The Dord of Darien

Musings from the Mayor of the Internet

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Did anybody else just see that?

This came up in my Steam banner scroll:

Do what now?

I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a pitch line that makes me as thoroughly disinterested in buying a game as does that one. The dune buggy and swarms of antlions? You mean I get the two very very worst parts of Half-Life 2 all in one game? Sign me up!


September 26th, 2011 Posted by | Games | 2 comments

Who cares

Since I haven’t updated the old front page in three years, I’ve decided it’s time to retire it. From now on, this is the new front page of perfectlydarien.com.

I mean, I didn’t delete any of the old stuff. It’s right here if you ever want it. It’s just not the first thing new visitors will see anymore.


September 23rd, 2011 Posted by | Meta-meta | no comments

I’m sorry, baby

I’ve been away for a long time. I know it. I’ve done you wrong; running around with all those other web sites. I won’t deny it; I even toyed with the idea of doing things not on the internet at all. But it was just a phase. I know I was wrong, and, to make it up to you, I’ve brought you a gift. It’s by Jason Whitlock, and it is the very very worst piece of sportswriting I have ever read in my life. The title is

Stat geeks are ruining sports

and you know I wouldn’t make something like this up. It’s like you’ve been chasing after that goddamn leprechaun for forty years and suddenly you catch him and you get your three wishes and pot of marshmallows or whatever, only you wish for nothing but numbers and comedy.

I won’t be going to see "Moneyball." The movie celebrates the plague ruining sports: sabermetrics.

Yeah, seems kind of shitty to make an entire movie that’s just one big gooey handjob to steroids. You’d think there’d be a period of decency, you know? The Bonds and Clemens trials are just entering round two, we still have 100% deserving Hall of Fame candidates who are getting blackballed because of steroid use or even suspicion of steroid use, and you’re going to roll out this movie talking about how great steroids–

What? Not steroids? You’re kidding — he said sabermetrics? Holy shit, you’re right. Jason Whitlock, you marvellous meatwit. The biggest problem facing sports today is some guys thinking about them?

That is not intended as a shot at Bill James, Billy Beane or Michael Lewis.

You sure, Jason? I think when you declare a man’s entire career "the plague ruining sports," that could in some circles be construed as a "shot" against him.

Wait. Hell, maybe it is a dis — an unintended one — of James, Beane and Lewis.

Oh, for fuck’s sake. Jason, here’s you:

And here is Bill James:

Sack up, Jason. You can take him. He’s sixty years old and has a head smaller than a baseball. You could probably eat him in one gulp.

They unwittingly conspired to remove much of the magic and mystery from baseball. They reduced the game to a statistical bore.

Somebody should tell Jason Whitlock that there are people other than him out here. Some of us like knowledge. Some of us like understanding things. Everybody else? What’s stopping you from going to the ballpark and rooting for Juan Uribe because in your heart you know he’s clutch? I mean, other than how he’s out having surgery to correct the effects of being really, really fat and shit at getting on base.

It’s no longer enough to be down with OBP (on-base percentage). To talk the game, you now must understand OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging)

Fucking nerds! OBP isn’t enough for them — now they want me to know OPS, too? Wait — OPS is half OBP anyhow? How would I know that? Do I look like a nerd?

VORP (value over replacement player)

Oh, yeah, VORP. I remember him; he’s from that nerdy Star Track or whatever. Set your phasers to lame, mister VORP!

BABIP (batting average on balls in play) and on and on.

Now that’s much too hard for my amphibian brain to handle. Batting average… on balls? In play? What the hell do these words mean? Here, I’ll tell you the kind of stat I want to see: A COORS FUCKING LIGHT.

There’s a stat for nearly every action in baseball.

What? No, that’s way, way wrong. The number of actions in baseball is a pretty small set. There are something on the order of eleventeen shitstacks of stats for every single one. I do appreciate, though, that Jason is so bad at writing that his attempt to make it sound like there are way too many stats meaningfully understates how many there are.

Little is left to the imagination.

