The Dord of Darien

Musings from the Mayor of the Internet

Nitpicking at Mass Effect 2: Arrival

I gave you the brief summary of the new Mass Effect 2 DLC yesterday, and today I’m going to complain about it in depth. This post is going to be very spoiler-heavy, so I’d advise not reading it you care about things like that. For the benefit of those who do, I’ll hide the rest of the content after the jump.

Read the rest of this entry »

March 31st, 2011 Posted by | Games | no comments

Is it that time already?

Opening day tomorrow! Seems like it came quick this year; I must have been busy. Not so busy, though, that I forgot my traditional rubbish predictions! I’m going to keep them short and sweet this year, since I’m still rehabbing my gimp hand; I’ll just go division by division, list the order it’ll end up in, and then make pithy remarks for the group.

AL East
Boston Red Sox
New York Yankees
Tampa Bay Rays
Toronto Blue Jays
Baltimore Orioles

I’m making the conventional prediction here. The Red Sox really look unstoppable this year, and I have serious concerns about New York’s pitching. I think Tampa will be back in the thick of things probably as soon as next season, but they’ll drop back a bit this year to regroup and get the next crop of awesome rookies ready to go. Jose Bautista ain’t gonna hit 54 home runs again this year, and without that, Toronto has no hitting. Baltimore should be more interesting this year, at least, since they’ve added a ton of offense, but they still don’t even have one pitcher who would crack AA in any other organisation.

AL Central
Minnesota Twins
Detroit Tigers
Chicago White Sox
Kansas City Royals
Cleveland Indians

Everyone likes to call this division for the Hose this year, but I’m not buying. I don’t think Jake Peavy will throw even a hundred innings, and it’s not clear to me he’ll be any good anyhow. No, Minnesota’s still the class of the division, especially with a healthy Justin Morneau. In fact, I even like Detroit better than Chicago, though not by much. The bottom of the division should be a swamp this year, as usual, and I can’t think of any reason to watch either of them now that Zack’s gone.

AL West
Texas Rangers
Oakland Athletics
Seattle Mariners
Los Angeles Angels

I’ll make a less-bold prediction for the Mariners than I did last year. Frankly, I do think they’re better than the Angels; I don’t buy for a second that we saw this team’s true talent in 2010, and I think there will be a pretty big rebound. Meanwhile, the Angels are so desperate for any kind of talent that they signed Vernon Wells and ate his whole contract! Unfortunately, they also gave away Mike Napoli in the deal, and he was one of the few bright spots on the roster. The A’s are a team I have a hell of a time getting a read on; I don’t see anything that makes me think they’ll be particularly good, so I’m going to throw my hands up and call it a .500 season. The Rangers should walk away with this one, though it’s pretty funny to me that they’re overloaded with expensive third basemen and the one team that would gladly take one off their hands is in the same division and has, seriously, exactly one prospect.

NL East
Atlanta Braves
Philadelphia Phillies
New York Mets
Florida Marlins
Washington Nationals

I am going to take some heat for this one, but I am not calling the East for the Philadelphia HalladayOswaltLeeHamelses. That’s a great rotation — assuming Hamels bounces back, Lee stays healthy, and the three of them who are on the wrong side of my own age don’t start to fade — but it’s fronting a weak bullpen and a downright poor lineup, especially with Utley out. I think Atlanta’s stronger, frankly, assuming that one or two of them can actually stay off the DL. The Mets aren’t exactly going to be good, but I think they’ll start bouncing back this season; they can’t all stay injured forever, can they? The Marlins are going to be hurting for lack of Dan Ugly, and I think Josh Johnson will not pitch quite so far out of his mind this year. The Nationals made some big moves this offseason, which was weird, but mainly they did that to replace their previous, now-departed big moves. I vote unchanged.

NL Central
Milwaukee Brewers
Cincinnati Reds
Ft. Louis Fatinals
Chicago Cubs
Pittsburgh Pirates
Houston Astros

The Astros have no players left. They got rid of them all. It’s official: 0-162. Of the rest of the field, the Brewers are looking pretty sexy, what with their allegedly-vegetarian fatty first baseman and their crazy insane starter and all that. Joey Votto won’t hit it like He-Man this year, and the Reds’ arms will probably continue to decay under the strain of their asshole manager. The Fatinals will be missing their best pitcher all year long, which is funny, and their other good pitcher is notoriously fragile. The Cubs are awful. The Pirates are awful++. The end.

