Best of 2015- Bizarre Baseball Culture: Fallout 4’s surprisingly-high level of Baseball

Originally published November 24, 2015.

In Bizarre Baseball Culture, I take a look at some of the more unusual places where baseball has reared it’s head in pop culture and fiction.

(Note: The following contains spoilers for Fallout 4. Click on each picture to make it larger if you are having trouble reading text or seeing something.)

It is October 23, 2077. The world is at war, and fear of nuclear annihilation is high. However, for you, it is just another day in a Boston suburb with your spouse and your young son. And, obviously, your son, Shaun, is a baseball fan in the making, as you can see a small glove and ball that you can comment on:

ShaunGlove

shaunball

As you receive your coffee and paper from your robotic butler, Codsworth, you hear something in the corner of your living room. On a black-and-white TV, a newsman with the voice of Ron Perlman (who has a role in every Fallout game, usually as a narrator of some kind) updates you on the day’s events and weather before going to sports:

perlman1

perlman2

perlman3

Yes, it’s World Series time in Boston, as the Red Sox are looking to win their first title in over a century and a half!

You are then interrupted by a salesman selling a spot in a underground fallout shelter, called a Vault. After that’s done, you go check on your son and talk to your wife. She thinks maybe everyone should go for a walk in the park this afternoon. Pffft, you say:

misstheworldseries

Of course, you do end up missing the World Series. After this conversation, you get news that atomic missiles are incoming. You rush to the nearest vault. Stuff happens, and you wake up 210 years later with your wife gone and your son missing.

(More below the jump!)

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Best of 2015- Yes, there are some long-dead white guys who still belong in the Hall of Fame

Originally published December 7, 2015.

Today, the Veteran’s Committee once again failed to induct anybody. This year, it was the “Pre-Integration Era” panel doing the voting. That in itself is a bit of a problem, as (despite the name) it only focuses on the white portion of the pre-integration days, under the logic that Sol White and other deadball-era Negro Leaguers went in during a special election. This, along with the fact that these guys are long, long dead, have made some people call for the end of this “era” in the Hall of Fame voting.

I can definitely see the reasoning, and it definitely needs to be changed, but the idea that everyone from the ancient days of baseball who is worthy is in the Hall of Fame is flawed. Yes, 95% of fans would have no idea who they are, but that isn’t a reason not to include them.

For example:

  • Doc Adams helped make baseball as we know it…. baseball as we know it. He even created the position of shortstop. Him not being in the Hall of Fame is sad, a result of not having good publicists like Alexander Cartwright had and more research coming into focus over the years after the time where there would have been people who remembered him.
  • Bill Dahlen had a 42-game hit streak, was among the leaders in most offensive categories at his retirement, and was one of the better defensive shortstops of his day.
  • Wes Ferrell, one of the few players on the Pre-Integration Ballot who was entirely in the 20th century, has one of the best JAWS scores by pitchers not in the Hall of Fame, and also has the record for most HRs by a pitcher in a career (non-Babe Ruth category, obviously).
  • Harry Stovey was one of the few players of the 19th century who could be called a power-hitter, hitting 122 career HRs, becoming the first player in history to have 100, and at one point holding the single-season HR mark (with 14).
  • And, finally, there’s Pete Browning. Pete Browning is like my pet overlooked 19th-century ballplayer. Browning’s career .341 batting average is 13th overall, and was one of the greatest hitters of the American Association and the short-lived Players League. Also, he is indirectly responsible for the creation of the Louisville Slugger, as he went to Hillerich and Bradsby for custom-made bats after one of Hillerich’s bats helped him break out of a hitting slump in 1884. Browning, amazingly, didn’t even appear in the latest VC ballot. This- and the fact he isn’t in already- probably came about because his best years came in the American Association and Player’s League, not the National League, and history, as they say, is written by the victors.

 

So, I say get those guys in… and then drastically change how this is done:

  • Make it open to Negro Leaguers as well. Yes, the 2006 inductions did a great job bringing in some of the older Negro League greats from before integration, but there is no reason why they shouldn’t still be considered.
  • Make this committee a less-common occurrence. Have it every six years, instead of every three years. Allow the “Golden Era” and “Expansion Era” votes be more common to make up for the difference.
  • Either make the committee entirely made up of just experts of the era, or have a slightly lower threshold for election.

So, yeah, that’s what I think.

BEST OF 2015: BIZARRE BASEBALL CULTURE- The Time That Bullseye had a 2-issue Baseball Miniseries

Originally published May 16, 2015.
In Bizarre Baseball Culture, I take a look at some of the more unusual places where baseball has reared it’s head in pop culture and fiction.

