Two Things to Chew On

1) I really enjoyed doing that little write-up on Vainqueur yesterday. I believe I’ve written before about how I enjoy writing brief little how-tos and runthroughs — if I had to guess, I’d say the reason I’ve never written a full walkthrough is a) laziness and b) the necessity for completeness and comprehensiveness, which is both time-consuming and elusive. Everyone loves Let’s Plays, but I wonder if there’s an audience for a smaller, less extensive variant — a “Let’s Kind Of Play” or “Let’s Play A Short Part Of”, if you will. I might do some experiements along those lines on this blog if I come across a good subject to write about — similar maybe to that old post on the Baten Kaitos Origins battle system I cranked out a while back (which believe it or not still gets a fair number of inbound links). Often when I’m playing a game I’ll think “I should write about this” only to realize belatedly that to get anything worth publishing out of it I’d either need to write strategy for the whole game (a walkthrough) or take screenshots of the whole game and write about everything leading up to it (a Let’s Play), which kills my enthusiasm. Perhaps writing about little snippets of games could produce some good pieces without driving me to despair.

2) I’ve spent a lot of time over the past couple of weeks raving about how great April baseball is, but there’s one major problem with it: It is, by necessity, a small sample size. And unlike the rest of the season, you don’t have a pile of numbers to put that small sample size into perspective. If Dan Uggla has a bad week in August, you might not even notice, because he’s got four months of statistics built up by that point to soften the blow, and hey, it’s a long season. If he has a bad week in April, though, suddenly he’s hitting .115 and everyone’s panicking and saying “What’s wrong with Uggla?” A single good game is the difference between a guy hitting .380 and a guy hitting .260. It’s impossible to pick out what’s meaningful in April. Uncountable players and uncountable teams have had bad Aprils, and that says little to nothing about their overall quality.

That’s kind of how I feel about the Braves right now — they’re not really playing that well. Not terribly — they’ve at least been in every game they’ve played so far this season, which is more than some teams can claim, and they seem to me to be hitting into bad luck (although their approach at the plate certainly isn’t helping) — but not really up to their potential either. And my brain is telling me that this is completely meaningless; it’s just one week, they’ll come around. My heart, on the other hand, wants me to wave my arms in the air and swear a lot. I don’t take losing very well. It’s irrational, but there’s a part of my brain that’s always whispering “This team is horrible, and who’s the more fool: The foolish team or the fool who follows them?” (I don’t know why my brain keeps paraphrasing Obi-Wan Kenobi, but it seems to be happening a lot recently.) They’ll probably be fine, but until they are fine, I’ll continue to worry about it.

In the end, I think I really prefer May and June baseball, to April. By then, there’s enough baseball that no one’s hitting .400 anymore, and you have enough data to be able to say with a reasonable degree of confidence where your team stands; what’s working and what’s not. But there’s still enough baseball left that a team who’s been unlucky or underachieving can still get things together and make a run. By the time you move into late summer, teams begin falling out of it and giving up, and my distaste for October baseball is well-documented. Give me midsummer — hope tempered with realism — every time.


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