Zero Charisma

Some stathead stereotypes are unfair: very few of them, I have found, live in their mothers’ basements. They’re good with computers and stuff, so they got jobs and rented apartments and bought condos. Sure, those apartments and condos are every bit as sad as their mothers’ basements would have been given the 100% absence of a woman’s touch, but let no one say that your average sabermetrician doesn’t have a place of his own.

Some stathead stereotypes are, however, entirely justified. For example, that they’re geeks. Look, I know some aren’t, but many many of them are, and I say that even though I count a number of them as my friends and THT colleagues. If there was any doubt about this, check out this BTF thread, in which THT’s own Colin Wyers engages in an argument about whether or not a batter swinging at a pitched ball would constitute a melee attack or, rather, be a defensive thing subject to a saving throw if the game were controlled by Dungeons & Dragons rules. He thinks it’s the former. Here’s his opponent’s argument:

I mean really, if you were DMing it…

“You enter a large space. There’s a box painted on the ground ahead of you. Two masked men await.”

“I approach them.”

“One looks at you, the other pays you no heed.”

“I step into the painted box.”

“A missile comes hurling at you! Roll for save!”


In other news, if you’re constructing the optimal RPG lineup, your number three hitter should be a half-orc fighter and a human paladin should bat cleanup.


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  1. lar said...

    Your opinion on the discussion is conspicuously absent, Craig, aside from some overcompensatory snark. We’ve all been reading this site long enough to know that you may have that same kind of geekdom in you (didn’t we have a Dragonlance disussion once?). So, any opinion? Don’t try to hide it!

    (personally, I haven’t played D&D in 15 years, so I don’t know it well enough to know. That new 4th edition stuff sounds super-fun, though…)

  2. Jimmy said...

    The fact that I considered that debate for five seconds after reading it makes me feel a lot LESS cooler than I did five minutes ago.

  3. Craig Calcaterra said...

    Let’s just say that the emphasis should be on “overcompensatory.”  I was never a totally hardcore D&D geek, but I played enough to where my reaction to the discussion is one of knowing discomfort as opposed to mockery.

    And beisdes, it’s a damn melee attack.  Anyone can see that.  Maybe pitchers and Jason Tyner needs to roll for a saving throw, but the batter clearly has rolled initiative in this encounter.


  4. Colin Wyers said...

    Both technically have initiative, Calcaterra. (Sure, maybe it’s by fiat, and it doesn’t end up mattering in the outcome.) The pitcher holds his turn, the batter readies an action, and the pitcher completes his attack. Then the batter takes his readied action. The fielders have a readied action to field the ball if it comes to them.

  5. kendynamo said...

    elven theif leading off?

    and unless the pitcher is throwing a bean ball i think its should be a dexterity + skill level roll.

  6. Kid Charlemagne said...

    I think opposed attack rolls would be the way to go, myself.  Have to give some thought to the skill of the pitcher, after all.  This is the kind of D&D argument that alternately annoys me or finds me strangely fascinated.  Baseball actually lends itself fairly well to a D&D-ish treatment, being a series of sequential, individual events that together make up a play, unlike football, where many seperate things are all happening at once.

    Brings this to mind:

    Though there is no mention of “stathead baseball fans who live in their mother’s basements.”  And for the record I’ve never lived in my mother’s basement…

  7. mkd said...

    Doesn’t the count somehow figure into the discussion? Just eyeballing things I would say 2-0, 3-1 counts are hitter attacks while 0-2, 1-2 would be defensive rolls. Yes?

  8. Wooden U. Lykteneau said...

    Craig – You’re still leaving out that while they may have their own apartments, Mom still does their laundry…

  9. M M said...

    I’d argue that the ball provokes an Attack of Opportunity, but that you have a strict limit of three AoOs per round, excepting that an attack that lands in the foul range (think the difference between hitting touch ac on the ball and hitting for damage)

  10. M M said...

    (oops didn’t finish the thought) except that your final AoO can’t be exhausted by a hit in the foul range, unless the appropriate fielder makes a successful catch attack.

  11. FooMan said...

    I wonder if baseball geekery also overlaps with Curt Schilling-style wargaming—e.g., the old Avalon Hill stuff, Panzerblitz, Squad Leader, ASL, or SPI.

    I never got into D&D and Magic was after my time, but I played a lot of those hex-based games.  This was also my lead-in to sabermetrics, as I bought what was at that time AH’s product, Statis-pro baseball.  That game gave me the impression that guys who walked a lot were very important, so I was very receptive to James’s ideas when I came across the ‘83 Abstract.

  12. jw said...

    “mkd said…

    Doesn’t the count somehow figure into the discussion? Just eyeballing things I would say 2-0, 3-1 counts are hitter attacks while 0-2, 1-2 would be defensive rolls. Yes? “

    Hm, it would be more of a weapon expertise thing, where the batter loses some points off his attack rolls to make it less likely for the pitcher to hit his AC (strike him out).

    Pitcher makes attack against batter’s strike defence.  Batter makes spot check to guesstimate if it’s a hit or not, with different batters having different bonuses and pitchers having deception bonuses.
    Batter can makes attack of opportunity against ball as it enters his threatened reach.
    – If miss, that’s a strike.
    – If hit, roll damage to determine distance (placement?) of ball, and the fielders make reflex saves to catch it.
    If the batter chooses not to swing and the pitch hits, there’s a strike.
    Otherwise it’s a ball.

    Of course, in fourth edition it would be all attack rolls anyways since there’s no such thing as saving throws (outside of “save ends” effects).

    I… I need to go drink a beer or go to a strip club or something.  That was about nerdy as it gets, folks.

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