Glick on Gaming: Xenoblade Chronicles is the most unique series at Nintendo

In Glick on Gaming, Dan Glickman leaves baseball (mostly) behind to talk video gaming. This time: Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition and Xenoblade Chronicles 2 for the Nintendo Switch.

The Xenoblade Chronicles by Monolith Soft series that can be found on Nintendo consoles is an odd one, one of the most unique of Nintendo’s stable. Given that this is a company that has a mushroom-eating plumber as its mascot, that may be saying something. However, it is odd even compared to other Nintendo series. Here are a few reasons why:

IT IS BRITISH

Well, not really. It, like most games published by Nintendo, was created in Japan. It’s done in an anime style that is full of big-eyed people, scantily-clad women, and wild hair. In fact, an argument could be made that it is one of Nintendo’s most Japanese series. Its genre is even JRPG (Japanese Role-Playing Game). However, the vast majority of Nintendo games when they are localized (translated) into English are done by Nintendo’s American branch. The voice actors that redub any Japanese dialogue are almost always American, the spellings used are the American spellings, and so is the slang.

In Xenoblade, that isn’t the case. A quirk of history meant that Nintendo’s branch in the UK did it. It all stems from Nintendo of America’s initial refusal to bring the original game to the USA until a fan campaign convinced them to do otherwise. Since Nintendo’s UK branch had already localized the game, Nintendo of America simply decided to use their work.

As a result, almost all of the characters in the Xenoblade games speak in British accents, generally by actual British people. This leads to some glorious subversions of what you’d expect, giving the series a unique character that isn’t really found anywhere else in Nintendo’s repertoire. For example, take this character from Xenoblade Chronicles 2, Nia:

Credit to the Xenoblade Wiki for this.

Now, looking at her, you’ll notice a few things. The most notable is that she is a cute cat-person with big fuzzy ears. You’d think that this character would have some sort of cutesy kiddy voice.

You would be wrong. Nia is an angry and often sarcastic catwoman with a Welsh accent:

This leads to the next thing that makes Xenoblade a unique series at Nintendo…

THE NOPON AREN’T WHAT THEY SEEM

Nintendo games are often quite straight-forward. Really, the number of Nintendo series that truly have stories that go beyond the standard “good versus evil” can probably fit on one hand. It ultimately goes to the Nintendo philosophy that puts the gameplay before anything else. Monolith Soft, the production house behind Xenoblade, is not as beholden to this, as they actually had been independent until being bought out by Nintendo. As a result, no Nintendo series has more twists and turns. And few Nintendo series have a more surprising setting filled with interesting races of beings.

Take, for example, the Nopon. The Nopon are small egg-shaped balls of fur with prehensile ears. Here is Riki from Xenoblade Chronicles 1, for example:

And just in case that doesn’t truly show Riki’s essence, here’s the official art for him:

Credit again to the series’ wiki page.

You look at him and you doubtless think: this is clearly the kid-friendly cutesy character only there to serve as comic relief. And in that, you are right. Except here’s the thing:

Riki there? He’s a man, he’s 40! He’s got 11 kids! He’s deeply in debt to basically everyone in his village! In fact, he’s so in debt that he’s basically forced to go on a suicide mission and join the heroes!

Not what you were expecting, huh? Well, the thing is that the entire Nopon race is like that. In a medium that often paints other sci-fi or fantasy species with a broad brush, the Nopon have layers. The Nopon character in Xenoblade Chronicles 2 is a borderline-perverted engineer who clearly has a crush on his robot creation, The Nopon characters in the Xenoblade Chronicles 1 pseudo-sequel Future Connected are a brother and sister where the sister is the big physical basher (usually a role reserved for a giant muscular man, not a cute pink bunny-ball) and the brother is the healer (usually the role reserved for a woman in games such as these). Still others in that same game are a group of explorers with various different personalities, wants, needs, and quirks.

Other Nopon you meet during the series have as varied of personalities as the humans as well. Many of them are back-stabbing businessmen every bit as cruel and cunning as the worst people you know, and they will use their cuteness to their advantage in doing so. Other Nopon are as varied as humans. There are loving mothers, deadbeat fathers, salesmen, thieves, orphans, scientists, and every other type of thing. This may seem obvious to those not familiar with Nintendo’s games, but this wide variety is rare. In the Zelda series, for example, the non-human species are often pigeonholed into specific roles. The Gorons are almost always miners and explosive experts, for example. Not so for the Nopon.

