The Let's Play Archive

The Closer: Game of the Year Edition

by TheMcD

Part 8: Update VI - The Strangest Part Is That I Am Not On Drugs.

Update VI - The Strangest Part Is That I Am Not On Drugs.

♪ BGM: The Entrance

You're back!
You disappeared into thin air, which is not the strangest part; the strangest part is that I am not on drugs.
I did it, guys! I learned how to throw a changeup!
Excellent! I knew that you would have much to learn from the low arts.
I admit, this was a lot more productive than my idea of watching midget movies.
So that's it? We can go home and get some rest before game seven.
Not so fast... We have to finish the game.
This is what I like to hear! You are committed to exploring the darkness, which is fantastic because all is darkness, especially light.
I know it sounds crazy, but I had a vision. We can't just stop here. We have to keep going.
Listen, Bobson, if you want to see naked women, we can go buy some pornography on the way home.
This isn't about pornography! This is something I think we have to do!
Slight correction, Bobson: Everything is about pornography. That said, Moose, aren't you curious how this game ends?
I know how it ends! Dugan has sex with one of the female characters, it's poorly animated, and I go home and have to take an extra shower.
You are more familiar with these games than you let on.
You really think we need to finish this, Bobson?
You've asked me to trust you through some crazy ideas tonight. Yeah, I think we need to see this through.
Okay, fine. Lets get this over with.

♪ BGM: Their Own League

Granted, when the disembodied spirit of Pedro Martinez tells you to jump, the only thing you ask is "how high?" But it was more than that. I knew somewhere in my heart that he was right. I didn't understand it. It didn't make any sense, but I just knew it. There was something more waiting for us inside the game.

Looks like we have to decide whether or not to bench Haruka...
She has not been playing well for the Peaches, but she is the first person we met from the team. I do not think we can just take her from the lineup.

Your affinity with Haruka went up by one point!

I feel good about this decision.

As we went along, I could tell that we were starting to get sucked in. As much as Zizek liked to mock the story as low art, it was hard not to identify with the Peaches and their struggles. I suppose if you spend enough time doing something, it will begin to seem meaningful...even if it is a poorly written computer game.

Ai has been something of an foil to the main character, but it is clear that she is simply too driven.
She's been a total bitch.
What have I told you about gendered insults, Bobson?
That... They're totally awesome?
Fine. Ai has been a total *bastard*, are you happy?
Woah, let's not bring adopted children into this.
Ai just wants to find someone on her level who she can make an emotional connection with. It is terribly unfortunate that in the construct of the virtual world, the only way she can make this connection is through the male protagonist's penis.
Woah! Warn me before you go there.
Why? Does it trouble you when I use the word "penis"?
Well, yeah.
Oh, to have the single-minded focus of Sigmund Freud at a moment such as this; but alas, I am too easily distracted because of capitalism.
Let's just stop talking about these things. Give Ai what she wants, even if she is a motherfucker.
Victims of incest are not--
I am telling Ai that she can be the hitting coach, if either of you are still paying attention to the game.

Your affinity with Ai went up by one point!

The story took a dark turn near the middle, that I suppose was inspired by the film. The husband of one of the other players is killed during a battle against the Koreans. Jimmy helps the team rally around the tragedy, and when the player has to leave to attend the funeral, Risa takes her spot on the roster.

♪ BGM: Pink Hair

After all, I'm totally 18 years old.

Ugh... I really hoped we were done with this character.
Just do whatever it takes to make sure that Dugan doesn't end up with Risa. I'm going to feel shitty enough about the inevitable sex scene as it is.
Okay, the choice is whether to play her at catcher or at second base.
Neither of those choices are obviously bad. Which do you think we should go with to make her hate us?

Well, let's try catcher.

Besides, I am very comfortable on my knees.

Your affinity with Risa went up by one point!

Oh what the hell? This is all so wrong.
I don't know, Bobson. Maybe you're just good at seducing "18" year old girls.
Shut up.

One by one, Dugan helped the team with their hang-ups. He turned them from the laughing-stock of the league into a contender for the championship. The last day of the season came down to a one-game playoff between the Peaches and the Blue Sox.

