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The Man in Blak

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  1. The Man in Blak

    MLB Divisional Playoffs, AL Edition

    Well, sure, there's nothing that a team can do through defensive alignment to deal with a home run (or any of the "three true outcomes", for that matter), but a team can still use the shift to reduce the potential chances for a hit from that player. Of course, I don't think there aren't a lot of statistics out there that can really prove or disprove the validity of the strategy; defensive positioning is still out beyond the fog of statistical analysis and, without some kind of game charting to show exactly what shift was applied and how many times a hitter beat that shift, there's no way to discern that it actually works outside of your usual anecdotally-fueled hosannas. But simply citing the greatest negative outcome available (a line drive the other way) doesn't negate the effectiveness of the strategy by default; what are the odds that a hitter with a hit distribution profile skewed enough to warrant the shift is going to be proficient enough at contact to make such a precise hit? As for the chances that the hitter drops a bunt to "beat" the shift, I would imagine that situation still plays to the advantage of the defense, just out of sheer game theory. There aren't many pull-happy sluggers that are also renowned for their bunting ability and, even for those that are competent enough, the play itself still takes away the hitter's greatest strengths at the plate.
  2. The Man in Blak

    The Pit

    I think we might have banned him at SNKT and New Millennium Blues somehow, actually.
  3. The Man in Blak

    Video Game Desert Island draft

    I've actually been on the clock for a while, so I'll make my last pick: X-Com: UFO Defense (Playstation) I'm sure that many people haven't played the original PC game, let alone the Playstation port, but I couldn't care less. Despite being made almost 20 years ago, X-Com is still the gold standard for strategy games in my book. In one game, you get two completely absorbing gameplay models: - phenomenal turn-based squad-level strategy that incorporates fog of war, realistic squad tactics (like establishing a perimeter), and soldier morale (which can lead to soldiers panicking or even going berserk). - addictive "global" strategy, which involves constructing bases, recruiting personnel, researching alien artifacts through an expansive tech tree, and intercepting/scouting alien activity throughout the world. Through both gameplay models, you control a dedicated X-Com force to fight invasion from Lovecraft-inspired aliens that can blow themselves up upon death, zombify innocents, discover (and eventually invade) your base, and negotiate with countries to kill your funding and join the alien alliance. Probably one of my top 5 favorite games of all time, so there's no way I can leave it behind.
  4. The Man in Blak

    Video Game Desert Island draft

    DonPachi (Arcade) I don't have a SHMUP yet, so I'll go with Cave's first entry into the manic shooter sub-genre. "This is not similation. Get ready to destoroy the enemy. Target for the weak points of f**kin' machine. Do your best you have ever done." Obviously, it's not quite as sophisticated as an Ikaruga or even a Radiant Silvergun, but it foregoes the puzzle-esque nature of those games for pure SHMUP fun without destroying your spirit through completely impossible situations (which would become commonplace in later Cave shooters). Through high school, the local convenience store had a Terminator 2 pinball game, DonPachi, a Neo-Geo cabinet with Metal Slug, and Tekken 2. Now, that convenience store has been turned into an abandoned insurance retailer, weeds crawling up the old concrete median where the gas pumps used to be. You can't go home again, I guess.
  5. The Man in Blak

    Using DOSBox to open computer games

    I haven't tried DOSshell, so I can't vouch for it either way, but just to clarify: DOSBox isn't really used for opening files directly. It creates a simulated DOS shell environment and, to execute files, you (or the game launcher / front end) has to "mount" directories from your PC onto the simulated DOS environment for use. Here's an example - I have X-Com: Terror From The Deep on my laptop, under a DOSGames folder that I keep for all of my DOS-based games. The complete path to the executable that runs the game (Terror.com) is C:\DOSGames\XComTFTD\MPS\TFTD\terror.com. To play it, I fire up DOSBox, mount that directory into the shell environment under the c "drive", change to that c "drive", then simply type "terror" to play the game. mount c C:\DOSGames\XComTFTD\MPS\TFTD cd c: terror If you find that you have to get an exact sound card configuration to make a game work (I'm looking at you, Microprose games), you can fiddle around with the [sblaster] settings under the dosbox.conf file in the DOSBox directory.
  6. The Man in Blak