IT’S ADULT

I don’t mean it in the “there are scantily-clad cartoon women in this” (although there are) sense. Nor do I mean it in the violence sense (although there is violence). No, it is adult in theme. It covers, either directly or indirectly, some of the following topics:

  • The existence or non-existence of a higher power, and what value that being does or does not bring.
  • Whether we are in charge of our fates or destined to go on a predetermined course.
  • Racism, discrimination, and the difficulties of overcoming hatred.
  • War and the scars left by it.
  • The question of whether the nature of mankind means it will repeat its mistakes forever.
  • The need to overcome nihilism.
  • Generational trauma.
  • The relationship between man and nature.
  • Gnosticism.
  • Eugenics.
  • The burden of responsibility.
  • Friendship.
  • Whether memory is a blessing or a curse.

This isn’t to say there aren’t other video games that deal with topics like this. There are. But in Nintendo’s stable, Xenoblade is one of the few that do, and perhaps the only one that does so many.

And now, it is only a month until the third official game of the series (a side-game was released for the Wii U) comes out. The third installment of Nintendo’s most unique series.

Fictional Fields: Parks Department Field No. 2

An often-underappreciated part of fiction is setting and set design. We focus on the characters and special effects flying around, all of that is meaningless without a sense of place. What would Captain Kirk be without the bridge of the USS Enterprise? Would The Shawshank Redemption have worked as well if we could not see the prison walls that Andy Dufresne chips his way through? What would Mario be able to do if there weren’t blocks, castles, hills, and tubes around for him to jump on and explore? The places where our fiction takes place help dictate how that fiction occurs.

The same can be said for baseball. Alone among the major sports, massive differences exist between ball fields. They can be anything from an open field with no boundaries to a gigantic stadium with walls of various heights. How that ball field is laid out affects how the game is played: what will and won’t be a home run, how deep the outfielders will play, and how likely it is that a long hit becomes a double, triple, or out.

Now, I combine the two to look at FICTIONAL FIELDS- baseball fields from the land of fiction. We begin with Parks Department Field No. 2 from the classic Backyard Baseball.

About The Field: Debuting in the classic Backyard Baseball of 1997, Parks Department Field No. 2 (PDFN2) was in some ways the most ubiquitous and least-wacky stadium in the series. Initially only available if you played in season mode, it became available for single games in later installments. Sadly, after the 2003 installment, PDFN2 disappeared from the series.

As mentioned above, it was the least-wacky stadium of the series. While other fields in the games are generally in actual backyards, back alleys, or playgrounds, this one has a more official feeling. The fact that it was what was used in season mode suggests that it was (and perhaps still is) the home facility of the local sports organization.

Great Players: The field was used by almost every team in season mode, from the Melonheads to the Taters and everyone in-between. There were also pint-sized versions of MLB teams. The only teams that couldn’t be encountered there were those that could only be found in post-season tournament play. As a result, PDFN2 saw many of the greats: Pablo Sanchez, Pete Wheeler, Stephanie Morgan, Achmed Khan, the works! Add in the kid versions of MLB stars from the sequels, and it’s possible that PDFN2 has seen the greatest assemblage of baseball talent in video game history.

Dimensions:

So, before we figure out the field’s dimensions, there is a need first to get an idea of what type of field this is. There is reason to believe it is a Little League-size field. Why? When you see the length of home runs in Backyard batting practices, you see that the balls that die at the left-center wall are only going 196 feet (note that in BB they count the rolls and bounces for distance). Dead grounders ahead of the pitcher’s mound are in the 30s as far as distance, and a ball clearly past the pitcher’s mound is 62 feet. Look below at a screenshot of Eauxps I. Fourgott’s video:

This would suggest that this is a little league field. So about 46 feet from the mound to home and 60 feet between the bases. This is not surprising, of course, given that the Backyard Baseballers are children, but it’s still important to know as we figure out the lengths.