NL West
Colorado Rockies
San Fransisco Giants
Los Angeles Dodgers
San Diego Padres
Arizona Diamondbacks

If the Rockies manage to get their heads out of their asses long enough to play any baseball this year, they’re still a pretty damn good team. And the Giants still can’t hit a lick; I predict that Aubrey Huff fades hard this year. Also fading hard this year: the San Diego Dads, who I did not believe in in 2010 and do not believe in in 2011 either. The Dodgers should be fair-to-middling, since they still have a few great players and a bunch of junk (though expect at least Broxton to be bait at the deadline unless the division’s unexpectedly vulnerable). The Diamondbacks just announced that Armando Galarraga made the rotation! Maybe he’ll throw another perfect game! Then the Diamondbacks can go 1-161 and edge out the Astros!

March 30th, 2011 Posted by | Baseball | no comments

I’ll avoid making the same pun everybody else made

The new Mass Effect 2 "Arrival" DLC is out. Somehow — and I think it might be a bug — BioWare actually managed to post the installer this time, instead of the old tactic of just posting an announcement and forgetting about the content. In another shocking turn of events, they’ll now permit you to buy their bullshit "BioWare points" in multiples of how much the damn DLC costs. I guess somebody somewhere in the EA brain trust finally clued to the fact that selling points in multiples of 400 and pricing all the DLC at 560 points is pretty obnoxious.

The game itself is pretty intense. By which I mean the cutscenes the game’s wrapped around are pretty intense. Without spoiling anything, the big climactic moment is a bit difficult to take (though the surprise twist is so obvious you’ll probably have it figured out before the thing’s done installing). The only complaint I have about the game from a lorelol perspective is that, much like Shadow Broker, it’s rather uninteractive — there are almost no points where you actually get to make any choices, and the great big decision is auto-piloted by the game, which is kind of a huge ripoff; if they’d made it more player-triggered, the ending would be amazing. As it stands, the ending seems more like a choreographed conclusion to a sequence of events we really didn’t have any control over. It’s still pretty great, though.

The game parts are pretty good, but they have their annoyances. It’s structured as one long mission, just like Shadow Broker was, but Shepard has to fly solo the whole time. This was a bit tough for me, since I’m an infiltrator, and I’m built as a total support gun — I’m in a lot of trouble if I don’t have somebody else to draw fire while I line up my shots, or to coax mobs out of cover for me. And the game is very dependent on seige-type set pieces, where Shepard has to defend a location for a certain length of time.

The first part of the mission is pretty neat, since you have the option to play it like a normal Mass Effect 2 mission and just run and gun, but you also have a stealth option — it’s possible to reach your mission objective without aggroing a single humanoid mob (though there are a few dogs you have to fight), and you get a HACHIEVE for doing it that way to boot. So that’s pretty neat. It’s not an aesthetic that’s followed for the entire expansion, though; all the later areas are more standard get-cover-and-then-shots-mans action. The last one, by the way — just throwing this out there — goes on way too long while you wander through identical corridors fighting identical pulls.

Overall, probably worth your $7.44 if you liked Mass Effect 2. It’s short — only two hours or so — but it’s a lot of fun, and it really builds in to Mass Effect 3. Though it would be nice if they backed off from building their bridge just a hair so maybe we could interact with the world some. Or at least stop making Commander Shepard do completely boneheaded things.

March 30th, 2011 Posted by | Games | no comments



The Penitent Engine. This guy’s a beast. It’s what’s known as a "Dreadnought," basically a large walking tank. The classic version is the Space Marine Dreadnought, piloted by an honoured brother who is no longer physically able to fight on his own, so they seal him in a big, life-supporting walker tank so he can keep purging damn xenos. My version’s a little bit different.