Hog fucking wash. Here, I’ll give you a number: .482. What is that number? It’s Ted Williams’ career OBP. .482! That is mind-warpingly high. For me, that spurs the imagination. It gets me thinking about what an amazing ballplayer Teddy Ballgame must have been to get on base 48.2% of the time. The statistics give us the framework, Jason; the man we have to imagine. But thank god we have the statistics, or our only connection to this amazing piece of baseball history would be your grandfather Hershell Whitlock’s columns about how T. Williams was crap because he never won his team a World Series.

Sports were never intended to be a computer program, stripped to cold, hard, indisputable, statistical facts.

Well, okay, but there’s a little problem here. What’s the most significant thing about a sporting event? Is is Tom Brady’s smile? Derek Jeter’s eyes? The completely heterosexual antics of the WWE? No — the most significant thing is who won the game. This is determined, Jason, by the team with the best score ("runs," we call it in baseball). And those, Jason, are statistical facts of the most coldest hardness.

So, actually, it looks like sports always were intended to be a bunch of goddamn computer numbers, and the goofballs who want to write stories about them are the ones getting weird. Oops!

Sports — particularly for fans — are not science. Sports, like art, are supposed to be interpreted.

I agree with this 100%, and that makes me laugh, because it’s absolutely devastating to Jason’s argument. What is it, Jason, that we interpret? Ooh yeah: data, innit.

Also, thank you for speaking on behalf of all fans everywhere. That saves the rest of us — who all are exactly like you — a bunch of time.

It’s difficult to interpret baseball these days.

Note that interpreting baseball is Jason’s job. I’m beginning to think this article is his passive-aggressive way of asking for a raise.

The stat geeks won’t let you argue. They quote sabermetrics and end all discussion. Is so-and-so a Hall of Famer? The sabermeticians will punch in the numbers and give you, in their mind, a definitive answer.

The stat geeks, Jason, argue about this shit all the time. Seriously. Let’s take the AL MVP — there is no consensus among "stat geeks" at all. Bellsbury? Bautista? Verlander? I’ve even heard some goofballs making a case for C. Granderson. Any given stat geek may very well be convinced that his answer is right, but so are you, as you’ll point out very clearly in just a few paragraphs. So can it, meatball.

It’s boring. It’s ruining sports.

Right now, baseball is experiencing a pretty huge renaissance. The rise of interest in baseball coincided rather neatly with the rise of the internet, and the ability of ordinary people to find, analyse, share, and discuss information about baseball.

This also, of course, is the period of declining importance of professional sportswriters. Of which number Jason Whitlock is one.

Sabermetrics or analytics are overrunning football, too. ESPN is pushing a new statistical way of analyzing NFL quarterbacks, Total Quarterback Rating.

I’m not sold on TQR, but it’s hardly an entirely new paradigm; ordinary quarterback rating goes all the way back to 1971. TQR is an attempt to make the stat more sensible; I mean, QR is calculated out of a maximum of 158.3. What?

The nerds are winning. They’re stealing the game from those of us who enjoy examining the gray areas of sports.

Really, Jason, you don’t speak for the average fan. You just don’t. The average fan doesn’t need to give a hang about sabermetrics. It is completely possible to go to the ballpark, have a beer and a dog, and not even be able to name any of the players on the field. Believe it or not, Jason, the nerd army will permit that!

No. What you are complaining about is that Jason Whitlock, a sportswriter, is expected to understand the sports he writes about, and that’s too much work. Well boo fucking hoo.

We’re about 10 years away from a computer program that will write stats-based opinion pieces on sports.

You’re being sarcastic, but I gotta tell you, Jason: we’re a lot closer than that. I know at least one horrible nerdbot who was inspired by your article to write a script that combines retrosheet data and weighted phrases to write its own game summaries.

Last season, the basketball analytics crowd was convinced that LeBron James and Dwight Howard deserved the MVP over Derrick Rose.

LeBron was pretty much the best player in basketball. You know, again. Rose winning wasn’t a huge injustice — he was also great — but, really, LeBron was probably a better choice.

The fact that Howard’s whiny, immature crybaby-ass was even in the discussion tells you all you need to know about analyzing the game solely on statistics.

Yes. It does. And that thing is: analysing the game statistically will lead you to give the award for "most valuable player" to the player who was the most valuable, totally independent of how much sportswriters liked him as a dude. That’s probably a good thing, Jason.