So, looking over various videos of home run derbies, I’ve come to the conclusion that the following distances are definitely true:

Left Field: 175 ft

Left-Center: 196 ft

Right-Center: 196 ft

Right Field: 175 ft

So, we still need to figure out how long it is down the lines and to straightaway center. To do that, we’ll need to do the highly-unscientific-but-the-best-we’ve-got method of pixel measurement. In this case, we measure something on the computer in pixels and then use that to get an idea of the scale. Since it isn’t a “straight-on” view but rather at an angle and further distorted by it cartooniness, we’ll have to use the balls closest to the area we’re aiming at to set a scale.

So, for example, it appears that the hit towards center that went 180 feet was 1274.5 pixels. This suggests that 7.080555555 (repeating) pixels is equal to one foot. Since straightaway center is about 1306 pixels, that suggests that it’s about 184.4 feet to center. This means, of course, that the right-center and left-center alleys are actually deeper than straightaway center.

Now, time to figure out the lines. The ball hit closest to the line is the 136 hit to left. So to get something close to that scale, we find 1299.1 pixels equals 136 feet. That suggests that down the lines we should assume one foot is represented by just over 9.5522 pixels. It looks like the lines are 1310.5 pixels, so that equals out to about 137.19 feet down the lines. So, the final dimensions of PDFN2 are:

Left Field line: 137 ft

Left Field: 175 ft

Left-Center: 196 ft

Dead Center: 184 ft

Right-Center: 196 ft

Right Field: 175 ft

Right Field line: 137 ft

Now, this was highly unscientific, and no doubt the “real” lengths are rounded up or down. Still, it gives a “ballpark” figure. And, yes, that wordplay is intended.

Just for fun, given that Little League fields are 2/3rds the size of adult fields, we can figure out what the MLB equivalent of PDFN2 is with a little math. That comes out to…

Left Field line: 205.5 ft

Left Field: 262.5 ft

Left-Center: 294 ft

Dead Center: 276 ft

Right-Center: 294 ft

Right Field: 262.5

Right Field line: 205.5 ft

You’ll notice that this is still hilariously small (and also that the shape would become more exaggerated). Doing some work with the OOTP Parkgen website suggests it’d be the ultimate hitter’s park:

Yes, if you are reading that right, it should literally be impossible to hit a double in play on that field. So this leads to the question: why was it so small? Even going by the Little League standards (where the deepest parts are 196), the deepest parts of PDFN2 are far closer to the plate than the walls at Lamade Stadium in Williamsport. Given that Pablo Sanchez can smack it over 700 feet, it becomes even more absurd.

Alas, we have no way of knowing. Still, we now know the dimensions for PDFN2, so use this knowledge only for good.

Capacity and Amenities: By default, 16 people are seen in the stands when seen from overhead in Backyard Baseball. Based on the empty spots, it looks like another 16 probably could fit on those stands for a total capacity of 32. It’s possible that additional stands existed outside of camera view, but those were never seen, at least in the classic games. And, of course, there probably is room for blankets and other standing-room options.

As far as amenities, PDFN2 is and was top-of-the-line. Perhaps even over-the-top. It possesses a large scoreboard in dead center for replays and statistics, as well as a blimp that flew over to celebrate home runs. It also had an awesome sound system to blast out the theme songs of all the players. Some sort of broadcast facilities are/were also present since Sunny Day and Vinny the Gooch were able to cover all games.

For fans, less is known. However, given the Gooch’s chili dog, we must assume that some concession stands are/were present.

Other Notes: PDFN2 is part of a series of fields run by the Parks Department. Parks Department Field No. 3 is used for (American) football, while Parks Department Field No. 7 and Parks Department Field No. 8 are used for soccer (although PDFN8 lacks grass and is instead a sandy field).

Final Thoughts: The Parks Department Field No. 2 is a classic of Backyard Baseball, but lacks much of the charm that other fields in the series have. This is, admittedly, by design. While other playing fields are odd and quirky, PDFN2 is fair, without giving an advantage to left-handed or right-handed hitters. It also had a more professional look, like an actual youth stadium on steroids. This made it the perfect stadium for the season mode that Backyard Baseball had. It may not have been the place you’d want to play with your friends, but it was definitely the place you’d want to play against your opponents.