Mine is piloted by a condemned heretic, imprisoned in this infernal machine as punishment for her sins. And she ain’t too damn happy about that, let me just tell you. So unhappy, in fact, that she has a compulsory move — I’m required to charge the thing right at the nearest enemy every single turn, so she can chop it up with saws and torch it with flamers.


Oh look, speaking of which. The nested geary things on the side were what gave me the idea to paint the thing in sort of a dark steampunk colour scheme, what with the contrasting bronze and silver sections. The traditional paint job is a lot more black. Far be it from me to talk shit about the ‘Eavy Metal crew, but I think my steampunk stylings look better.


Do you have any idea how many fiddly little purity seals this model has? It’s like twenty. And I had to paint those little squiggles on all of them.


The wing-y symbol and the block of text above it are transfers. The rest of it I painted — including that big red I that I think came out really well. The squiggles look kind of bad really up close like this, but they’re seriously tiny — there’s no possible way I could write actual words. And from a few inches away (or from table distance) you can’t tell them apart from actual writing anyhow.

March 28th, 2011 Posted by | Warhammer 40k | no comments

Have fun storming the castle


Inquisitorial Stormtroopers, bitches. They’re the dudes who will kick your ass if you try to fuck with my Inquisitorial Death Star. And what shadowy terror lurks in the back right corner of this picture? Answer next time!


This is the boss stormtrooper, complete with terrifying hellpistol and terrifying sword, and festooned with explosives to the point where you’re probably more likely to die if you shoot him than if he shoots you. There’s an Inquisition insignia emblazoned on his chest, but I didn’t paint that; that’s a transfer. The first transfer, in fact, that I’ve ever transferred to a blessed thing. Turns out it’s not as hard as it may seem, though they are pretty goddamn fiddly, and they dry to some type of Inquisitorial Gloss Finish that looks really weird applied to cloth. Bit of matte varnish will tamp that down, I’ll wager.


This is a regular stormtrooper looking every bit as much like a Nazi as he can manage. I’m getting better at macro photography! You see how everything’s properly in focus this time? Of course, in my excitement, I managed to invent a new way of making my pictures garbage, and I pulled the models out of the light. That’s why it looks like the thing I’m actually shooting is in shadow and everything behind it — out of focus — is in the light: because that’s exactly what I did. So I’ve pulled up the contrast in post-processing so’s you can see things.


The same guy, but — can you believe it? — I took a shot of the back, too. You can really see all the layering and shading I’ve done with these — except for the metal bits, I only used two colours of paint. True story.


This guy has a flamer. It’s for lighting bugs on fire. The smell — you know, that gasoline smell — smells like victory.


This guy has a grenade launcher. It’s for making bugs exploded. Near as I’ve been able to determine, it doesn’t smell like a single goddamn thing.

March 24th, 2011 Posted by | Warhammer 40k | no comments

March Madness

I’m going to level with you: baseball season hasn’t started yet. Sorry to come at you right out of the blue like that, but that’s the type of hard-hitting journalism we’re known for here at, world-famous armpit of the internet.

I’m going to assume that’s the reason, you know, for the absolute drivel pouring out of sportswriters right now. Seems like it was just the other day I was lambasting a pair of jackoffs for their looney-tunes conclusion that the only reason any team would release an expensive old replacement-level player with a notoriously sour attitude is racism (fun fact: after the Phillies picked Castillo off the heap, he blew off his first scheduled start). And today? Today we have fan favourite Jeff Passan, who says the Mets are doomed because — ah, but we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Don’t want to spoil the comedy reveal before the comedy reveal!

Mets’ problems go beyond Castillo, Perez

That’s true. Their rotation is still chock full of J. Niese and M. Pelfrey and things of that ilk. Which is what you’re going to talk about, I assume. Right, Jeff?

The New York Mets set their chum slick this week. Deep in their pocket, they always held Oliver Perez and Luis Castillo, and the notion that whacking either – or, as they chose, both – would cause embarrassed devotees to pop their heads out of the water and feast on long-decayed meat. And they did. This was no Irish wake.

Hoo boy, I’m in trouble already. This ain’t Finnegans Wake either, Jeff, so maybe now’d be a good time to start writing coherently.