    This Week In Baseball: 8/4-8/10

    Three runs over six and two thirds doesn't strike me as domination, but whatever works. Anyway, they are probably still out of it, mainly because of the huge lead that the Cubs have put together. They were six games back before they entered the series and, with the win today, they've made it all the way up to...well, six games back. Improbable as it may have been, the team needed to come into Wrigley and sweep to get to within striking distance for the division (three games back). Even if they take the rubber game tomorrow, they'll have only made up one game of ground on the Cubs in the series.
  7. The Man in Blak

    This Week In Baseball: 8/4-8/10

    Oh, and Anthony Reyes picked up the win tonight in his first start for the Indians, giving up one run over six and a third against the Blue Jays. Between that and the busted suicide squeeze that helped put away the Cardinals today, it's been a bang-up day for Tony La Russa.
  8. The Man in Blak

    This Week In Baseball: 8/4-8/10

    Great game in Chicago today, as the Cubs narrowly edged out the Cardinals in extra innings and essentially knocked St. Louis out of contention for the NL Central crown. Jim Edmonds, whose demise was greatly exaggerated, hit two home runs that almost single-handedly beat the Cardinals, and also managed to stir up a little drama after the game: Contrast these comments from Edmonds about TLR and the Cardinals earlier today... ...against this reaction to the St. Louis media after the game, as reported by Bernie Miklasz on the STLToday boards: Now, I'm a Jim Edmonds fan, even if he's wearing the wrong uniform, and I'm fully capable of separating disdain with the St. Louis media with the city at large. And nobody that follows the team is ignorant of the rift between Edmonds and La Russa, which led to Edmonds requesting to be traded earlier on in the season. But, that being said, it seems a little rash for him to disown the entire organization, not only because of his own lengthy history as a key contributor for the club, but because of the fact that he's still a notable member of the St. Louis community (he still owns a restaurant, F15TEEN, in downtown St. Louis). We'll see if any other comments come out from either side tomorrow - I'm sure TLR, if nobody else, will have plenty to say about it - and it will be interesting to see how the team reacts, not only to Edmonds' comments but, more importantly, to a loss that may put them two games back in the Wild Card.
  9. The Man in Blak

    2008: The Year in Music

    I've actually been revisiting Third recently as well and, while I stand by what I wrote a few months about the quality of each song from a songwriting perspective, there is definitely something about the tone of the album that's hard to quantify. I hesitate to say that it has the best production I've heard in an album this year, but it's absolutely the most ambitious; they gamble with textures on almost every track and, when the songwriting actually provides a proper foundation to build upon, the results ("Plastic", "We Carry On", "Machine Gun") are compelling in a way that's entirely different from their other work and, frankly, a good distance beyond anything else that's been offered by anybody else in music this year. I still think Dummy is a stronger record overall, but this is a much more artistic record and, given how easy it could have been for them to simply cash in and take another swing at their earlier aesthetic, it engenders a sort of appreciation or even admiration for the attempt, despite the inconsistent quality throughout the album (and, sometimes, even within a song itself).
  10. The Man in Blak

    Seeking NFL Expansion Drafts for 1996, 99 and 03

    Considering that Warner started 11 games last year for the Cardinals with 3000+ yards and 27 TDs, I don't think you can really consider him a backup at all, let alone an "okay" one.
  11. The Man in Blak

    This Week In Baseball: 8/4-8/10

    I don't think second base is within reach either, since Aaron Miles is actually resembling a major league hitter this year. It looks like the sole purpose of his existence is to star in the next Judd Apatow feature on the Cardinals bench while TLR carries 14 pitchers on the roster. Possibly Unforeseen Consequences: Brendan Ryan gets to further refine his shoulder-licking mechanics with everyday PT in AAA.
  12. The Man in Blak

    Comments which don't warrant a thread.

