The Let's Play Archive

The Closer: Game of the Year Edition

by TheMcD

Part 10: Update VIII - I'll Do Worse Than Just Hit Him! I'll Use Math!

Update VIII - I'll Do Worse Than Just Hit Him! I'll Use Math!

Now, it's time to confront Dugan.

We just want to go home. Let Zizek take us out of here and we'll leave you alone.
You really don't get it, do you? It's too late for that. You've gone and messed everything up. Look at me... *hic* I was supposed to redeem myself. This was supposed to end with me becoming a better person. Then you decided that you knew better...
I'm sorry, but you're using magic to try and kill us by trapping us in the end of a video game, so you're not very sympathetic right now.
I don't care! Don't you see? Nothing matters anymore.
Stop it! Do you realize what you're saying? That the only meaning in your life was the control that you could exert over us? Do you even realize how fucked up that is?
Heh, darling, you shouldn't talk like that.
I'll... I'll do whatever I want to do. Have you forgotten? This is my story.

What's going on? My magic... What did you do?
It's what you did to yourself, Dugan.
So this is how it goes. I should have expected as much. For all of your lofty ideals, you are no better than me. You speak of high ideals, but you still result to the lowest of tactics. No matter... I know what you have done.
It didn't have to be this way, Dugan. You might hate us for changing your story, but we were the ones who started it in the first place. Up until yesterday, we were right along with you. We wanted you to succeed. Just... Not like this.
It's not my fault!
This is the only world I know. I was created for this world, for the purpose of fulfilling the desires of the people who play this game. People like you. Now you deny me of the very thing I was created to accomplish, and you tell me that I am evil because I resist.
NO! This is my world, and I can fix this! I WILL DESTROY YOU!
This is bad, Bobson. It looks like we're going to have to fight him.
Yeah, I don't think there's any getting around that...
Only one of us can face him...

While having a pitching duel seems appropriate, philosophizing at people as combat is better.

Zizek. I choose Zizek.
Do not worry. I will be super effective.
Fascinating... You do not even play baseball, do you?
What need do I have of games, when I can dismantle you with critique?
Go ahead, then! Do your worst!

Alright, here we are. Let's start out with some Marxist critique.

Zizek applies a Marxist critique!

How did you grow up, Mr. Dugan?
What do you mean?
Were you poor or rich?
Poor, I suppose.
Then how can you be so blind to the oppression which you are part of?

Well, the manager can't be it - the manager usually gets paid a fairly low amount compared to star players. So it'll have to be the player character.

As the player character, you are the bourgeois. You actually do not have any personality of your own. This is an implicit requirement of a player character within a video game. The player must be able to see himself within his avatar. But this means that the supporting characters must provide all of the actual characterization within the storyline. As such, the player character robs the lower class of its labor value.
Y-you're right...

Let's give it some more Marxism.

Zizek applies a Marxist critique!

I fight you, but destroying you will do no good in the long run. In this world, you alone are the dominant class, and as the dominant class is deposed, a new one will rise to take its place.

Well, that doesn't mean we should just stop!

This is only more reason for me to continue! In reality, history has no end... It only continues to evolve, and progress. My interference in this world, ruled by you, can only be seen as an advancement of those who must be advanced. So despite the fact that I may create a ruling class of similar darkness, I will force myself forward through the fog of doubt!

Now, let's try some Kantian to mix things up.

Zizek applies a Kantian critique!

Have you ever considered whether you are real, Mr. Dugan?
What do you mean?
Assuming that we never have direct experience of things, is it perhaps possible that you are simply your own dream?

I'll admit, I just guessed on this one.

Rather than exist as an independent object, you are nothing but a subject. You are merely the filter by which this virtual construct experiences itself and nothing more.
Oh god...

And that'll do it.

♪ BGM: Silence ♫

No, I am exactly as smart as I look. You merely have deficient vision.
What does... What does that even mean?
Don't ask me. I still haven't figured him out.
It doesn't matter. I'm still in control here.
Are you kidding? We just ate your lunch for breakfast.
I'm not even going to dignify that with a response.
You just did! That was a response!
I'm still the main character here! Fighting you didn't do anything but help me sober up.

If you're going to give me the option...

Fuck that. This is ridiculous. I'm not--

♪ BGM: Kaminari

This isn't your fight! Those three may have helped wake me up, but they shouldn't have the satisfaction of defeating you.
Kami, what are you doing?
Something I would have done a long time ago if not for this god damned video game we're all stuck in.