I guess we have to decide whether or not to start Mitsuki.
She's the best pitcher, but the Blue Sox win by stealing a lot of bases. Even though Dugan helped her with the stretch...
It is a risk, but it is a risk that we have to take!
You're right. Mitsuki it is.

Your affinity with Mitsuki went up by one point!

Mitsuki didn't disappoint, shutting out the Blue Sox and leading the Peaches to the playoffs in their inaugural season. There was only one playoff series--the World Series--and the team barely had time to celebrate. One player, however, didn't feel like celebrating...

♪ BGM: How Things Are

We're headed to the playoffs! Mitsu did a great job tonight, and because of that we've got a shot at a world title.
Ha. World championship. I know you don't really believe that.
What do you mean?
You played baseball. Real baseball. You know this is all a farce. The fans don't come to watch us play. They want to watch us slide around in the dirt in short skirts. They want to see us struggle and fail, as if to remind them of how much better the real Major Leagues are.
I... I don't think that's true.
Be honest. Why do you think we sell tickets?
I don't know.
And that's the point. You're a baseball player. You know that there's no real reason to come see us play. At best, we're a cheap replacement for the real thing. At worst, we're being exploited. What's the value of winning that kind of championship?
It's better than losing that kind of championship.
Heh. Guess you're right about that. I guess I should be glad that I ever got to play baseball at all. It just feels so hollow.
It... It is a privilege afforded very few. You know, I should still be playing. Young enough that I can still hold a bat, but old enough that they wouldn't strap a rifle in my hands... There's still a spot for me in the Majors, but I'm just not the person to take it.
Why not?
The official story? Sinus condition. But I think you probably know the truth. Can't go a couple innings without a drink.
You know who my favorite player was, growing up?
It wasn't me, was it? That would be embarassing.
Woody English. He hit .335 in 1930 and scored 152 times. That was a very formative year for me.
He was a hell of an infielder. You know, I played against him in 1929.

That second option is just too tempting not to take.

I have a feeling that rooting for the Cubs is always a losing proposition.
Maybe you're right... Still, I grew up with English and Wilson, Hartnett and Cuyler. Nothing's going to change me now.
Nothing wrong with that. That's the best way to be a fan. I know these are weird circumstances, but we're going to be playing for a championship. That's always a good thing.
You're right. I just hope it means something when the war is over.
That's up to you. Make it mean something.
Okay. I will.

TheMcD's Baseball Stuff posted:

So, let's talk about the players Kami grew up watching. First, let's just go over the years these players were Cubs.

English: 1927-1936
Wilson: 1926-1931
Hartnett: 1922-1940
Cuyler: 1928-1935

So the Cubs teams that had all three were 1928 to 1931. So if we peg Kami to be, like, 20, and the year is 1943, she would've seen those teams when she was 5 to 9. Checks out. I mean, of course it checks out, our writer knows his baseball. Anyway, who are these four people?

Kiki Cuyler is the player out of the four that spent the least time out of his career with the Cubs, about 50%. There's actually two stories as to how he got the nickname of "Kiki" (pronounced like the first syllable of his last name) - one is that since he's an outfielder, when a fly ball came his way, the second baseman would shout "Cuy" and the shortstop would shout "Cuy", and soon the audience would be chanting "Cuy Cuy". The other is that it was a nickname to make fun of him, since Cuyler had a stutter.

Cuyler was a speedy hitter, leading the league in stolen bases four times and in triples once, but still had a good bit of power, hitting double digit home runs five times. He was considered a five tool player back in the day. He is also the only one out of the four to have won a World Series title - doing it with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1925.

Actually, while I'm at it, let's go over tools. At times, you'll hear players described as "five tool players" as praise, but what are those tools?

- Contact: The ability to swing the bat and hit for average - so basically, getting many hits.
- Power: The ability to swing the bat and hit for power - so basically, hitting many home runs or extra base hits.
- Glove: The ability to field the ball - to catch it and not fuck up doing so.
- Arm: The ability to throw the ball - to throw it hard and accurately to another fielder.
- Speed: The ability to run - to steal bases, beat out infield singles and not ground into double plays.

I (and others) believe there is also a sixth tool that is criminally underrepresented here.

- Eye: The ability to control the strike zone - to take many walks and not strike out.

A player that has all those tools is usually destined for greatness. You don't have to have all of them to be great, but having them usually means you'll do great.