Yet the joy in Perez and Castillo finally shedding Mets uniforms gave way to a truer reality, and one far harsher than the bad contracts, lackadaisical play and general apathy surrounding the franchise: The Wilpon family and Saul Katz still own the team.

Ohhhhhh burn! Megaburn. You’re right: they do. And they’ll continue to make dumb decisions and generally run their expensive team into the ground. That’s what you’re saying, right, Jeff? Right?

They just happen to be accused of profiting off the biggest financial fraud in the history of the modern world, which – considering all the con men, swindlers and crooks who have come to pass – is quite the achievement.

Wait… what? You’re not talking about baseball at all, are you, Jeff.

Oh lordy. Jeff’s on his soapbox again. Repent ye baseball mans lest ye be found wanting!

As much as the Wilpons try to distance the Mets from Bernie Madoff, their worlds bleed into one another more by the day.

And there it is, for all to see: the big problem with the Mets is that they didn’t get burned by Bernie Madoff. I swear to god sportswriters live in some alternate damn dimension. A dimension in which one can, with a straight face, describe Madoff’s swindle as "the biggest financial fraud in the history of the modern world" and somehow still think you’re writing a goddamn baseball article.

Bernie Madoff, unfunded liabilities: $65 billion
Social Security, unfunded liabilities: $17.9 trillion

On the press-release portion of the Mets’ website, sandwiched in between statements concerning the releases of Perez and Castillo, are two harshly worded attacks against their nemesis, Irving Picard, who is in charge of reclaiming money for victims of Madoff’s Ponzi scheme and is pursuing $1 billion from Katz and Fred Wilpon.

Some fucking vulture tries to extort a billion dollars out of me, he’ll be lucky if harsh words are all he gets.

The most recent is particularly captivating: a 12-bullet-point anthem of innocence in which they call Picard a liar without acknowledging him by name. He is, in their parlance, the Trustee, nebulous- and nefarious-sounding.

Hey Jeff, have you ever read like a legal document? Even the EULA you had to accept before you could use your MacBook Pro? That’s how they read. For complicated legal reasons that, much like your article, have nothing whatsoever to do with goddamn baseball.

Wilpon, Katz and their spinmeisters have it wrong: Picard, to the common man, is the hero, working on behalf of those fleeced, and his doggedness in chasing Mets ownership brands them forever.

No, Jeff, you have it wrong: the common man doesn’t give two shits about this. Picard is somebody with a comedy name who gave us another chuckle at the Mets’ expense and that’s about it, really. The "common" man in the real world — as opposed to the world that exists only inside your head and Das Kapital — doesn’t cheer for forced redistribution of wealth unless it’s being redistributed to him. Do you see?

They may well be innocent of what Picard alleges – that they knew, or should have known, about the Madoff scheme because of a longstanding personal relationship with him, and that they ignored warnings that something was amiss with the return on investment. That no longer matters.

You say this weird shit all the time, Jeff — so often that I’m beginning to think you really believe it, whereas before I was just assuming you weren’t reading it over to see what you’d just said.

Last year: "his case lends credence to a belief among some black baseball players that should frighten MLB: They’re treated differently. True or not, it doesn’t matter."

This year: "They may well be innocent of what Picard alleges… That no longer matters."

No, Jeff, no: whether or not they actually did the thing they’re accused of sure fucking does matter, you insane crazy person.

The fashion in which Wilpon and Katz continue to defend themselves – the public proclamations, the terse language, the sheer vehemence of it all – is terribly off-putting.

Well, I say! How positively uncouth. Really, chaps, perhaps ‘twould be more proper to defend yourselves a spot less vehemently, rather? Pip pip!

To see business owners so misjudge their audience is solar-eclipse-black humor.

Let’s ignore the nonsense-words at the end of that sentence and really get down, as they say, to the heart of the matter: business owners, contrary to your odd idea, do not have an "audience." Or, well, they do, but it’s pretty much just you and me, man. And I think it’s funny and you’ll take any chance you get to act like a giant hipster doofus and talk about shit like "the common man." Seriously, just say "proles" next time — you won’t seem any more faggy or obnoxious.