You just hit me! We're supposed to be friends!
That's the thing, isn't it? Everything that is "supposed" to be is set up to help you get what you want. I was just a tool for you to use along the way. But now that I realize what was going on, I'm going to make sure that you can't hurt these people.
Kami, are you sure about this?
Two of us have not even fought him yet. You do not need to risk yourself.
But I do! You came here to free me from this virtual construct of patriarchy. But I can't really be free if I depend on three men to free me. I have to be the instrument of my own emancipation.
I had not thought of it like that, but you are quite correct. To insist upon saving you would only further place the yoke of oppression around your neck.

Zizek has learned a new form of critique! Zizek has learned [Feminist Critique]!

She's right and all, but how is she going to defeat Dugan? He has magic, remember?
Well, I just need my own form of magic, don't I?
Well, girl, you better learn fast. Because it's almost game time.
Don't call me "girl"!
I don't have time for this. If you think you can defeat me, you have until the end of the championship game. Then this all disappears...your friends right along with it.

♪ BGM: How Things Are

I have to break free of this shitty world. I have to learn magic.
Creating magic in this world should not be difficult for the characters within. Any concept which is unfamiliar within the time period or virtual construct... will appear to be magic. For example, if we were to introduce the concept of nuclear power, it would manifest as a form of magic. Unfortunately, we do not have any nuclear materials, nor the scientific ability to make use of them.
Yeah, but we don't need those things... The year is 1943. All sorts of concepts would be alien to this world. Mass media, globalization, civil rights...
Yeah, but we don't have any experts on any of those things. And Kami wants to do this on her own, anyway.
Bill James hasn't even been born. Earl Weaver is 13 years old. No one today knows how to evaluate baseball players. It's all about batting average, counting stats, and the eye test.
Yeah, sabermetrics hasn't even been invented yet! Building a team around advanced stats would see like magic!
Kami has already shown she's smart... We just have to push her in the right direction.
What are you guys talking about?
All right, Kami, I want you to think about something. What is the value of a walk?
Think about this: When a batter gets a hit, part of that is just the fielders failing to get to the ball. But when a batter takes a walk, that is an absolute reflection of their ability to recognize balls and strikes. Am I right?
...huh. And, I guess, outs are a finite resource in baseball. Three outs ends an inning, twenty-seven ends the game. The most valuable thing a batter can do is to prevent herself from making an out. I'm starting to understand!
This is it! She is learning how to use magic!

Kami became a Sabermagician!


This is amazing! I understand so much more about baseball now!
Just watch out for old school sportswriters. A woman who knows the importance of OBP might literally kill them.

Kami joined the party!

Now I can't wait for another shot at Dugan! I'll do worse than just hit him! I'll use math!
Let's go. We don't have much time.

Alright, before we continue...

TheMcD's Baseball Stuff posted:

Bill James is a baseball historian and statistician who has been very influential on the game. It was James who first coined the term Sabermetrics to describe empirical analysis of baseball - the name "sabermetrics" is a reference to the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) for short. There's quite a few statistics used these days that are attributed to James, for example:

- Pythagorean Winning Percentage: This describes an "expected" winning percentage for teams based on the runs they've scored and allowed so far across the season. It's calculated as follows, with RS being runs scored and RA being runs allowed: (RS^2) / (RS^2 + RA^2). So for example, let's take the current 2019 San Francisco Giants, whose current record is 24-34. That's pretty bad, but should they be this bad? Let's calculate. They have scored 224 runs so far and allowed 300. So, RS^2 is 50176 and RA^2 is 90000. 50176 / (50176 + 90000) = 0.35795. Then we multiply that with the number of games they've played so far. 58 * 0.35795 = 20.76. So they're expected to have won only 21 games at this point, meaning that for as shitty the Giants have been, they've actually been lucky and won more games than they should. Great.
- Game Score: This attempts to give a number that describes how well a starting pitcher pitches. You start with 50 points, add one for every out recorded, two for every inning completed after the fourth, one for each strikeout. Then, subtract two for each hit given up, four for each earned run allowed, two for each unearned run allowed, and one for each walk given up. So for instance, the best Game Score yet is when Kerry Wood pitched a game for the Chicago Cubs in which he pitched all nine innings, gave up one hit, no walks, and struck out 20, adding up to 105 points.
- Similarity Score: This is a method to find players that most compare to one specific player. Basically, it takes the career stats for a player, puts them into a big formula and out comes a score. It's way too complex to explain in this space, though.