BIZARRE BASEBALL CULTURE 2.0: “Mr. Go” is about a GORILLA PLAYING BASEBALL IN KOREA

In Bizarre Baseball Culture, I take a look at some of the more unusual places where baseball In Bizarre Baseball Culture 2.0, I take an updated look at some of the more unusual places that I previously covered where baseball has reared its head in pop culture and fiction. In the process, I clean up some mistakes of mine and add some more perspective.

NOTE: The original form of this post ran here. It has some grammatical mistakes and out-of-date information that has been corrected in this post but remains up for posterity. In addition, I have added some extra stuff.

In 2019, the Bong Joon-ho film Parasite took the world by storm. The tale of a poor Korean family that integrates its way into the life of a wealthy family, it became the first film not in the English language to win the Academy Award for Best Picture. It spurred a greater appreciation and interest in Korean cinema amongst cinephiles and even general audiences.

This post is not about that film. No, this is about the exact opposite of the award-winning works of Bong Joon-Ho. This is a post about the 2013 film Mr. Go, a Korean-Chinese co-production (more on that later) about a gorilla trained to play baseball.

This was a film much beloved by people throughout the baseball internet at one point for the sheer curiosity factor of its existence. Places like the now-defunct Big League Stew did posts about it, but few actually saw it. I, however, was able to procure a copy of the film in 2014. It was in the form of a DVD from Hong Kong, acquired from a Canadian seller on eBay. All for you, the readership of the Baseball Continuum (and anybody who found this link). Times have changed since 2014, though. Now, you can watch it streaming for free (with advertisements) on the Amazon FreeVee service and on Tubi.

So, buckle up. Below the jump, we dive deep into Mr. Go. Prepare yourself, because gorilla baseball, MLB cameos, banana-shaped thunderstix, pizza commercials, a bullpen-cart chase, and other madness awaits you:

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Related To Somebody Famous For Something Else: Pat Riley’s dad, Lee Riley

Like many people, I’ve been watching the HBO show Winning Time, about the start of the Showtime-era Lakers. Not surprisingly, one of the main subjects of the show is Pat Riley, played here by Adrien Brody.

In one episode, Riley is shown to have a mental breakdown that leads him to smash much of his shed with a baseball bat. He then tells his wife (played by Gillian Jacobs) that he’s haunted by the missed opportunity of his father (who the bat belonged to), who was only able to have one hit in the majors despite playing the game for years.

While I have no idea if that actually happened, what Pat Riley says about his father is true. Lee Riley (also known as Leon Riley) played professional baseball for 22 seasons, but only briefly made it the majors. It was at the old age of 37 during the 1944 series for the Phillies, and even then it was largely because most of the younger players had joined the war effort. In 12 plate appearances over four games, the outfielder got one single hit: a double off Boston’s Ira Hutchinson in late April.

YearAgeTmLgGPAABRH2B3BHRRBISBCSBBSOBAOBPSLGOPSOPS+TBGDPHBPSHIBBPos
194437PHINL412121110010000.083.083.167.250-3020000/7H
1 Yr1 Yr1 Yr1 Yr412121110010000.083.083.167.250-3020000
16216216216216248648640404000400000.083.083.167.250-30810000

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/8/2022.

Of course, that was just his MLB career. His minor league career was far longer. While somewhat incomplete, you can see what Baseball Reference has below:

Register Batting
Year Age AgeDif Tm Lg Lev Aff G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB GDP HBP SH IBB
1927 20 2 Teams 2 Lgs D-A 33 103 103 23 4 3 2 .223 .379 39
1927 20 -7.1 Lincoln WL A 10 26 7 0 2 1 .269 .539 14
1927 20 -5.1 Ottumwa MSVL D 23 77 16 4 1 1 .208 .325 25
1928 21 -5.7 Pueblo WL A 141 489 181 43 17 13 .370 .607 297
1929 22 -4.5 Pueblo WL A 159 606 185 41 27 24 .305 .581 352
1930 23 -3.2 Pueblo WL A 147 527 175 27 18 20 .332 .566 298
1931 24 -2.9 Pueblo WL A 139 534 161 39 16 16 .302 .524 280
1932 25 2 Teams 2 Lgs A-AA 151 546 546 184 40 11 15 .337 .533 291
1932 25 -3.3 Rochester IL AA STL 78 257 71 9 5 6 .276 .420 108
1932 25 -2.2 Omaha WL A 73 289 113 31 6 9 .391 .633 183
1933 26 2 Teams 2 Lgs A STL 130 450 450 114 21 11 7 .253 .396 178
1933 26 -0.4 Elmira NYPL A STL 128 448 114 21 11 7 .255 .397 178
1933 26 -0.6 Houston TL A STL 2 2 0 0 0 0 .000 .000 0
1934 27 2 Teams 2 Lgs A-C STL 105 373 373 100 15 6 11 .268 .429 160
1934 27 1.0 Davenport WL A 87 300 81 14 4 8 .270 .423 127
1934 27 2.8 Huntington MATL C STL 18 73 19 1 2 3 .260 .452 33
1935 28 3.0 Davenport WL A 112 413 132 23 7 12 .320 .496 205
1936 29 2.9 Davenport WL A BRO 123 431 129 24 6 12 .299 .466 201
1937 30 7.6 Beatrice NESL D BRO 114 393 146 27 19 14 .372 .644 253
1938 31 8.8 Beatrice NESL D BRO 115 524 425 117 155 30 15 17 122 15 82 28 .365 .480 .626 1.106 266 12 5
1939 32 3 Teams 3 Lgs A-A1-AA 81 204 204 58 8 3 7 .284 .456 93
1939 32 4.9 Baltimore IL AA 38 52 11 3 0 1 .212 .327 17
1939 32 7.2 Elmira EL A BRO 23 84 23 3 1 4 .274 .476 40
1939 32 5.0 Knoxville SOUA A1 PIT 20 68 24 2 2 2 .353 .529 36
1940 33 9.5 Oneonta CAML C 116 394 134 21 10 14 .340 .551 217
1941 34 9.5 Rome CAML C 120 404 158 27 6 32 .391 .725 293
1942 35 2 Teams 2 Lgs B-A1 PHA 132 414 414 107 16 8 7 .259 .387 160
1942 35 7.5 Memphis SOUA A1 61 203 64 8 4 4 .315 .453 92
1942 35 11.1 Wilmington ISLG B PHA 71 211 43 8 4 3 .204 .322 68
1944 37 12.1 Utica EL A PHI 125 515 383 69 98 18 5 5 70 2 117 54 .256 .435 .368 .803 141 4 11
1944 37 8.2 PHI NL Maj PHI 4 12 12 1 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 .083 .083 .167 .250 2 0 0 0 0
1945 38 17.3 Bradford PONY D PHI 107 466 334 82 104 20 6 13 82 9 121 43 .311 .504 .524 1.028 175 9 2
1946 39 16.0 Bradford PONY D PHI 73 274 182 46 49 11 1 4 36 5 87 33 .269 .515 .407 .921 74 5 0
1947 40 16.8 Schenectady CAML C PHI 30 96 70 15 18 4 0 2 12 0 24 10 .257 .453 .400 .853 28 1 1
1948 41 17.6 Schenectady CAML C PHI 12 31 20 6 7 1 0 1 5 1 11 2 .350 .581 .550 1.131 11 0 0
1949 42 18.9 Terre Haute IIIL B PHI
Year Age AgeDif Tm Lg Lev Aff G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS TB GDP HBP SH IBB
Majo Majo Majo Majo Majors 4 12 12 1 1 1 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 .083 .083 .167 .250 2 0 0 0 0
Mino Mino Mino Mino Minors 2265 8187 7695 335 2418 460 195 248 327 32 442 170 4012 31 19
All All All All 2269 8199 7707 336 2419 461 195 248 328 32 0 442 170 4014 31 19 0
AA ( AA ( AA ( AA ( Minors 116 309 309 82 12 5 7 .265 .405 125
A (1 A (1 A (1 A (1 Minors 1269 4664 4532 69 1399 284 120 131 70 2 117 54 .309 .511 2316 4 11
A1 ( A1 ( A1 ( A1 ( Minors 81 271 271 88 10 6 6 .325 .472 128
B (2 B (2 B (2 B (2 Minors 71 211 211 43 8 4 3 68
C (5 C (5 C (5 C (5 Minors 296 998 961 21 336 54 18 52 17 1 35 12 .350 .606 582 1 1
D (5 D (5 D (5 D (5 Minors 432 1734 1411 245 470 92 42 49 240 29 290 104 .333 .562 793 26 7
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 5/8/2022.