    It's an old Vegas saying, back when the casinos would offer a chicken dinner for under $2. The standard bets were ~$2 so, when you won a bet, you won enough to grab a cheap chicken dinner.
  13. The Man in Blak

    Video Game Desert Island draft

    Since Gert T officially went on the clock 12 hours ago (1:46 am CT), I'll go ahead and make my pick: Dungeons & Dragons: Shadows Over Mystara (Arcade) I need a beat 'em up on my list, so why not include one with diverse characters, RPG elements, and multiple paths through the game (with multiple endings)?
  14. The Man in Blak

    Video Game Desert Island draft

    Since foleyfan yielded his turns earlier in the draft due to indifference, I'll go ahead and pick mine now: Gears of War (Xbox 360)
  15. The Man in Blak

    Xbox 360

    Apparently you're all dead. No one on my friends' list has a leaderboard score in any of the game types. I wasn't really all that impressed with the trial version, personally. A couple of undercover sombreros, er, "new gameplay modes" can't disguise the fact that you're still zooming around in a neon heat disease, blowing up disgruntled polygons and throwing the controller at the wall when you get eaten alive by those zooming red fuckers out of left field. Even if it were priced at 400 MS points - and it's not - it's hard to justify purchase if you have the original game. (And nearly everybody with a 360 has the original game.)
  16. The Man in Blak

    This Week in Baseball 7/28 - 8/3

    Pitchers in general have a poor track record of health. Despite his decline in performance though, I don't think Barry Zito has missed a career start. Hudson's career record is 146-77, I'd be thrilled if any pitching prospect put that record up. And Dan Haren, Joe Blanton and Justin Duchscherer are still healthy. Well, minor correction: Dan Haren didn't come up through the Oakland system; he was traded in the Mulder deal from the Cardinals, another franchise with a record of young, promising pitchers getting hurt and or deteriorated (Alan Benes, Rick Ankiel, Bud Smith).
  17. The Man in Blak

    Video Game Desert Island draft

    Mario Kart DS (Nintendo DS)
  18. The Man in Blak

    Video Game Desert Island draft

    foleyfan has had 12 hours on the clock, so I'm going to go ahead and proceed with my pick: NFL 2K1 (Dreamcast)
  19. There are two legitimately great moments in the FFVII soundtrack: Sephiroth's theme and that absurdly epic world map theme. Save for those two tracks and maybe the gooey "Interrupted by Fireworks", the rest of the FFVII audio canon is pretty much forgettable. (Yes, that means that "One Winged Angel" is an overblown piece of shit, arranged far beyond any semblance of reality because Uematsu had a chubby on having a full choir and orchestra! on hand for the first time.) FFVI, on the other hand, is the peak of Uematsu's contributions to the series, even without the much-debated opera stuff. The first hour of that game may very well be flawless from an audio standpoint, organs crashing, ominous bells tolling behind the introduction of magic, and the stirring approach into Narshe that Paul mentioned earlier. And "Searching For Friends" is a great song, you dickhead, because the unearthing of the airship is the first ray of hope for the team after the world has been Ruined, the first sign that they may actually be able to mount any kind of resistance at all against Kefka. The "golden age" Square games from the mid-90's (yes, Chrono Trigger, obv., but don't forget Secret of Mana and FFIV) all have amazing music. I'd be lying if I said that those tracks didn't inspire me to dive into a music education through high school and college.
  20. The Man in Blak

    Black Kids

    Saw these guys on Letterman last night. Kinda goofy but, overall, sucked. That Pitchfork felt the need to apologize for the hype with a JPEG review speaks volumes about the band, as well as "P4K".
  21. The Man in Blak

    This Week in Baseball 7/21 - 7/27

  22. The Man in Blak

    Desert Island Draft Thread

    Somebody, don't remember who, voted for you and Edwin as a tie for their third place entry.
  23. The Man in Blak

    This Week in Baseball 7/21 - 7/27

    One bullpen Hindenburg after another. If this wasn't a House Money season for St. Louis, I'd probably consider shooting my television any time that Ryan Franklin or Jason Isringhausen enters into a ballgame with a tie score or a slim Cardinal lead.
  24. The Man in Blak

    NFL Offseason Thread

    Somewhere out there, Flyboy just went over the top. RRRRRROOOOOOOOOAAAR.
  25. The Man in Blak

    Video Game Desert Island draft

    Phantasy Star IV (Genesis)