The actual Mets fans? They’ll come back as soon as the team starts winning games, no matter what the owners are accused of. Mark my words.

Even the rich Mets fans, for whom the team built Citi Field, can’t stand by this pyramid of incompetence.

What about that sentence of incompetence? Can they stand by it, Jeff? I need to know!

It’s one thing to alienate blue-collar supporters, as both the Mets and Yankees did with their new stadiums. At least the Yankees still win. will sell me Mets tickets right now for, like, $12. But, oh, those poor blue-collar workers who can’t afford that steep price! The tragedy of the common man! O blue-collar man, weepeth not thou neither pineth for yon New York Mets!

The Mets have stunk two years running; collapsed the two years prior; kept Omar Minaya as general manager too long; botched the firing of manager Willie Randolph; mishandled Jason Bay’s concussion; watched Perez, Castillo and Carlos Beltran skip a team visit to wounded veterans at Walter Reed Army Medical Center; spent minimally internationally, even less in the draft; and fostered an inconceivable amount of ill will considering their resources.

Yeah, but who cares about that? That’s just baseball stuff. Real fans only care about financial scandals the team owner is implicated in, and baseless accusations of racism.

Not so awful that it catches Bud Selig’s wrath, of course.

Fucking Bud. Why don’t you fix it?? Get on your baseball hotline to baseball NATO and start bombing baseball Libya. Then all evil everywhere will be vanquished!

Now MLB is vetting potential Mets investors – not majority, of course, because the accusations levied against Wilpon and Katz seem not to bother MLB nearly as much as McCourt’s, whose domestic toxicity spilled over into business.

Well, see, Jeff, what the Mets are dealing with is unproven accusations from a nutbar. The McCourts actually failed to pay the bills. Those are not at all the same thing, and your ham-fisted gloss isn’t fooling anybody. The problem facing the McCourts isn’t accusations of anything.

Never mind the hypocrisy in it all. MLB is a $7 billion industry. Wilpon is a Selig loyalist. And this is what fealty buys: a hall pass for intertwining the business Selig runs with Bernie Madoff.

Who was, at the time the Mets were doing business with him, not known to be running a ponzi scheme. Nice ex post facto moralising, Jeff, but it hasn’t been demonstrated that the Mets did anything wrong. Perhaps that has something to do with why they haven’t been punished for it!

Then there are like thirteen more paragraphs where he just says the same things over and over again. Unlike Jeff, my patience for endless repetition is limited, so, hey, welcome to the part of the article where I skip that! Let’s pick out the only thing about baseball he says in the entire rest of the piece.

GM Sandy Alderson, another Selig stalwart, will turn the franchise around if given the proper resources. After eating nearly $20 million in Perez and Castillo’s salaries, that is far from a given.

Whose decision was it to eat those salaries? Why, none other than GM Sandy Alderson’s! He’ll turn that shit around if only he stops denying himself all the resources. Which list apparently includes -0.1 WAR 2B and -1.5 WAR SP.

That’s really it for this article. Angst angst angst isn’t there some central authority somewhere that can banish all evil from the world angst angst. You know something? I’ve been critiquing bad sportswriting on the internet for thirty-four years next month, and the weird fantasy world sportswriters live in still amazes me. You’d think I’d be inured to this shit after so many teams-only-win-because-of-magic articles, but Jeff’s found a new stunner for me in his allegation that fans only watch because they believe in the spiritual purity of the team’s owner.

March 23rd, 2011 Posted by | Baseball | no comments

Priest pictures

I haven’t uploaded any 40k pictures in a long time. This is partly because I haven’t had any to show off; been a while since I’ve painted anything. But I’m back at it, and, as I promised on the Tweeter, here are some phat picz for you.

priest banner!

I took this picture from much too far away, but I really liked the way it turned out, so I used it anyhow. The man himself is front and centre, inspiring an army of half-finished Inquisitorial Stormtroopers to raid the paint-pot forest. Looking for witches, of course.