Lee Riley would ultimately die in 1970 at the age of 64, living long enough to see his son win stardom in the NCAA and begin his NBA career.

GLICK ON GAMING: Everything you need to know about Kirby and the Forgotten Land

In Glick on Gaming, Dan Glickman leaves baseball (mostly) behind to talk video gaming. This time: Kirby and the Forgotten Land for the Nintendo Switch. The following includes spoilers for that game.

There are some important things you need to know about the Kirby series.

  1. They are infamously easy. One of the design concepts of the series is that these are games that people of any experience can beat. The first video game I ever beat without any help was the original Kirby game for the Game Boy, and I’m sure I’m not the only one.
  2. They are also notoriously hard to master. To beat a Kirby game is easy, to get high scores or win in additional modes is harder.
  3. It is incredibly cute. Even in a company with Pokemon, Animal Crossing, and Mario, it is Kirby that reigns supreme in the cuteness department.
  4. It is incredibly dark. Okay, maybe not incredibly dark, but far darker than you’d expect. The last few games have had a hidden behind-the-scenes storyline about some sort of war between magic and science, there are dark gods and demons about, and on at least two occasions it’s been implied that humanity has been wiped off the face of the Earth.

With those four facts in mind, I want to share the one thing you need to know about his latest game, Kirby and the Forgotten Land:

THE MAIN CAMPAIGN ENDS WITH KIRBY POSSESSING A SEMI-TRUCK TO DEFEAT A ELF-ANGEL-GOD-THING BY RUNNING INTO IT, CRASHING THROUGH PIECES OF PLANETARY DEBRIS WHILE DOING SO.

So remember, kids: if a elf-angel-god-thing attacks you, just run over it with a truck.

Thank you.

The grievous error made in Pixar’s “Turning Red”

(The following is tongue-in-cheek.)

So, I saw Turning Red a few days ago. A good film. Probably not the top tier of Pixar, but it’s up there.

However, there is a horrible and grievous error made by the filmmakers. One that is inexcusable to someone who writes a baseball blog:

A major plot point is that there is a gigantic boy band concert scheduled at the Skydome for the night of May 25, 2002. We’re talking an all-out production with giant posters of the band members, special spotlights flashing the band logo in the sky, and the appropriate level of pyrotechnics and stage set-up for a big concert.

However, there is a major issue: The Blue Jays had a game there that day. So, Pixar is asking us to believe that the Blue Jays lost to Cleveland 3-0 in just over two-and-a-half hours, and then they put up all of the boy band stuff, from the giant posters to the elaborate stagecraft and presumably countless other logistical things?

Yeah, right. I can believe a teenage Chinese-Canadian girl can turn into a red panda as a metaphor for entering puberty, but this? This goes too far. This breaks the suspension of disbelief.

And it can’t be considered just some oversight. This is Pixar. They go insanely into detail in their research for their movies. The Incredibles referenced the quantum mechanical concept of zero-point energy to explain one of the villain’s devices. They consult psychologists for films regularly. One of the filmmakers of Finding Nemo outright admits in the audio commentary that they briefly included a lobster that isn’t native to Australia in the film simply so that someone could use a Boston accent, but that they made sure every other species featured was authentic.

They’ve done all of that in the past, but nobody working on Domee Shi’s (literal) period piece couldn’t check to see what the Blue Jays schedule that year was? I mean, they get so much

For shame, Pixar. For shame.

(I actually believe the real reason for this is that in the movie another important plot point requires there to be a red moon, which only occurs naturally during times of lunar eclipse. The only lunar eclipses in the Northern Hemisphere in 2002 were in late May and late November, and the weather in Toronto in November would likely have required the Skydome roof to be closed for the climax of the film, which would have ruined some of the visuals of the film’s final act. Setting the film in a different year would have likely required other changes that may have ruined Domee Shi’s use of the film as a metaphor for her own childhood in Toronto, so they went with what they went with. It should also be noted that the May eclipse wasn’t visible in Toronto, so they similarly fudged that a bit for dramatic purposes as well. I’d love to hear if I’m right about this so on the long-shot chance that you work for Pixar, let me know.)