Gabby Hartnett is the player out of the four that spent the most time with the Cubs - a whole 1926 games out of 1990. He is considered one of the best catchers to ever play the game. With a career batting average just shy of .300, a .370 on base percentage, and multiple seasons with more than 20 home runs (with one where he hit 37), he was more than formidable with the bat, and considering that catchers are commonly less good with the bat, because their fielding abilities are so much more important, that means that what might've only been pretty good for an outfielder is instead competing for one of the best of all time.

Hartnett made it to four World Series with the Cubs, and they lost all four of them. A fun fact: As he grew older, Hartnett gained a reddish complexion, which led to him being nicknamed "Old Tomato Face".

Hack Wilson was the greatest hitter of the four. Mainly playing centerfield, Wilson was a big-time slugger, hitting over 30 home runs four seasons in a row, and hitting 56 in one of those seasons. He was attempting to look the part, too - Wilson was built like a brick shithouse, except for the part where he was only 5'6'' (168 cm). Now, for the time, Wilson was simply considered to be looking a bit strange.

However, with historical hindsight, we now say that Wilson's appearance showed telltale signs of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, which fits with the fact that his mother was an alcoholic. And perhaps the fact that both his parents were alcoholics was formative for him, because Wilson was also a very heavy drinker. After his greatest offensive season in 1930, his drinking would become worse, and his performance started getting worse. By 1933, his weight had ballooned to 230 pounds, and in 1934, he fell out of major league baseball. He continued doing odd jobs like working in an airplane manufacturing plant, bartending and working as a manager at a public swimming pool (a job he got because the city of Baltimore, where he lived, took pity on him), and eventually died in 1948 at the age of 48.

Finally, Woody English was the least accomplished hitter of the lot. He hardly ever hit home runs or triples, never stole many bases either. He only made a single all-star game and had only two seasons where he was above average offensively - 1930 and 1931. 1930 in particular, like Kami pointed out, was a great season for English, as he took 100 walks en route to a .430 on base percentage. English was mainly notable for being a very likable person and good teammate, to the point where even the notoriously grouchy Rogers Hornsby liked him and was friendly with him.

In an interesting connection, it turns out that English would actually go on to manage the Grand Rapids Chicks of the AAGPBL from 1952 to 1954, and even won a championship with them in 1953.

♪ BGM: Silence ♫

I don't think I can make it home tonight. I'll just crash in my office.

Who's there?

Risa, what are you doing here?
I don't want to be alone tonight, Dugan-san.
You don't have to call me Dugan-san anymore... You can call me Dugan-chan.

Oh my god. What have I done?
That's it! Stop the game!

What do you mean?
This is wrong. This is all fucked up.
You just now figured that out?
Yeah, I was on the "This Is Fucked Up" train since it left the station back when you suggested we play an erotic video game.
This game enforces horrible trends of patriarchal control and dominance and so on, and so on. We have to do something to stop it.
Ghost Pedro said--
Never mind your visions, Bobson. How are we going to stop anything? This game was made back in the 90s, in another country. If it did any cultural damage, the damage can't be undone fifteen years later.
No, but we can undo the damage in this particular copy of the game, installed on my comptuter.
I don't understand.
What is the first lesson I taught you, Bobson?
Shave if I start to get gray in my beard?

♪ BGM: Zizek's Theme

No. Games have rules, and rules are made by those with power who want more power. The only way to truly win at a game is to change the rules. So we must change the rules.
What, like programming? I mean, I guess we could hack the game to have a different story but this is getting ridiculous. Game 7 of the World Series is tomorrow.
Wait, Moose. I'm curious.
Of course you are.
You're the one who said we should go with Zizek! I'm just extending that to its natural conclusion, which is that if he says something is smart--
You should never listen to smart people, Bobson. Even... No, especially me.
Just tell us what your plan is. Do we need to go find a computer programmer?
No, nothing so prosaic. We shall enter the game itself and change the progression of events with our own actions.
ENTER the GAME? Never mind, you are insane. Moose, we should move on.
No, it is not as crazy as it sounds. I will use an arcane ability known as Ontology to take us inside the game.
Ontology? But I don't have cancer.
That's "oncology", Bobson. And I don't know what Zizek is going on about, ontology is just the study and categorization of what is real. It's not going to take us into a video game.
Ah, Moose, you are speaking of Theoretical Ontology. I speak of Applied Ontology.
The philosophical art of altering what is real and what is not. It will allow us to make ourselves unreal, and enter an unreal world.
This is what Pedro Martinez wanted me to do. This is why he wanted me to continue playing the game, so we could do this.
So you are with me, Bobson? And you, Moose?
I guess I'm curious.
Exquisite! I will begin the process.
Wait-- Will we be back by game time?
Time in the unreal passes at a fraction of time in the real. Did you not watch the film Inception?
I didn't get it. At the end, I wasn't sure what it was trying to say. Was the main character Jewish? I like to think he was Jewish, because the dreidel wobbled.
...I'm just gonna let that one go. What do we need to do, Zizek?
Well, first, I need you to hold on to this photograph of Edmund Husserl and hold the word "dasein" in your head.