Church should be more like this

Closer-upper picture. This guy is mainly close-combat, what with his slightly-rusty sword there, though, if you look, you can see a laspistol tucked underneath the big goofy book. I painted the book that way to match a miniature Bible I bought to hang off the back of my Exorcist. Then I went and looked and it turns out my miniature Bible doesn’t look as much like that as I thought. No, that’s true.

priest banner!

You’ll be happy to hear I’m still an awful photographer, and I’m still too stupid to take pictures of both sides of the model. So here’s a different angle of the front, with slightly different lighting. I always thought this model looks rather a lot like angry John Lithgow. You know what? I still think that.

March 20th, 2011 Posted by | Warhammer 40k | no comments

Get it right, for fuck’s sake

Goddamn French can’t do anything right. First they make their big wall too damn narrow, and then they make their little game too damn wide. But I guess I should start at the beginning.

There’s this weird game called Winter Voices that I’ve been cocking an eye at for a while. It’s like some kind of funky episodic adventure game, which is ordinarily the sort of thing I’d completely ignore. But it looks astoundingly pretentious, and I’m kind of a sucker for things like that. So when they pooped put a demo, I figured I’d check it out.

It opens with a long pretentious cutscene with acceptable-quality voice acting that doesn’t quite agree with the subtitles, which is always good for a laugh. There are some watercolour pictures in the background while the dude’s intoning, and they don’t always agree with the dialogue either; "there are no roads within miles of the village" the voice booms, while the picture clearly shows a damn great road running right into the centre of town. Good times.

But I’m not here to complain about the cutscenes. You think I’m an amateur? It’s an adventure game, for Pete’s sake. No, I’m here to complain about how it don’t work right. See, I finish watching the cutscene, and it fails utterly to make the game seem non-boring, but that’s fine. I press the "New Game" button. What do I see?

This is what I see:

There's something wrong with thi

Great. The box spills off the edge of the screen. Good job, QA team. Well, it’s not such a big deal, right? It doesn’t say anything I need to know.

Be nice if I could read all of th

Wait, fuck. Initiated into the what? Will encounter in the where? This isn’t going well. I should go to the options menu and set the resolution correctly.

Oh, for fuck's sa

… Oh. It’s set correctly, and the game just doesn’t care. Seriously, QA team, wonderful job. I sure would like to know what that last option is. "Extended" what? Maybe it’s "Extended UI," and it pushes the left edge off the screen too. Maybe I’d check it to find out, except that the "no" button is unreachable so I wouldn’t be able to turn it back off.

So I’d like to thank the Winter Voices team for releasing a demo of their broken game, so I could discover that it’s impossible to interact with before parting with the princely sum of two United States dollars for the privilege.

Oh, I guess it was made in France or whatever. So those guys really need to get to grips with the concept of width.

March 20th, 2011 Posted by | Games | no comments

There’s no crying in baseball!

Unless you mean "crying" as in "crying racism." Of that, holy shit does baseball have more than its share.

The Mets cut Luis Castillo today, and Sandy Alderson boneheadedly — but I already said this is the Mets, right? — said that the fans’ dislike of him is part of the reason. Which started every lazy baseball journo’s "easy race-baiting angle" gyro a-copterin’.

In three full seasons with the Mets, Luis Castillo has done this: .270 / .366 / .315 / .691, 85 OPS+, 1.1 WAR, for which he has been paid $18.75 million (plus another $6M they owe him this year even though he won’t be playing). The Mets, as you may recall, collapsed horribly down the stretch in 2008 and haven’t sniffed .500 since. Why do you expect the fans wouldn’t like this guy?

I think it’s racism. Who’s with me?

Andy Martino of the New York Daily News asks if something beyond Castillo’s performance, along with his inability to get or stay healthy and a perceived bad attitude, fed into fans’ apparent dislike for him.

Does Castillo being black and from the Dominican Republic have anything to do with the amount of hate?

Welcome, Andy! No it does not. We’re finished here, right?

I mean, David Ortiz is black. I… think. And he’s from the Dominican Republic too. Do the fans hate him? I’m told (by everyone) that Boston is horribly racist, after all!

Martino credits Castillo for being "one of the toughest and most passionate Mets," yet says fans, like the ones who booed him opening day at Citi Field, saw something else.