The Orlando Magic were a joke last season in part because of the immature environment fostered by Howard.

The Orlando Magic were 52-30. That’s pretty good. Fourth seed overall in the playoffs. That’s a "joke?"

As for James vs. Rose? Well, James devoured Rose in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Oh. Uh… backpedal, backpedal…

It doesn’t really matter who deserved the NBA’s MVP award.

Then why bother awarding it? That claim is so stupid I can barely breathe.

What matters is that there was a fun, yearlong debate. As much as we enjoy watching the competition on the field or court, we take equal pleasure in interpreting and debating what we just saw.

Sure. So thank god we had all that data, right? So we could interpret it, right?

Sabermetrics/analytics undermines the debate. They try to interject absolutes.

Jason. Listen to me slowly. There were always absolutes. The Orlando Magic absolutely went 52-30. Each of those 52 wins and 30 losses was absolutely the result of an absolute number of points scored and points allowed. This is not a fairy story invented by Bill James to pass the time in between bites of kitten sandwich. What sabermetrics (can we use that term for basketball? May as well, I suppose) has done is not "inject absolutes." Every basket that was scored is an absolute that occurred all on its own. Sabermetrics tries to help us fit those individual events into the narrative of the game. It is a storytelling aid, Jason.

No one will ever convince me that John Elway isn’t the greatest quarterback/football player in NFL history.

Sure. Great. Real quick here, though, I’d like you to read a thing a friend of mine wrote:

The stat geeks won’t let you argue. They quote sabermetrics and end all discussion. Is so-and-so a Hall of Famer? The sabermeticians will punch in the numbers and give you, in their mind, a definitive answer.

I guess what you’re telling me here, then, is that that guy can go fuck himself, right, Jason? I mean, the punchline to this joke is so obvious I’m not even going to write it, but really. Why is it okay for you to declare an end to all discussion, but those nerds aren’t allowed?

I can and have argued credibly and passionately that Elway is the best QB and player in the history of the league. You are free to disagree. I invite you to disagree. I’d love to refute your erroneous position. Just bring more than stats to the table.

So… swearing, then? I mean, really. When we’re talking about quality of play, what on earth could that possibly mean other than things that impact points scored (and points allowed in most situations, but not QB arguments in football)? I do not know enough about football to have an opinion about the greatest quarterback of all time, but I do know that the fans of one Mr. Unitas — a man you never saw play, and therefore have no subjective data of — would have beef with you, to say nothing of the fans of Messrs. Marino, Montana, Favre, P. Manning, Aikman, and even Brady. You really don’t want any grounds for the discussion other than like guts and intestines and things? You’re that insecure? Okay, man. Your call.

The games are about more than stats.

Then why are you trying so hard to make them about less than stats?

That’s what bothers me about this whole era of sports. In my lifetime, there have been two innovations that have significantly influenced sports fans: 1. fantasy leagues; 2. sabermetrics/analytics.

Internet internet internet internet internet internet internet. I cannot stress this enough. Fantasy baseball is at least as old as baseball cards, and probably older. As for "analytics," well, you tell me what "batting average" is if it ain’t a way of analysing the game. It was created in the nineteenth century, along with our other friends RBI, ERA, errors, the cotton gin, and pitcher wins and losses. This is not a new development!

Again, the stat geeks are winning. Our perception of athletes and their value are primarily being dictated by statistics.

Value, sure. But isn’t that a good thing? Our opinion of this stock’s value is primarily being dictated by numbers! But I believe this company really has a lot of fourth-quarter hustle that its ticker price just doesn’t show.

Peyton Manning is the king of fantasy football; therefore, he is the king of real football. LeBron James is the king of fantasy basketball; therefore, he is the king of real basketball.

This… is evidence that something’s wrong? Holy shit, Jason. Peyton Manning and LeBron James are among the very very best players in their respective sports. Who denies this? Where are all these people?

Is it a coincidence that James and Manning have both struggled in postseason play?

Three ideas for you to consider, Jason:

1) Basketball and football are team sports.
2) Sample size, sample size, sample size.
3) Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, Barry Bonds, Ted Williams, Mickey Mantle, Roger Clemens, and Ken Griffey Jr. all can be alleged to have "struggled" in postseason play.

