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.

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.

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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Introducing “Glick on Gaming”

Back on the 4th of July, I said that that I wanted to start doing some non-baseball stuff on here as well.

This new feature, Glick on Gaming, is one such feature.

As the name suggests, it is about gaming. Video gaming, to be more precise. It’ll be an irregular feature with no real schedule, basically coming along whenever I finish a video game or want to talk about it. The form it will take will also be highly variable: sometimes it could just be a few short lines, other times it may be a long essay, review, or rumination.

Among the games you can expect to see covered in the opening parts of the feature are Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword, Kingdom Hearts, and Red Dead Redemption II.

So keep an eye out!

Happy Birthday, Pablo Sanchez

Today, August 18, is an important day, as it is the birthday of the greatest baseball player of all time: Pablo Sanchez. Yes, Pablo Sanchez. The Secret Weapon. You remember him, from back in the day, that Mexican-American wonder-kid who couldn’t speak a lick of English (or so he claimed), but could speak the language of baseball like nobody else. He could throw a no-hitter (although pitching wasn’t his main strength), hit the ball 723 feet, and was also a great multi-sport athlete who also played soccer, hockey, football and basketball.

To this day, it is said, if you find a sandlot, close your eyes, and think of him, you can still hear his song drift through the wind, reminding us all of the legend.

Feliz cumpleaños, Pablo. We know you continue to fight the good fight.

 

(Oh, and I guess I should take the time to wish a happy birthday to my sister as well.)

REVIEW: Strat-O-Matic Baseball Daily a great idea with room for improvement

The Baseball Continuum is on vacation, but here’s a bit to help hold you over.

The idea behind Strat-O-Matic Baseball Daily is simple: it’s a computer simulation of the famed Strat-O-Matic tabletop game, but the cards change day-by-day to reflect what’s going on in the real world. For example, if a player is on a hot streak, his card will change to make it more likely (for example) that he will hit a home run and less likely that he will strike out. Similarly, if the team’s ace has been getting shelled, his card will be changed to increase the odds that he’ll be having a bad day.

It’s a good idea, and it definitely has some good points and will no doubt get better in the future, but as it stands right now, it is not as good as it could be. The main reason for this lies in the interface and ease of use- it just isn’t quite up to the standards of the current generations of other baseball simulators that exist right now like Out Of The Park Baseball.

For one thing, it takes awhile to set up. You need to get online to download everything, which isn’t a problem, but you the thing is that everything is separate from each other. There’s the main game, but the Baseball Daily portion is separate from that. And other parts are also separate. There are a lot of games that do similar things to this these days, but it just felt clunky for some reason here. Perhaps it is all in the presentation.

For another, the controls and menus in the game feel like they are 10 to 20 years out of date. Again, it’s hard to really describe this, it’s more a case of feel, but compared to other games in the genre it feels like you need to click through more screens, fiddle with more settings, and the like.

However… once you do get it up and running to your satisfaction, it does exactly what it goes out to do and changes the roster day by day as you move forward and does the same with the player cards. Oh, yes, I’ve seen some complaints on their message boards and elsewhere that sometimes the updates aren’t correct, but for the most part, it definitely changes correctly. Players enter and exit your roster during the season as they did in the real world, and their cards also change accordingly. If you want to see if you could do better in the season than your favorite team’s actual manager, this is where you can do it with the exact same rosters available to them.

And, really, how cool is that?

So, while I can’t suggest it to everyone right now, I can say to keep an eye on it in future years as the game no doubt is refined and improved further.

Note: I was provided a free copy of the game.

CONTINUUCAST 9 featuring @StaceGots, WBC News and a special BIZARRE BASEBALL CULTURE announcement!

The Baseball Continuum Continuucast’s ninth episode with special guest Stacey Gostulias (and her cat)! Hit play above, download by right-clicking here, follow the RSS feed here or follow on iTunes here or Stitcher here (if the latest episode isn’t up yet, it will be shortly).

The 9th Continuucast, now able to fill a NL starting lineup!

 

First, Dan talks to Stacey Gotsulias (and her cat) about the Yankees, New Yankee Stadium, the super-expensive seats in said stadium, the possibility that baseball may one day have ads on uniforms, baseball’s attempts at broadening it’s fanbase, and more. Big thanks to Stacey, who can be followed on Twitter at @StaceGots!

 

Next, Dan give his opinions on Jim Leyland being hired for Team USA in 2017.

 

Finally, Dan previews the next Continuucast, and makes a special announcement about another area that the Baseball Continuum is expanding into! Fans of BIZARRE BASEBALL CULTURE will want to hear this!

 

Music/Sounds Featured:

 

“The National Game” by John Phillip Sousa

 

“Here Come The Yankees”

 

The World Baseball Classic Theme

 

“Flight of the Bumblebee” (AKA The Green Hornet Theme) by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov performed by the US Army Band (special “Bizarre Baseball Culture” remix by Dan Glickman featuring the Pablo Sanchez Theme and clips from previous and future Bizarre Baseball Culture pieces)

 

The Theme from Fallout 4

 

All sound and music used is either public domain or is a short snippet that falls under fair use.

 

OOTP Baseball 2017 Review

Note: I was provided a early review copy of the game.

First, let’s cut to the chase: Out of the Park Baseball is back in it’s 2017-titled installment, and it has maintained it’s strengths, improved in it’s weaker areas, licenses from both MLB and the MLBPA, and more data and options than ever. If you are wondering if it’s worth getting now over previous versions, the answer is: yes, yes it is. And if you are wondering if it’s a good OOTP to start with, I say: yes, yes it is. It’s not perfect, but nothing is.