Perhaps they saw his $25 million contract and his 85 OPS+. Oh, wait, Mets fans. Perhaps they saw his like fourteen RBIs or whatever, then.

Castillo wouldn’t bite on race after he was asked, but Martino quoted a friend of his:

Props to Castillo for this. No, I’m serious. It shows class to refuse to cry racism even when some dude’s actively baiting you.

Also nice that Castillo’s refusal to play along didn’t stop Martino, who asked his imaginary friend instead.

"Yeah, sometimes that is tough," the friend, a fellow Hispanic in baseball, said about Castillo’s experience.

I’m sure he meant to say "a fellow Hispanic in baseball who is totally a real person and I didn’t at all just make this shit up when Castillo wouldn’t say what I wanted to hear so shut up about that." Damn editors.

"But it’s harder to say that’s the main issue with Castillo, because he hasn’t performed. If you had that same mistreatment of a guy that was performing really well, then it would be more obvious."

Wow. Even the source you made up thinks your theory is bullshit. Maybe that’s a sign, Andy.

Jose Reyes and Angel Pagan have played well as Mets, and have not faced the same anger. People who root for a team value production, above all other qualities, and have unleashed negativity on many white players in the past.

Lies! Stop with your slanderous lies!

But are nonwhite players more vulnerable to being labeled lazy malcontents, and less likely to be called "gamers?" Must they work harder to receive credit for positive contributions to the team?

They don’t call you a "gamer" if you’re a lazy malcontent. They call you a "gamer" if you suck at baseball but sure do get your uniform dirty. And, I’m sorry, but Derek Jeter explodes your whole argument, since he — without at all trying — manages to receive credit for everybody’s positive contributions.

Now it’s time for David Brown to take the crazy train back into the depot:

Martino asks a fascinating question, one that is sure to be disliked about as much as Castillo was in New York.

Castillo hit .235/.337/.267 (a .267 slugging percentage!) in 2010. He was hitting .286 in 28 spring at-bats, but reportedly had played poorly in the field and was even called into new manager Terry Collins’ office and reprimanded for "sullen behavior," whatever that means.

Fascinating! I’m not sure if his dismissal is due to the overwhelming evidence that he was bad at his job and kind of an asshole, or this random allegation of racism a lazy sportswriter thought up because he had no better ideas and his deadline was coming up.

Also, "sullen behaviour" means "moping around like an asshole." You can look things like this up on the internet, Dave.

All of that alone gives fans enough to get upset about.

Yup. So what’s the point again?

Of course, if you ask fans who thoroughly disliked Castillo how much race and ethnicity had to do with it, hardly anyone would admit to being racist.

Yeah, I saw Life of Brian too. I know how this game is played.

So, does Martino’s question do anything other than stir the pot? Probably not.

But try to get your head around this anyway: If the Mets admit that the fans’ perception of Castillo had something to do with the team releasing him, and if you buy that some of the perception is racist in nature, does that make the Mets’ action racist?

Get your head around this: no.

The Mets don’t have some type of sacred charge to evaluate the real hidden motives of their fans before responding to their desires. That’s stupid. If the fans want the Mets to put a good team on the field, and the Mets do, but some of the fans only wanted the Mets to win because they’d bet on the games, does that mean the Mets were betting on baseball? Use your head, Dave. If the fans want OBP up on the scoreboard, but only to make fun of Jeff Francoeur, and the Mets do it, should we think the Mets are making fun of Jeff Francoeur?

Wait, forget that last one.

March 18th, 2011 Posted by | Baseball | no comments


My nigga Joe Posnanski has a column up ostensibly about George Brett that sort of wanders into a general musing on offense and then back again. It’s a good article, and I’m all for fun with numbers lord knows, but there’s one little thing.

JoePo (take that, CarGo boosters!) tells us that the Royals’ batters checked in at 8.9 WAR for the 1985 season. This stat is two things: ridiculously, crazy low for a team that (by the way) won the World Series, and also 100% undeniably correct. You can see for yourself here. He then tells us that George Brett accounted for 8.0 of that 8.9, which is also completely true. Brett was unbelievable that year, and he undoubtedly carried the Royals’ offense. But the resultant conclusion — that the offense was the George Brett show and nothing else — isn’t quite correct, because of two things.