Sabermetrics have made their way into baseball front offices and managing minds more and more, and the way player value is evaluated has changed drastically as a result.

Earl Weaver was a long-time manager of the Baltimore Orioles and quite an innovator when it comes to managing. He was one that meticulously kept track of matchups, so when he finds out that his shortstop who can't hit somehow actually can hit against a specific ace pitcher, he would move that shortstop up the batting order against that particular pitcher. Weaver also formulated ten laws he abided by in the book Weaver On Strategy, which is still an excellent read:

1. No one’s going to give a damn in July if you lost a game in March.
2. If you don’t make any promises to your players, you won’t have to break them.
3. The easiest way around the bases is with one swing of the bat.
4. Your most precious possessions on offense are your 27 outs.
5. If you play for one run, that’s all you’ll get.
6. Don’t play for one run unless you know that run will win a ballgame.
7. It’s easier to find four good starters than five.
8. The best place for a rookie pitcher is long relief.
9. The key step for an infielder is the first one - left or right - but before the ball is hit.
10. The job of arguing with the umpires belongs to the manager, because it won’t hurt the team if he gets kicked out of the game.

You'll note that we've just earlier gone over Weaver's rule number four - that the 27 outs a team gets are the most important thing. His practice of starting rookie pitchers in long relief meant that they wouldn't be subjected to high-pressure situations or high workloads early in their career, which helped in keeping them from getting arm injuries.

Weaver, in keeping with rule number ten, was also quite adept at arguing with umpires. And finally, I couldn't write something about Earl Weaver without linking this magical little piece.

Now, on with the show.

♪ BGM: The Virtual Game

The whole field is empty. Isn't the game only a few minutes away?
Yeah, something's not right.

♪ BGM: Dugan

What's he doing all by himself?
I do not like where this is going.
I knew you would come. I knew it wouldn't take you long to figure out that you couldn't use magic.
Shh... Lets try to keep the element of surprise.
This isn't your story, Kaminari. This isn't your game. You cannot control it like I can.

Your approximation of recent events is likely correct, Bobson.
You have no idea what you are dealing with! This is my world, and I can do as I like!
You're wrong, Dugan. If you controlled this world, then these visitors would have never been able to enter it and change the sequence of events.
Shut up! Who are you? You were merely created to serve me! Don't you understand, you are nothing!
No, Dugan... Pitcher wins are nothing!

♪ BGM: Kaminari

That surprised you, didn't it? You know what else is going to surprise you? All those times you made me bunt, you were significantly hurting our chances of winning!

It's magic, Dugan. Sabermagics.
That's right, Dugan. All along, you were wrong about everything. You aren't the only one in this world who can learn magic. This is not your story alone. Most importantly, RBI are a worthless stat!

TheMcD's Baseball Stuff posted:

I don't think I've explained Runs Batted In (RBI) yet. They're really simple - if your actions as a batter result in a run scoring, you are credited with a RBI (except if you grounded into a double play - a double play being when two outs are made in a single at bat's defensive actions - or reached base on an error). So theoretically, a perfect batter who always, say, hits a double, could still end up with 0 RBI if nobody gets on base in front of him. This is the crux of why RBI are a super shit stat.

Just for that... I will destroy you!
All right, Kami, are you ready for this?
More than ready. Come at me, Dugan!

Alright, time for another combat tutorial, as it were, because Kami's combat works differently again. Well, in a way, it's kinda like Zizek's.

We have the choice between these two spells.

TheMcD's Baseball Stuff posted:

These two spells are plays on words based on two sabermetric ideas.

- Win Expectancy is essentially calculating how likely it is a team will win at any given moment in a baseball game, and therefore every possible action in a game has a different effect on win expectancy - striking out with nobody on base and no outs in a game you're leading 3-0 is less hurtful than striking out with the bases loaded (meaning there's runners on first, second and third) and two outs in a game you're trailing 1-2.

