The Dord of Darien

Musings from the Mayor of the Internet

Sounds like a plan!

Brett Gardner’s goals in this year’s spring training? To be less selective at the plate and bunt more.

Brett’s pretty fast, and if he learns to bunt for a hit reliably, that’s valuable, but I don’t think anybody’s ever done that. So probably we’re talking about boring, team-hurting sacrifice bunts. So stop doing that.

It’s actually the other goal that’s more interesting to me, though. Gardner thinks he struck out too often last year, and needs to swing more often. To this I say: huh.

Now, don’t get me wrong; if Brett Gardner starts making fewer outs, that will only help. But his 2010 OBP was .383, which ain’t too shabby, and he doesn’t swing near as often as he should — 2010 Z-swing% of only 44.7%, which is really really low compared to the league average of 64.4%. So swinging more should be good, right?

Well… not necessarily. If he just converts a bunch of looking strikeouts to swinging strikeouts or like infield pop-ups, that’s not a win. And a lot of Gardner’s value is predicated on his very good O-swing% of 18.2% and thus the fact that he walked 79 times; if he starts swinging at more bad pitches and converts a bunch of those walks to outs, he ain’t helpin’ nobody. Well, except Boston and Tampa.

The reason this seems weird to me is that 2010 Brett Gardner is in the select club of players with OBP higher than SLG — .383 to .379. If I were Brett Gardner (and you know I am), perhaps I’d consider hitting a double now and then and not focus on risky ways to improve my already-very-good OBP.

The thing about that article that’s less interesting is that Joe (Yankees!) Girardi might have Derek (Yankees!!) Jeter hit second instead of first. Their OBPs are the same and Jeter slugs a hundred points higher. Clearly Gardner – Jeter is the right choice. But still — it seems like it was only yesterday that I was reading a boneheaded article about how Derek Jeter doesn’t get enough attention, and now today here’s this one breathlessly angst-ing about a totally routine lineup change just because his name’s in it.

And here’s Stats Inc. being complete morons:

Mar 13 Jeter was charged with an error Sunday when he misplayed a pop fly in the fourth Sunday against Minnesota.

Advice: The fielding miscue was surprising since Jeter is a reigning Gold Glove winner

Go to hell, Stats Inc.

March 17th, 2011 Posted by | Baseball | no comments

Score one for procrastination!

For years — literally years — I’ve been working on this long-ass post explaining why things like batting average are stupid, and what all these freak-o acronyms I throw around really mean. The main thing that’s hard about it is finding the right balance between math and dick jokes, so it actually explains something without becoming deathly dry. Since I’m a moron and a hack, it’s even harder than you probably think.

Well, I’m off the hook: JoePo has written it for me. Go read that. It’s good.

March 11th, 2011 Posted by | Baseball | no comments

State of the Wood

I haven’t been around so much lately, as I expect you’ve noticed. Yes, there is a reason, and, no, that reason is not that I’m a lazy half-wit. Actually, I’ve suffered a severe bout of crippling hand injury, and typing with just my off-hand blows. So I’ve not been doing that.

But how did I get hurt, you ask? I mean, I’m eleven feet tall and made entirely of rock music and sex, so clearly it was something serious. Well, as a matter of fact, I got hurt while I was saving your life. In the future.

Here’s how it went down. My robot sidekick and I were hunting General Gus for… reasons that aren’t very clear to me in hindsight, but which will be very important in the year 20XX. We finally caught up with him in the big power plant factory room in your apartment (all apartments have those in the future) just after he had killed your husband and/or wife and was about to kill you too. Then he turned big and pink for some strange reason, and I had to bionic-punch the shit out of him. Like, a lot. I had to punch the fucker for almost a minute before he finally exploded! Here’s a futuristic local news station’s footage of the climactic battle.

All that punching takes its toll on even my robotic tendons, forged though they are from the very thunderbolts of mighty Zeus. So the end result is they’re a bit knackered, and playing so much goddamn Dawn of War 2: Retribution didn’t help matters any. So my left hand is currently out for maintenance is what I’m saying, and typing’s a bitch. And also you owe me.

No, seriously, you do. So pay up, Mr. I-Don’t-Believe-The-Future-Even-Though-I’m-Not-From-The-Future-Like-Some-People-Are. Oh, and, uh, sorry about your apartment.

March 10th, 2011 Posted by | Bullshit, Meta-meta | 2 comments


Warhammer 40k: Dawn of War 2: Retribution is out. It’s brilliant. You should get it.

The new faction, to absolutely nobody’s surprise, is Imperial Guard, thereby rounding out the "major" factions that everybody plays. Presumably further expansions will add the minor factions. Retribution also adds vehicles and deployable squads, and, most importantly, campaigns for the five factions that aren’t Space Marines. So there’s a good deal of play here if you want to run all six angles. To date all I’ve played is Imperial Guard, so that’s all I’ll discuss here.

Plot-wise, the game is far stronger than either the original Dawn of War 2 or Chaos Rising, with mysteries that are actually mysterious (though not, of course, the main "whodunit" the characters don’t understand — which answer is clear to you if you played Chaos Rising). There’s one dialogue scene in a later mission that is absolutely fantastic. The new characters are excellent, as well, with Lord General Castor the star of the show — he’s a ridiculous badass, like some type of nineteenth-century Great White Hunter who somehow found himself in the grim darkness of the far future and figured he may as well make the best of it. Seriously, he even has an outrageous walrus mustache. He’s great.

Game-wise, the game is actually quite different from Dawn of War 2, moving back somewhat toward traditional RTS (Dawn of War 2 being, after all, almost as much an action RPG as it was a proper RTS). The level band and stat distribution has been flattened; there are now only ten character levels, with one point to spend per level (though every point spent unlocks a new trait). Gear is slightly simpler; in the Imperial Guard mission, your general and sergeant will always be ranged attackers, while your inquisitor and commissar will always be melee. However, instead of each of your heroes coming with a squad, you now get just the heroes alone (except the Lord General, anyway, who has a retinue) and can recruit squads at captured… things. What are those things, anyhow? They’re like trapezoidal rocks. You have to accumulate Requisition and Power to build squads, and those you get by capturing victory points, blowing up resource crates, and also at other times that I haven’t quite isolated yet. I was a bit worried about the way this would play at first, but it seems fine — if anything, it appears to reduce the dependency on graveyard-zerging that higher-level Dawn of War 2 (and especially Chaos Rising) was prone to.

Consumables are gone — every ability, whether trait or accessory, is now limited by cooldown and energy. Also gone is automatic respawning of troops at bases; now, to restock your squads, you need to spend requisition (or use an ability that reinforces automatically). This change I’m not thrilled with, nor am I thrilled with the fact that the HUD can apparently display only nine squads at a time, when it’s rather simple for Imperial Guard (or Tyranids, I’d expect) to go over that limit and be stuck with squads you can’t easily select or watch.

New to the single-player game is the concept of "global abilities," which aren’t tied to any character or squad. These are things like deploying turrets, calling for air strikes, and building mobile fortifications. These abilities consume a faction-specific resource that you earn in a faction-specific way; for Imperial Guard, you gain "command" whenever you kill something, or whenever a guardsman gets killed.

So anyway, you should get this game. It’s very good. It doesn’t require Dawn of War 2 to play, but it’s still priced like an expansion, for some weird reason. Still and all, if you haven’t played Dawn of War 2, you really should anyhow, since it’s pretty great. Oh, also? Retribution’s finally been decoupled from the horrible Games for Windows Live, and now just uses goddamn Steam for its nebulous community features. Praise the Emperor.

March 3rd, 2011 Posted by | Games | no comments