First of all: defense. Batter WAR includes defense. Joe knows this, and subsequently shifts into oRAR (Offensive Runs Above Replacement) — Brett’s was 77 on the year.

More importantly, though (since, for fuck’s sake, niggling about defense is semantic garbage and doesn’t change the tenor of the argument anyhow), is the fact that I see players at 15, 15, and 14 oRAR also. While that ain’t a patch on Brett’s 77 — and I’m not saying it is — those aren’t trivial numbers. And they indicate my point: Brett’s 77, plus the 15, 15, and 14 from their other productive hitters (Steve Balboni, Frank White, and Willie Wilson, but, uh, in reverse order) add up to far more than the team’s total oRAR of 91. What gives?

What gives, of course, is the truly amazing number of position players the Kansas City Royals ran out on the field in 1985 who played below replacement level. They accumulated a total of 54 negative oRAR, which is five and a half entire wins. If the Royals had sacked all those dudes and replaced them with unremarkable minor leaguers, their team oRAR would have shot up to 145, and Brett’s share of it, while still remarkable, stops looking quite as preposterous.

In case you’re thinking they’d suffer for defense if they did that, the negative-oRAR group posted a total -0.4 dRAR — also below replacement level. And they’re not being sunk by one shitty player, either; Pat Sheridan was the group leader at 0.2. So, yes, I’m saying that if the Royals had replaced nine players on their world championship team with random AAA callups, they’d have been a lot better. Their batting WAR would have gone from a ridiculous 8.9 to a merely conventionally sad 14.7. Nearly six wins. And George Brett at 8.0 of 14.7 doesn’t seem quite so much like a one-man team.

Oh, but what I actually came to talk about is Derek Jeter, huh. The name "Jeter" appears in Joe’s George Brett article fifteen times. I counted. This is because Joe makes the comparison between Brett carrying the Royals’ offense in 1985 to Jeter carrying the Yankees’ offense like five times. And the comparison’s not a bad one. But I feel compelled to point this out:

oRAR is a great stat. Gives you an excellent idea of the overall offensive value of a player relative to his peers. It is also a stat that is uniquely unsuitable for describing Derek Jeter’s value. Don’t worry — I’m not about to regale you with folklore about the baseball pope’s calm eyes and leadership aura and sword +2, nine lives stealer. But there is one regard in which Derek Jeter is pretty much unique among all players, and it limits the utility of oRAR in his case; Joe gets close to it when he points out that his list of championship team-leading oRARs includes David Eckstein.

oRAR, like most stats ending in AR, involves the concept of "replacement level." Being above replacement level is like being above average, only the average you’re above isn’t the average of just anything — it’s the average of AAA players in the current season at your position. That last part’s important. Players who play a premium defensive position — catchers, shortstops, and second basemen, basically — get what amounts to a "bonus" in their xAR stats due to the lower lever of offensive performance at that position, which is completely reasonable; Jeter’s career .314 / .385 / .452 would make him a good-but-not-great first baseman, but in reality makes him one of the best offensive shortstops of all time. All of this is true and totally fine.

But. If you use oRAR (only) to evaluate Derek Jeter specifically, you have an issue. The problem is that Jeter is probably the second-best offensive shortstop of all time (trailing only Honus Wagner — though, to be fair, Honus’ lead is immense), but he is the very worst defensive player ever to stick at shortstop. If you use offense-only statistics, you are giving him the positional bonus for playing a premium position while totally ignoring the fact that he plays the position badly enough to have cost his teams almost fourteen wins in the field. This is almost never an issue, because players who field so badly don’t tend to stick at high-value positions for seventeen years. But Derek Jeter, probably due to his intangible rod of lordly might, has.

848 words ago, I had some kind of point in mind, but I no longer remember what it might have been. So you’re welcome for that. Happy Bacon Connoisseur’s Week.

March 18th, 2011 Posted by | Baseball | no comments