♪ BGM: Silence ♫

So we are actually inside the game now?
Is that not apparent?
We're not two-dimensional static portraits hovering over a background no. It's really a shame, because that seemed like a much more convenient way to get around. Just fade out and you're wherever you need to go next.
This is because of how we perceive the world. Reality as we experience it is only a construct of our brains. Thus, we experience this unreality as if it were our own style of reality, not as it was presented to us from the computer screen.
I guess that makes sense...
Are you just saying that?
It does not matter. We need to interfere before Risa does something that she will regret. Or to be more accurate, before she does something that the rules of this unreality will not allow her to regret. The concepts of consent and hindsight are all rather muddied by the fact that we are in a virtual construct. To be honest, this is all theoretical and we may be just wasting our time. Of course, all of life may be theoretical and we may be wasting our time living.
I thought you said we need to hurry!
Oh yes, right.

What the hell is going on? Who are you?
Yeah, that might take a *lot* of explanation.
There is a book which can explain everything, unfortunately I will not write that book until the year 2021.
This is a private office!
Technically, we controlled you for the last--

♪ BGM: Pink Hair

Would you please leave us alone? It was hard enough coming to Dugan-san's office without someone barging in and interrupting.
Yeah, that's what we want to talk about...
You... You knew how I felt about--
Listen, Risa, the only reason you want to be with Jimmy Dugan is because you are a character in a video game.
You really should wait for my book, though I suppose if this is 1943 you will likely be dead before it is released. To put it simply, Risa, what you believe is reality is actually a virtual construct scripted in the year 1995 and later realized on a computer... in the year 2016. The scripting of this construct has allowed for your free will to be overridden by a short series of binary choices. These choices, selected by me and my associates, have caused you to experience a sexual attraction which, quite frankly, is a horrifying idea.
That wasn't simple at all, Zizek!
What do you mean? I did not resort to explaining the situation in German, even though the German language has far better words for this situation.

♪ BGM: Silence ♫

Stop it! I need you to get out of my office RIGHT NOW!
Huh, he seems angry.
This is a typical response. He is realizing that the position he holds in this world is privileged, and that our interference threatens that. He is the Reconstruction-era former Confederacy of States, forming his own Ku Klux Klan deep in his heart.
God damn, Zizek, you didn't have to draw that comparison!
The only thing I will refuse to draw is a picture of a horse, and that is for reasons that I will never disclose.
I'm... I'm still confused. Are you saying that I don't really want to have sex with Dugan-san?
That's a good question, that I'm still not sure Zizek has answered.
No, because ultimately everyone wants to have sex with everyone else, and we only allow society to restrict those desires.
I would not expect any of you to understand.
Zizek, what are we doing here?
Risa, here is what you must know: The feelings that you are experiencing are the result of the strange and uncomfortable rules which control your world. Our choices put you here, and we could not in good conscience allow this to continue without informing you of what had transpired.
I'm so confused...
You should be. This is all quite distressing, even to me.
I... I think I need to go. I need to think this over. I'm sorry, Dugan-chan. I need some time.
Risa, wait!

And off she goes.

What... What have you done?
This is for the best.

So, that just happened. We just invaded a hentai game to tell the girl about to have sex with the main character that she actually isn't doing this of her own free will because she's forced into this situation because of the fact that she's in a video game. Next time, we head back out and see what we end up doing next now that Bobson has the pitch he needs.