The Let's Play Archive

The Closer: Game of the Year Edition

by TheMcD

Part 3: Update II - Oh, Be Quiet. I'm Having Fun.

Update II - Oh, Be Quiet. I'm Having Fun.

Alright, the people have chosen, and they have chosen Bobson Dugnutt as the name for our closer. Of course, that doesn't fit, so we have to compromise.

TheMcD's Baseball Stuff posted:

Now, who is Bobson Dugnutt? Well, in a stunning bit of historical knowledge by our thread, Dugnutt is a fairly obscure 1800s pitcher, nicknamed "Whoop-La" for his victory shouts after wins.

Back in the 1800s, people were still figuring out this "base ball" game, and as a result, things were quite radically different. Far back in the day, you needed a stupid amount of balls to issue a walk - nine or eight or seven or six depending on the year and the league. Early on, the batter could also ask for a high ball or a low ball, and pitching overhand was banned. Things were kind of crazy. Being able to throw a curveball was a major innovation and not one of the most basic breaking pitches out there.

And what was also crazy were some of the numbers put up in those days. Due to the low speeds of pitches and general lack of care given to player health, some players would just pitch basically every game in the season. This was most signified by Dugnutt's record-setting 1879 season, in which he started 75 games total, pitched the full number of innings in every single one of them, and ended up with a grand total of 680 innings pitched in a season. To note, the season back then had 80 games only, so he started all but five of them. So, to compare, Max Scherzer, an absolute ace of a pitcher in the modern era, has pitched the largest number of innings in MLB in 2018 with 220, starting 33 games and leading the league in complete games with... two. Pitcher workloads have *drastically* changed.

Another notable thing about him was that his brother was on the same team he was, playing catcher, forming the first brother pitcher/catcher duo in history.

...I'm just fucking with you. Bobson Dugnutt is a fake baseball player name from the 1994 SNES game "Fighting Baseball" and nothing more. However, I didn't just make that earlier stuff up. That was about pitcher Will White, and his brother is Baseball Hall of Famer Deacon White. As people from the Super-League will be able to attest to, I will take many opportunities to shoehorn 1800s baseball into things because it fascinates me.

♪ BGM: Moose

Anyway, let's get back to where we left off.

Are we really going to go over pitching 101 again?
Yes. You need it. Right now, because your slider turned into a meatball; you don't have many pitches. In fact, you only have one pitch: Your fastball.
What about the meatball? Maybe I can trick a hitter with it. Lure him into a false sense of security.
Maybe that will work, if the hitter is a small child. A small child with Attention Deficit Disorder.
The good news is that almost all small children have Attention Deficit Disorder these days.
Watch out, baseball. Bobson may not be able to pitch like he used to, but he's going to dominate the league with his attempts at topical humor.
Not even a chuckle?
I don't chuckle. Anyway, my point is that you probably shouldn't be pitching to anyone just yet. Not until we teach you a new pitch.
Then what are we doing here?
Story-wise, this is really the only place for a tutorial section.
What do you mean by "tutorial section"? Wait... That's not the most important question. What do you mean by "story-wise"?
People only accept dull explanations of gameplay mechanics at the very beginning. It's kind of like how all the boring genealogy is stuffed into an early part of the Book of Genesis. If you're halfway through the Book of Judges and suddenly you have to read about the Jebusites, the Amorites, the Girgashites, the Hivites, the Arkites, the Sinites, and most of all the fucking Hamathites... Well, you'd stop reading the Bible.
I really don't think that the Book of Judges is particularly exciting as it is.
That's because you're a philistine. Not a proper Philistine, of course, but a philistine of the colloquial definition. Not that you would know the difference, as vou have just demonstrated.
I'm lost.
Then we should get back to pitching. When you're pitching against a batter outside of a baseball game, you can't rely on your defense to bail you out. You are on your own. That means you need to strike out the hitter or lose. To do that, you will have to fool them. Every pitch has the chance of tricking the hitter into looking for that pitch on subsequent at-bats. Once a hitter is looking for a pitch, you have to throw a diametrically opposed pitch, and that's a sure strike.
Die-a-metric? This isn't about that crazy number racket they use to measure shit in Canada, is it?
The Metric system? No, but you should probably learn that, too. What I'm saying is that if a batter is expecting one pitch, if you throw a very different pitch you're assured a strike.
Yeah, I knew that already. When the guy at the plate was looking fastball, I'd throw my slider. And when he was looking for the slider...
You'd still throw the slider. Because until today, no one could hit it.
All right, I'm going to pitch to Robertson, here, to show you how it's done.

♪ BGM: Transcend

Alright, given that Bobson has fuck-all for pitches right now, we're going to be going through our tutorial with Moose.