I don’t know the answer. But I want to discuss and debate it.

I do know the answer, and part of the reason for that is because I don’t refuse to think about it. I would — and this is true — be happy to discuss it with you, Jason.

And I don’t want to do it with people who simply want to quote stats.

Sure. People who do nothing but quote stats aren’t being very helpful. But that doesn’t jive with what you said earlier, which was that statistical analysis is "the plague ruining sports." Stats are important, Jason. You can’t get around that by acting macho. To claim that stats are trivial is identical to claiming that how many runs a team scores is trivial. That, Jason, is a stat.

The answers and the questions that make sports special, unique, our collective national pastime, can’t be found on a stat sheet. They’re in our imaginations and our individual interpretation of what we witness.

I completely agree. The stats don’t contain the magic of sports; no amount of WPA is itself the emotional appeal of watching Mark McGwire’s 62nd home run. The excitement of watching the Cubs rally in the bottom of the ninth in game one of the 2003 NLCS — and the heartbreak of the game six collapse — that isn’t included in Baseball Reference’s copious spreadsheets. They do contain a shitload of data, though. And that data? That is the fabric the game is woven from. It’s not an alien presence, Jason; it’s all organic. It was there all along.

When the "Moneyball" movie hysteria subsides, I hope the sabermeticians STFU.

Great. Thanks for harshing my mellow, asshole. You suck at your job and I hope you get replaced by a very small shell script.


Bonus comedy!

From Jason Whitlock’s Twitter feed:

Should’ve kept it 100 in my column: Sabermetrics are a tool for people who never played the game to pretend like they know something. STFU

Random "100" aside, here’s a comedy search result. What a complete nincompoop.


September 22nd, 2011 Posted by | Baseball | no comments

So I had this plan

"Keep it simple," I said. "Last time I got too bogged down in making art assets, which I’m awful at," I said. "This time, I’ll do barebones art so I’ll have more time for level design," I said.

Then I spent an entire goddamn day designing parallax backgrounds.


September 7th, 2011 Posted by | My games | no comments

Ozzie!

Here’s some poop from Pedro Gomez:

One possible worry for White Sox. If they fire Ozzie and he winds up w/Cubs and wins.

One possible worry for the Republicans: they don’t nominate Newt Gingrich and he goes to the Democrats and wins.

Actually, you know who’s more worried about your nightmare scenario than the White Sox? Me. Because if Ozzie goddamn Guillen wins with the Cubs, he’s going to the Hall. And that’s terrible.

Also: nice background on your Twitter feed, Pedro. That won’t give me nightmares at all.


September 4th, 2011 Posted by | Baseball | no comments

Les Carpenter still sucks

Perhaps it’s the government’s misfortune to have this case tried in a city that doesn’t care much about baseball. If Clemens was in federal court in Manhattan, Pettitte would be the easy bridge to conviction – a longtime New York Yankee considered trustworthy compared to the explosive and elusive Clemens.

You see, Les, this is exactly why the case isn’t being tried in New York. It would be near as dammit to impossible to find impartial jurors there. Same reason why, when I get sent to compulsory government servitude on some punishment board, they make me drive out to the next county over. That’s never happened to you?

No one truly knows why prosecutors allowed the jury to hear a tape of Congressman Elijah Cummings reading an affidavit from Pettitte’s wife, Laura, saying her husband told her Clemens told him he used steroids. They were ordered by Judge Reggie Walton to keep Pettitte’s wife out of the trial, that anything she said was circumstantial.

It wasn’t circumstantial, dummy; it was hearsay. "Circumstantial" isn’t just a long, legal-ish word meaning "bad."

Whatever a new trial costs, it won’t be cheap. And while the money isn’t coming from some government slush fund, the image of all those millions going into proving Roger Clemens lied in a building where congressmen bend the truth every day will further irritate a public that believes this a fruitless pursuit.

So where, then, is this money coming from? I think you’ll find it’s coming from a government slush fund, Les.

You guys, I’m starting to think Les Carpenter doesn’t know anything about anything.


September 3rd, 2011 Posted by | Baseball, Bullshit | 2 comments