- A Replacement Player is a basic idea - if I, as a manager, were to just go down to my highest level minor league team and say "give me a guy I can use right now", the guy I get is a replacement player. This idea is used to then go into stats like Wins Above Replacement (WAR), which attempt to assign value to a player based on this baseline. There's a ton of work that goes into WAR calculation and different sites have different formulas, so we're not going into that. But for instance, we can take Mike Trout's 2018 season and calculate a WAR of 10.2 for him, meaning that that season, if instead of using Mike Trout, the Los Angeles Angels would've just grabbed some shithead from the minors to play in center field, they would've been expected to win 10.2 less games than they did. And yes, one player having that much effect on a team's winning is reserved only for superstars like Trout. A basic guideline is that 8 or more WAR is an MVP-level season, 5 or more WAR is an all-star level season, 2 or more WAR is a starting player-level season, 0 or more WAR is a substitution player-level season, and negative WAR is a replacement player level season.

Now, Replacement Prayer isn't all that fun for me, but let's look at it, because it gives another point of view on the idea of "replacement player".

Kami calculates a replacement prayer!

De profundis clamavi ad te, Domine: Domine, exaudi vocem meam: Fiant aures tuae intendentes, in vocem deprecationis meae.
W-what are you doing?
Domine Iesu, dimitte nobis debita nostra, salva nos ab igne inferiori, perduc in caelum omnes animas, praesertim eas, quae misericordiae tuae maxime indigent.
You're freaking me out! What are you talking about?
Oh, just some random Latin prayers. I don't even know what they mean.
Then why are you saying them?
They're Replacement Prayers, just random prayers that might be poor fits for the situation but they were what I could come up with. You see in any given system, there are resources that are readily available. They're bad resources, but they are there... and you should never expend money or time to acquire anything on their level.
Where are you going with this?
I'm not putting any effort into picking out a prayer, because I know it won't help me in this situation. Just like in baseball, there are [replacement level] players. They can be found in any minor league system, or on the cheap in the FA market, or in the case of our the dance halls.
What are you saying?
You should use a baseline to evaluate players, which is the approximate value of these freely available players!
But that means I have to use math!
Wait, why are you lecturing me on this? You're a girl; you can't do math.
Are you kidding me? Shit, seriously?
It's just science.
THAT'S NOT SCIENCE! I'll show you who can't do math! 2(x + 3) - x = 2x + 8; Solve for X!
What? No! I'm a baseball manager, I can't do that.

Then I spend like a minute figuring out that the correct answer is -2, and after that, we win the battle. But let's look at Win Hexpectancy instead before that.

Kami calculates a win hexpectancy!

Hail to the guardians of the North, mighty earth which feeds us, our home and mother!
What are you doing?
Hail to the guardians of the East, blessed air that soothes us, the breath of life in all existence.
Oh god, this is some sort of witchcraft.
Hail to the guardians of the South, sacred fire that sparks life in all, our protector and progenitor.
No, I won't let you freak me out.
Hail to the guardians of the West, Waters of life, where all are purified and reborn.
Blessed Baseba'al, I am but a spoke in the great wheel, but I call upon your power to determine whether I will win this fight.

I can see it, Dugan... The numbers are in my favor.
What are you talking about?
There are no outs. Top of the ninth. The game is tied and I have a runner on third base. All he has to do is make it to the plate.
Call for the bunt, right?

And here, we are given a choice to agree or disagree. This is what Win Hexpectancy is about - you are given a baseball situation and have to work out the right move for the situation. In this case, bunting is bad.

No! Of course not! A suicide squeeze could just as easily get the runner thrown out at home, and if the batter swings away they might get a sac fly. Besides, it's only the top of the ninth and we want to score as many runs as possible!

And that wins us the battle as well.

What did you do?

