In response to the recent brouhaha over Dash’s pizza posting, I posit the following:

1. There is absolutely nothing wrong with Mr. Hammerskjold’s establishing American pizza along a Chicago – New York scale, or for the pretentious, binary grouping. The two styles represent the culinary extremes of American pizza (authentic Italian pizza being an entirely different species), but also the archetypes to which all the pizza in between must attempt to conform.

2. New Haven pizza [[DH: Notwithabang has misread me; New Haven pizza, at least in my opinion, is close to the top of the Pizza scale, if not the top. This emendation demanded its insertion directly into the text. Boston is pizza hell.]] (and much of Northeastern pizza) is pretty subpar, but it is not pizza hell. It is instead a wasteland, desolate of any benchmark of flavor. By extension, its residents do not constitute a pizza subaltern, they are simply the unwashed masses of the pizza-illiterate.

3. There does exist a pizza hell, however, and that place is California. Not unlike a Hieronymous Boesch painting, in California, pizza that has only been middling in life (and otherwise unwilling to sin boldly, like NY/Chi pizza) is tortured and deformed, crushed under heaps of salad and guacamole, or worse, piles of cheesesteak or Tex-Mex frippery. If there does exist such a thing as a pizza subaltern (itself an awkwardly reappropriated term, used to steal the voice of the disadvantaged for use by vacuous post-colonialists), then what is really needed is for a crusading chef, a pizza-making Charles Napier, if you will, to make an example of a few California Pizza Kitchens here and there and bring sanity to the region.

For the uninitiated Saladeers, Sakura is the evil final boss of the Wii Sports Baseball subgame. Her vicious combination of wild pitching and powerful hitting render her a devastating, nigh unbeatable nemesis. But all is not lost – if you follow my simple guide to domination, you shall find an intimacy with victory that may lead to spooning.

Pitching

This is where you win. Sakura’s team are all hitting maniacs and if you’re not careful you’ll be mercy ruled in the first inning. You can not throw strikes. If you throw a strike, a base hit or home run will follow. The secret is to throw bad pitches that still draw swings. There’re numerous methods to this, but the simplest algorithm is

Always pitch outside. Always throw as slowly as possible.

You will walk some folks. Go ahead and walk them. Do not throw a strike just because it’s a 3-0 count. Sakura will still get some hits and some runs, but trust the algorithm. Follow the system and she will score between zero and four runs per game.

Batting

It can be hard to score runs against Sakura. Thankfully, if you follow the pitching algorithm you won’t have to score many. The true way to destroy Sakura is pitch selection, but as that’s a developed ability and can’t be broken down into a system, I provide a simpler alternative.

Don’t swing until you have two strikes.

Force Sakura to throw a lot of pitches. Your goal in the first two innings should be to draw at least 25 pitches each. At pitch 38 Sakura will begin to sweat and at pitch 50 she’ll begin to sweat hard. When she sweats hard in the third inning, every other pitch will be an error (!) and float over the plate at 73 mph. That’s when it’s time to tee off. If you can score some runs early, great, but it’s more important to draw a lot of pitches out of Sakura. If you get good enough at this she’ll start walking in runs.

Eventually you’ll have earned enough points that you’ll need beat Sakura by Mercy Rule to continue advancing. When that happens you’ll have to learn pitch selection and score runs early – or pat yourself on the back but admit you’ve played a little too much Wii.

Bonus

Every computer controlled batter will ALWAYS swing at and miss a slow, inside splitter. The risk of using this pitch every time is hanging the splitter and watching it get pounded, but if you’ve already thrown two strikes, think about using this pitch to put the final nail in the coffin.