As we've previously seen, he has a four pitch arsenal. Now, since there aren't any real animations except a very basic pitch display, I'm just going to transcribe these battles in italics. So, let's start with the most basic thing and just throw some heat.

Moose throws a fastball!

Ball 1! The pitch was just off the outside corner and the batter takes it for a ball!

Hrm. OK, I guess we're using Moose's signature next.

Moose throws a knuckle-curve!

Strike 1! The knucklecurve completely fools the batter!

Holy shit, coach, that's totally unfair! What's the point of throwing that pitch? Bobson isn't going to learn anything if you are just trying to make me look silly.
Sorry, you're right. I just can't help myself...

Alright, no knuckle-curve I guess. A changeup maybe?

Moose throws a changeup!

Ball 2! The changeup was in the dirt! The hitter is now looking for a changeup!

What the hell, man? I thought you were supposed to be a control pitcher! But anyway, we have our hitter looking for a changeup, so let's throw him off with some heat again.

Moose throws a fastball!

Ball 3! The pitch was just off the outside corner and the batter takes it for a ball!

Well, shit. I guess the diametrically opposed pitch to a changeup is a breaking pitch?

Moose throws a slider!

Ball 4! The hitter lays off the slider as it dives out of the strike zone! Moose issued the walk. The runner reached base. Moose is defeated!

I just failed the tutorial. Amazing. Well, before we go back into that...

TheMcD's Baseball Stuff posted:

OK, let's talk about pitching. If you don't know pitching, that was a bunch of weird words just now and you didn't understand shit. So let's go over that.

There are four basic types of pitches. Fastballs, changeups, breaking balls and others.

- Fastballs (also referred to as "heat") are just that. Fast balls. They're supposed to go fast, primarily.
- Changeups are designed to throw the batter off - they look like a fastball by the pitcher's delivery, but move slower, fucking with the batter's timing.
- Breaking balls are similarly made to throw the batter off, but in a different way - they're made to seem like fastballs for a bit, but then move in a drastically different direction, causing the batter to swing and miss, ideally.
- Others are just that - pitches that don't quite fit in these categories. We might go over some of these later, but not now.

Now, a quick word on our pitchers' arsenals. I'll link some videos to some of those pitches, and I recommend checking them out, particularly the last one, which is a video of Mussina talking about his pitching mechanics and his knuckle-curve.

- What is referred to in game as a fastball is probably a four-seam fastball, the most common type. The way the ball is gripped for that pitch, the index and middle fingers each touch the seams of the baseball twice, hence the name. A well-thrown four-seamer will have a hell of a lot of speed (with elite four-seamers hitting 100+ mph) and top spin that causes the ball to drop more slowly than one might expect it to (this also creates the illusion of the ball rising up).
- The changeup is both a type of pitch and a pitch in and of itself. Much like the category, the changeup pitch is designed to look like a fastball out of the pitcher's hand, but with reduced speed.
- As our first breaking ball, we'll need to go over the first breaking ball, the curveball (slow motion), as a point of comparison. The most common type, also referred to as a 12-6 curveball or dropball, has basically only vertical movement, dropping straight down and optimally causing the batter to hack at the air above the ball.
- Our closer's former ace pitch, the slider (slow motion), is a breaking pitch that mainly moves to the side, though it has some degree of vertical movement as well. It's fairly common in the world of baseball.
- Finally, Mussina's specialty, the knuckle-curve. Basically, it's a curve where the knuckle is used to try and give the ball a bit of an extra push.

Anyway, let's try the tutorial again.

We'll start the same way.

Moose throws a fastball!

Strike 1! The batter swung right through the heat! The hitter is now looking for a fastball!

Now that he's looking fastball, we give him the changeup.

Moose throws a changeup!

Strike 2! The batter got out in front of that pitch and just missed the change-up.

Now, a breaking pitch just to mix things up.

Moose throws a slider!

The batter fouls off the pitch as it runs in on his hands! There are still two strikes on the batter.

Well, let's go back to the heat, I suppose.

Moose throws a fastball!

Strike 3!

The batter swung right through the heat! Moose struck him out! Moose is victorious!

So yeah, sometimes the game can just screw you if your pitcher suddenly can't get control. That's realistic, actually.

♪ BGM: Moose

I don't see how this is really helping. You have a ton of pitches and I have one.
Oh, be quiet. I'm having fun.

And we get to go through another pitch battle. We'll just skip past this one.

Well, I think there is only one choice here for us to take.