One of the things you realize when you think about superhero fiction too hard is that a lot of the criminals could probably become rich using their technology or skills in more legal pursuits. For example, find the right quiz show for the Riddler, and he’s rolling in dough. Captain Cold or Mister Freeze could easily make a mint if they applied their freeze-weapons toward something like refrigeration. Heck, even the people who write the comics know this, and in the 1980s they turned Lex Luthor from a supergenius with lots of high-tech inventions into a corrupt supergenius billionaire superexecutive who had made his money from his many high-tech inventions.

Which leads me to Bullseye. Bullseye’s a Daredevil villain, created by Marv Wolfman and John Romita Sr. in the 1976 and perfected by Frank Miller in his run on Daredevil’s comic book. Bullseye’s entire shtick is that he basically has perfect killer accuracy with basically everything, even harmless stuff like playing cards. He’s arguably Daredevil’s second-greatest foe (after the Kingpin), and is directly or indirectly responsible for the death of at least two of Daredevil’s girlfriends (only one of whom got better).

But, still, that shtick with the accuracy, wouldn’t you think he could make a great pitcher?

Well, there was a 2-part miniseries at the turn of this decade that basically grabbed a hold of that idea and ran with it… Bullseye: Perfect Game.

It’s a surprisingly good short look at obsession and perfection, with some nice easter eggs for fans of baseball and of comics and a great ending that I’m sort of bummed out I’ll spoil in my summary…. BELOW THE JUMP:

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Best of 2015- “Deep Dream” turns baseball images into nightmares

Originally published July 17, 2015.

Hey kids, it’s Hunter Pence!

Good old Hunter Pence, sticking his tongue out and diving for the ball…. now, let’s have Google’s Deep Dream take a look at Hunter Pence! It’s meant to show how a computer looks at things looking for images and such. So, what does it see with Hunter Pence?

73de0cc0-009f-41a1-b44d-4d2d3856baf7AHHHHHHHH!

wally_laying_down_1024x768Oh, Wally. You scared me there. I was worried for a second…

8944e81b-570c-4e4b-969a-99ca298e0725AHHHHHH! PLEASE GOD GET IT AWAY FROM ME, AHHHHH!

AP_arod_alex_rodriguez_tk_130805_16x9_992Oh. Alex Rodriguez, you don’t look nearly as demonic in person as some people on the internet say…

abfe74ee-00a9-4efc-8090-d8977989a9d9I TAKE IT ALL BACK, PLEASE DON’T EAT MY SOUL!

2213852Huh, a Dodger Dog and some beer. There are worse things, I suppose…

6901315e-5cb8-40b1-92fc-a3e51ad9ab3fNOOOO DEAR GOD, IT’S BECOME LIKE A HORSE-FISH-DOG-CTHULHU THING! OH, THE HUMANITY!

MrMetOh no…

6b4972dc-3704-4111-b4dd-646b607df3c8Nonononononononononono

8e903468-e4bd-43a1-8f7b-5fe8564aac6bOhgodohgodohgodohgod…

71955ed4-6ff4-4f76-ae9e-0d317d028689WHYWHYWHYWHYWHY

ac04c43f-60c1-402a-bafc-633b8429a4d8YOU MADE THE HOME RUN SCULPTURE WEIRDER?!?! HOW DO YOU EVEN DO THAT!?!?!

2af8eb9f-0cc3-4984-bf18-170e4346a1d6THAT’S SUPPOSED TO BE A BASEBALL GLOVE NOT A MANY-EYED MONSTER BEYOND MAN’S COMPREHENSION! I’M OUT OF HERE BEFORE I LOSE MY SANITY!

Oh, but the Art-Deco functions and stuff are cool:

41b181df-63ff-4b87-a5a8-c3622689786eCome back this weekend for Bizarre Baseball Culture, and until then experiment with the Deep Dream stuff over at Dreamscope.

Best of 2015- How many sports has Mario played?

Originally published on September 12, 2015.

The question of who the greatest video game athlete of all time is a hard one. Many go with Bo Jackson, with good reason. Still others (such as the Cespedes BBQ duo) wisely go with the Secret Weapon himself, Pablo Sanchez. But for sheer variety, none can defeat Mario, the most versatile athlete in video game history, who, by coincidence, celebrates the 30th anniversary of the release of Super Mario Brothers today!

And today, to honor National Video Games Day, which I just found out exists like ten minutes ago on Twitter, I’m running down every single sport Mario has ever played.

(Go below the jump for more)

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