Bizarre Baseball Culture 2.0: Action Comics #50 has Superman being a Superjerk

In Bizarre Baseball Culture 2.0, I take an updated look at some of the more unusual places that I previously covered where baseball has reared its head in pop culture and fiction. In the process, I clean up some mistakes of mine and add some more perspective.

NOTE: The original form of this post ran here. It has some grammatical mistakes and out-of-date information that has been corrected in this post, but remains up for posterity. In addition, I have taken time to replace most of the pictures in this post with better digital copies.

Superman. Contrary to popular belief, he was not the first superhero, but he was the first to truly make an impact. First appearing in Action Comics #1, he has influenced every superhero since. While it has been awhile since he was the most popular hero, his influence is felt to this day across the world.

Today, we are focusing on the past with Action Comics #50, way back in July, 1942. I read it initially in The Superman Chronicles Volume Nine, which I got from my local library. In the original posting of this installment, the scans were from that. This time, however, I have updated most of the photos with screenshots from this issue on DC’s DC Universe Infinite service. The only exceptions are the ones linked to in the text (since they usually are so small in scale that it doesn’t make that much of a difference). All scans and screenshots are for educational or demonstration purposes only and are being used under the fair use doctrine. Also, I’d like to note that Michael Clair has also covered this story, so check that out too.

Anyway, go below the jump:

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Bizarre Baseball Culture 2.0: Spider-Man, Uncle Ben, and the Mets

In Bizarre Baseball Culture 2.0, I take an updated look at some of the more unusual places that I previously covered where baseball has reared its head in pop culture and fiction. In the process, I clean up some mistakes of mine and add some more perspective.

Note: The original version of this post can be found here. It has some mistakes and out-of-date information that has been corrected in this post, but remains up for posterity.

As the latest Spider-Man film continues to break records, there is perhaps no better way to start up Bizarre Baseball Culture 2.0 than by renovating one of my old posts about the web-slinger. Now, ole’ Web-Head is no stranger to Bizarre Baseball Culture, having had shown up on several occasions (including fighting Doctor Doom alongside Billy the Marlin), but those were generally promotional comics that happened to feature Spider-Man. Peter Parker Spider-Man (Volume 2) #33, by contrast, is canon. It happened in the main Marvel Universe and presumably could be referenced by any writer working in those stories today. This issue from 2001 is about Peter Parker’s relation with his late Uncle Ben, and how baseball was a bond between them.

Now, before we begin, I’d like to write a bit about Spider-Man in general. What made the Marvel characters different when they first started appearing in the 1960s was that they were, in general, more relatable and flawed than the DC counterparts and the Marvel superheroes that had been created in the 30s and 40s. The Fantastic Four was often bickering with each other (like an family does), the X-Men were shunned by most of society (Stan Lee has said that being a mutant is basically meant to be a stand-in for being a minority), the Hulk was shunned by basically all of society… and Spider-Man, for lack of a better term, was a loser.

Okay, maybe not a loser, but definitely the closest thing there had been up to that point: an unpopular kid with no parents, only one family member of any sort (Aunt May) and little money. To make matters worse, when supervillains weren’t coming after him, the press and/or the police were. If things could go wrong for Peter Parker, they probably have. Parents? Dead. Uncle? Dead. Aunt? Perpetually sick. First true love (Gwen Stacy)? Murdered (and, amazingly, never came back to life). Second true love (Mary Jane)? Marriage magically annulled in a story far too stupid to talk about. At one point in the not-that-distant past poor Peter Parker evensaw his body body-snatched by Doctor Ocopus while he was forced to die in “Doc Ock’s” cancer-ridden body (don’t worry, he got better). But all of this pales in comparison to the greatest, most horrible fate to ever fall upon Spider-Man:

Being a fan of the New York Mets.

(JUMP)

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GLICK ON GAMING: Screw you, Kraid! (Metroid Dread)

Glick on Gaming

In Glick on Gaming, Dan Glickman leaves baseball (mostly) behind to talk video gaming. This time: Metroid Dread for the Nintendo Switch.

I had spent parts of the last few weeks becoming increasingly frustrated about a stupid giant three-eyed space reptile that throws giant claw-shaped fingernails and spits rock. Its name: Kraid. Its location: Cataris sector.

Its crime: BEING GODDAMN NEAR IMPOSSIBLE TO KILL DESPITE COUNTLESS ATTEMPTS!

(More after jump)

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