What the fuck is this?
This is a choice menu. Sometimes you are going to have to make difficult choices about how to proceed.
Aww... Damn it, I don't want to have to make difficult choices. I can't even make up my mind at a buffet table. Pizza? Fried chicken? Meatloaf? 'Usually I end up piling it all on my plate because I'm afraid I might regret my pick once I get back to the table.
Yeah we're going to need to talk with the trainer and the nutritionist about that. So, do you get how pitching works?
I already did!
Well... There are a couple things.
Sure. Ask away.
What's up with the "Items" command on the pitching menu?
Pitching won't solve all your problems. Remember early in the season when you had that boil the size of a quarter on your--
Shhh! Not so loud! I told you to keep that quiet!
Anyway, you weren't going to pitch your way out of that problem. Sometimes you will be faced with enemies and obstacles that will require an item. If you don't have that item, throwing all the fastballs in the world won't get anything done.
Where will I find these items?
Well, that's up to you.
Okay. One more question: When I go to the menu, it tells me how much money I have.
Yeah, well, who knows... Maybe you'll have to buy something.
That's not my question. I want to know why I don't have any money. I'm pretty sure I had $20 before the game.
That's simple, Bobson. Fiat money - cash - has no actual value. It's just paper that, as a society, we have arbitrarily decided can be used as an intermediary to exchange in trade.
Woah... Holy shit, you're right.
Wait. What? No I'm not. That was a joke.
No, you're totally right. The value of money is entirely an illusion. It's not just paper money. The money I have in the bank is nothing but a number. It's a concept, stored on some computer somewhere that doesn't mean anything. It is literally only as valuable as society agrees it is. And the worst part is the government can just print more of it. No, even more frightening... They can just make the numbers in their own bank account go up.
Uh, slow down there, I was just--
Oh god, and when people start to figure out that money is objectively worthless, they will move their garbage currency for stable investments... Which will only serve to devalue the dollar more! Moose, this is awful! We have to do something!
Calm down, Bobson, it was just a joke. Fiat currency is actually sound economic policy.
But cash only has the value we give it! And we give it that value for no reason!
That's true of all sorts of things. You listen to me because you have assigned me value as your "coach". I don't *really* have any more power over you than any other person. You come to work and get paid because of the arbitrary validity that you, the team, and society assign to your contract. There's no objective power in your contract, just the power we choose to give it.
Oh... I guess you're right. If I start questioning the legitimacy of the power society assigns to things..
The rabbit hole never ends.
That doesn't explain why I don't have my twenty dollars.
Yeah, I borrowed that to grab some pizza for dinner.
WHAT? You had me doubting the foundations of society because you borrowed money without telling me?
The street vendor I like doesn't take credit card.
Just tell me next time!
Will do. Ready to go?
Yeah... Where are we going? If you're going to teach me a new pitch, wouldn't it make the most sense to just stay right here?
Yeah, that might work if we had the whole offseason, but we don't. No, we're going to have to take drastic measures if we want to have you ready for tomorrow.

Uh, what?

That doesn't make any sense. Crossword puzzles?
I've never told anyone this before, but that's the secret to my knuckle-curve. I learned it from crossword puzzles.
You've got to be kidding me again.
20 across: The clue was "part of a fist." Seven letters. I knew that the first letter was "K" because I'd already solved 1 down. That was four letters. Clue: "Top of wine". Obviously CORK. KNUCKLE intersected with 6 down on the last letter of each word, E. The clue for 6 down was "A reason to slow down." This wasn't a very good crossword puzzle. I saw the two words together, joined at a right angle. It was like a light went off in my head.
Sort of like that Reeses commercial. You got your chocolate in my peanut butter! You got your peanut butter in my chocolate!
How do you know that commercial? You're too young to know that commercial.
I saw it in a Family Guy episode.
Oh... Ugh.
So I'll go back to my locker and grab my iPad. I know that there are all sorts of free crossword puzzles online, though if you have suggestions--
Electronic crosswords? Over my dead body.
You're not making this easy.
It's not supposed to be *easy*. That's the point. The only proper way to do a crossword puzzle is on paper, with an ink pen.
Well, fine. Happen to have any blank crossword puzzles lying around?
Of course not! I don't just leave them unfinished. Or even worse, unstarted.
So, we're screwed? It's the middle of the night. We'll have to wait until morning to buy fresh crossword puzzles. I don't want to waste that time.
Don't worry. I know a place.
Great. The last time you suggested a bar, I ended up choking back cigar smoke and listening to jazz for, like, an hour.
It's an all-night book store, down in the Hub.
An all-night book store, eh? Now I'm interested.
It's not that kind of all-night book store. It's a secret enclave of East Coast intellectuals, that also happens to sell books and collections of crossword puzzles.
An "intellectual" all-night book store, eh? Well, I do like chicks with glasses.
IT'S NOT THAT KIND OF ALL-NIGHT BOOK STORE. Now that I think about it, they probably won't even let you in.
All right, if it really is our only hope, I will go to a regular bookstore. But just this time.
Well, when you're ready we'll head out.

And so, we have our destination. Next time, we'll try to get Bobson into a high-class book store.