – the law of war – the principles by which our struggle remains humane and honorable even in these desperate times.

The realists, of course, scoff at such niceties. When victory is at stake, they claim, any restraint is a show of weakness. But to descend down this path of logic is the way to madness: a world of mustard gas and atomic weaponry and slapping at the glove of the fielder during tag plays. No matter what our aims, no matter how desirable our goals, our restraint is what separates us from the beasts. So, too, should it be with RBI Baseball. Especially with RBI Baseball.

Though the world and various national governments have remained silent on this issue, the People have crafted their own set of rules regarding the honorable play of RBI Baseball. However, regional customs still exist; if you have any questions, the best practice would be to consult your local chamber of commerce.

RBI Baseball Code of Conduct

Article I: The NES Itself

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If Baseball Had Robots 2: Electronic Boogaloo

A year ago, I shared with you the prospect of the baseballing robot in all of its unicycling glory. It was a future full of action, intrigue, and strangely conservative grass fields. It was a future in which warfare was no longer merely a metaphor for the national pastime: it was the pastime itself. This, ladies and gentlemen, was the era of the Base Wars.

Today, however, allow me to transport you to an entirely different era: forward from the Nintendo Entertainment System of the late 80s to the superlative version of the early 90s, and backward from the 24th century to our own. Thanks to Japan and through the magic of video games, we can now imagine what baseball will be like when Prince Fielder’s contract expires. Witness: Super Baseball 2020.

Robots have, you may be surprised to learn, already infiltrated the sport, though their barrel-shaped design is neither sleek nor sexy. Robots are, naturally, stronger and more sure than their fleshy companions, but they’re also more erratic, wearing out and exploding after four to six innings, without even being shot by a laser.

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The AutoCorrect Game

New device in the house. Now it has to learn all my words again. But! Now I get to see what all these player names turn into in the hands of Auto-Correct.

Can you guess who I was trying to write about? I bet you’ll figure them all out, but I’ll try to do them from easiest to toughest. Maybe I’ll send the winner something if someone gets em all.

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The Game is Real

FanGraphs: the Game is real. I have proof.

First, how else can you explain my Giants first baseman? He’s ‘hitting’ .235/.314/.350… and Giants’ first basemen are hitting .207/.312/.336. My dude has a better ISO, the Aubrey Huff / Brett Pill / Brandon Belt monstrosity has a better walk rate. Both are right around replacement. Somehow I have my pick of the entire league, and the Giants have their pick of those three dudes, and we ended up in the same place.

On the other side of the coin, cwhitman is doing a heckuva job. His Nationals starter is performing like… a Nationals starter. His starter has an 8.76 K/9, 2.87 BB/9, and 0.83 HR/9 — the staff in our nation’s capital has an 8.48 K/9, 3.04 BB/9, 0.71 HR/9. Again, they had no choice beyond what was on their roster or in their system, cwhitman had plenty of choice, and they ended up in the same place.

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Baseball and Sharp Objects

Nothing screams summer like playing a nice game of simulated baseball with a the “Official Jackmster Baseball Knife”.

Who needs to carry around a complete Strat-o-matic game when the game can be stored in that cool little watch pocket on your jeans. It can played outside and inside (until mom finds out). Best of all, the winner can take home one of the loser’s favorite “Home Run” razor blades.

FanGraphs: The Game: Washington Nationals DL Edition

The following comes to us from NotGraphs reader Brian Reinhart — a gentleman’s gentleman, and a nerd’s nerd. By now, I trust you’re all familiar with FanGraphs: The Game. If you’re not, I’ll wait. Brian will, too; he’s polite like that. Anyway, Mr. Reinhart is reporting — and our Investigative Reporting Investigation Team has confirmed this — that a “grittily rebooted edition” of The Game is about to be released. And, well, he had us at “grittily.” Inspiring work, Mr. Reinhart. Thank you.

We are pleased to announce that, following the success of FanGraphs: The Game, beta testing has completed on a grittily rebooted edition, and FanGraphs: The Game: Washington Nationals DL Edition is ready for the fantasy-sporting, slightly-too-macabre public. The rules, as ever, are simple:

1. Every week, participants choose one member of the Washington Nationals whom they believe will make a trip to the disabled list, and specify the injury type.
2. Participants earn 10 points for every accurate prediction, as well as 5 points for specifying the correct injury type but the incorrect player, and 3 points for identifying an injured player but forecasting the wrong affliction.
3. It is possible to earn 5 points for accurately predicting a setback to a previously-DLed player.

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Dan McShane

Dan McShane won on Jeopardy four times in a row last week, where he was introduced as a professional “Baseball Game Logger,” which is 1. the coolest job ever, except for maybe “Personal Shopper” or “Rock Band,” 2. not actually his job any more, as he is currently employed by Everyday Health, 3. easily confused for baseball b-logger, which led to this story being forwarded to me by at least two people who wanted me to know that “people like me” could win Jeopardy. He accumulated $64,001 in winnings, which he plans to use for “world travel”. The weirdest thing I discovered while researching Dan McShane is that, thanks to his sweatered youthfulness, he has developed somewhat of a cult following with the teenage girls on tumblr. Examples:

dan mcshane is his name. please dominate this game show for several days so your face doesn’t have to leave my screen anytime soon.

On a completely thinspo unrelated note…
I think I’m in love with the jeopardy returning champ. Dan McShane. Also John Green’s new book was amazing. Okay, back to thinspo.
Now do some sit-ups everyone!

wow jeopardy is stepping it up. this man is gorgeous. dan mcshane needs to win a billion more times then marry me. ok thanks

We’re not all gonna go dateless.

Dan has a twitter account.