♪ BGM: The Virtual Game

Way to go, Kami! You did it!
This magic thing is pretty awesome. Does this mean that you guys can go home now?
It does appear that I can use my ontology again, if we are ready to leave this world.
That's the plan.
Finally! We need to get back to the real world and get ready for Game Seven.
You bastards! Don't run away! You have taken everything from me!
This may be a problem, Bobson.
What do you mean?
We have basically violated the Prime Directive.
I have no idea what that means.
You seriously never watched Star Trek?
His assessment is correct, Moose. You have demonstrated that you are what people refer to as a "nerd".
You're a god damn philosopher!
In Star Trek, the most important rule of the Federation is to avoid interfering the development of primitive societies.
We've dramatically changed this world, and we've broken all of its internal rules. Now we're responsible for it.
Ugh... We can't just leave Dugan here, like he is, to try and control these girls again once we're gone. Zizek, is there a way to use your ontology to remove him from the game?
Well, it is certainly possible to delete aspects of the unreal world with ontology. But is that the sort of people we want to be?
No, no it's not!
Kami, what do you think? Should we leave Dugan here in this world with you?
I don't know what you're talking about. I'm planning on coming with you guys.
The world that created this game seems like a fucked up place, and I'm going to help clean it up. I'm going to smash the patriarchy!
That seems like a prudent idea. Kami will come with us.
Okay, but what do we do about Dugan?
I think that is up to Bobson to decide.
What? Why me?
You are the main character.
Awww, man, I never asked for this.
Did you ever ask to be born? I know that I did not ask to be born, and I would most certainly be happier if I had not been.
Yikes. Fine, I'll choose... But I should ask the girls what they think we should do. They are the ones who will have to live with him.
You mean that you should ask the *women* here what they think.
I like her already.
Approach Dugan when you have made your decision. I will keep him paralyzed until you are ready.

Alright, what does everybody think?

I don't want him around here when you're gone. Get rid of him.

I'm not happy with how Dugan treated us, but I'm not sure you should kill him.

You don't have to delete Dugan! We can keep him in line! You showed us what we need to do, Kami!

Don't leave him here. We'll fight him but... I'm afraid of what will happen.

So that's two for deleting, one for not deleting, one ambivalent. Let's ask our party members.

I think you should have Zizek delete him. He's not real, and this world would be better off without him.

This decision, I cannot help you with. In this, I am but a tool, a gun to be fired if you so desire. Then again, aren't we all tools?
Heh, yeah Zizek, sometimes you are a tool.

That's one for, and one... Zizek.

I have faith that the other women on the team can keep him under control... or get rid of him if they have to. But if you think he needs to be deleted, I'll go along with it. You and your friends know more about how this least for now.
Don't do it! I can change!
No, I do not think that you can. Unlike the women of this team, who have been created with personalities that can develop... you are nothing but a cipher. You an empty vessel by which the user of the game expresses his selfish desires. You can never change, because you are nothing to begin with. You merely seek the goals you have been given. If we do allow you to live, you will continue to embody this insatiable desire--for booze, for flesh, for revenge--until you die.
I thought you didn't want to kill him, Zizek.
I do not. I find him fascinating, and I am curious what happens when a cipher is free of the chains that define him. But as I said, this is your choice.

Well, I think if we sum it all together, that's a win for killing him. So that's what we're doing!

Sorry, Dugan, but I can't let you terrorize these women after we leave. There's no way to know you won't get your magic back, and who knows what you would do with it.
You're making the right choice, Bobson.
Then it is decided. I will do it. This is unfortunate, but your decision makes a certain element of sense.
No! Don't!
Do it, Zizek!

We've freed this world.
Was it really yours to free?
Ugh, I don't want to think about it. Let's just go home.
Okay. Let's get out of here.
Ms. Kami, are you sure you want to come with us? You may never be able to return to this world, at least as you know it.
Fuck this world.
That is the correct response! Though fuck our world as well. It is admittedly not that much better.
Well I plan on changing that.
You should not plan on changing anything because you cannot change anything, but I admire your tenacity nonetheless... and that is quite a compliment coming from me because there are very few things that I admire that are not dead.
All right, time to go home!
Risa, Ai, Mitsu, Haruka... Good luck.

This is our universe, Kami. What do you think?
Is it just this room? Because this is awful small. And it smells like cooked cabbage.
There is a good reason for that.
No! Our world is massive. This is just one room in one apartment building in one city in one country and--
I think she gets the point.
So, what is the first thing that you will do now that you are in our world?
I can't even imagine what her path to citizenship looks like... this might get weird.
For now, I'll stick around with you guys. At least I want to see how the World Series turns out.
Then we should be on our way!

And there we are. I bet you didn't expect that we would be playing a hentai game based on A League Of Their Own. Or that we would literally enter it to cockblock the main character. Or that we would be blocked from leaving by the main character, who had suddenly become able to cast magic. Or that we would convert one of the female characters to a sabermagician and fight the main character with her. Or that that female character would then decide "fuck this world, I'm going with you" and now finds herself in the real world.

I told you shit would kinda get nuts.