Now, this review mostly focuses on what’s new. What I said in my three previous reviews still, for the most part, holds up.

But, man, what is added is substantial. Previous years may have added a bit here and there, or introduced features that, while good in theory, were somewhat unfinished in practice. And while that “never finished” feeling still is in effect in some areas of OOTP 17, this year’s installment is one of the most polished leap forwards in the series.

Take, for example, the 3D view. In previous years, the 3D view was sometimes more trouble than it was worth, and sometimes would wonk up the system. But now…

Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 11.39.23 AMAs you can see, you can now see little peg-people representing the players. And they will move to represent the plays that happen. For example, if a batter walks, you’ll see their little peg move down to first, and if there’s a ball hit to left, you’ll see a little ball go to left and see the left-fielder chase it down. It’s not exactly high-technology, but it gets the point across. Even better, it doesn’t seem to affect how smoothly the game runs, although of course that will depend a bit on your computer. I love this, it adds a bit of “as it’s happening” flare to games that wasn’t there before, and turns what to me was something of a boondoggle way of viewing the field into something I’ll probably use regularly.

Also in that picture, you can see a bit of another great new feature: historical exhibition play! I covered this a bit during one of my “30 Teams, 30 Posts” installments, but I’ll cover it again a bit here. Basically, you can have any MLB team in history play any other MLB team in history. You could do this before, but it was very time-intensive. Now, it’s as simple as selecting a team and choosing your wanted setting and/or rosters. It’s both a good way to see interesting match-ups and also a good introduction to OOTP for people who haven’t played it before and don’t want to jump straight into the longer modes.

That doesn’t mean that the longer modes haven’t received updates. They have. In addition to the usual upgrading of rosters to their current state, is also the addition of historical minor leagues! Want to see what might have happened if Michael Jordan had continued his baseball career? You can!

Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 10.06.07 PMWhile those are the big changes, there are also some small changes that, together, add a lot. For example, there are now computer-written recaps for games you play and/or simulate. Is it something that completely changes the game? No. But they are nice to have.

Really, if I have any issues with this year’s installment, it’s how the Steam version of it only supports the workshop for mods. In previous years, you could use a in-game system to download new logos and rosters from the internet easily, this time it only can connect to the Steam Workshop. While OOTP Developments has said that most if not all mods will eventually come to the Workshop, right now only two are there, meaning to get some mods you have to go poking around the internet for the files and install them manually. Annoying, but not a deal-breaker by any means. Hopefully it improves soon, though, as OOTP and Steam’s Workshop would seem to be made for each other.

But, really, other than that and maybe the occasional bug that will always rear up in a game of this scale and complexity, Out of the Park Baseball 2017 is quite possibly the greatest baseball simulator of all time. At least… until next year, when those mad geniuses will probably top it again!

 

 

 

BREAKING OOTP Ep. 7: Schlafly’s Royals (Also “30 Teams, 30 Posts” for the Royals)

In BREAKING OOTP, I push Out Of The Park Baseball to it’s limits in various scenarios. Some will answer questions, some will settle scores, and some will push Out Of The Park Baseball to it’s very limits, to see if I can literally cause the game engine to beg for mercy.

In 30 Teams, 30 Posts, I write a post (of varying amounts of seriousness) about every MLB team in some way in the lead-up to the beginning of the 2016 season. Earlier installments can be found here. This also fulfills the Royals part of that.

This will be a controversial entry in BREAKING OOTP. It’s going to be a bit political. You see, not too long ago, a woman named Phyllis Schlafly had an opinion on baseball. There’s nothing wrong with that. People have opinions about baseball all of the time. Some of them are even insightful.

Her opinion, however, was hateful, ignorant and wrong. She believes that MLB should KICK OUT ALL OF THE FOREIGNERS. In fact, she openly says “It is time to cut off visas for foreign baseball players, and return our National Pastime to Americans.

This, needless to say, is a bigoted and xenophobic view of baseball, and anyone who honestly believes it should be rightly sent to the dustpan of history. However, it’s also objectively wrong and ignorant. Even if she was right that Americans have a god-given privilege to have every baseball job in America (AND SHE IS MOST DEFINITELY NOT RIGHT), her arguments for the superiority of American MLB players are so paper-thin you could poke holes in them with a baby’s finger. For example, she uses the claim that the vast majority of Hall of Famers are American to “prove” that foreign players are inferior, utterly ignoring the fact that the vast majority of Hall of Famers came from an era before baseball became the diverse multi-national pool of players it is now. She also uses as “evidence” the fact that only Americans won the big awards in 2015, ignoring the fact that that was an aberration and that plenty of people from outside the United States have won those awards in the past.

So, to prove this bigoted old lady just how wrong she is, I’m going to show just how out-of-their-league a team made up entirely of American white guys would be in modern-day baseball. But who?

Now, she seems to think (according to her actual article, which I’m not linking to because I don’t want to give her the pleasure of the hits) the 1944 Cardinals were the pinnacle of baseball. Never mind that 1944’s Cardinals weren’t even the pinnacle of white American baseball, given most of the stars were off fighting WWII. Still, the 1944 Cardinals did win the World Series, so to produce her vision, I figure it would be a good idea to do it to the most recent MLB champions, the Kansas City Royals. It’s obviously not a one-to-one correlation, but it’ll do. Go below the jump for more:

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