The Birth of a Dynasty

I mentioned a while back that I went and got MVP Baseball 2004 for the Gamecube. Well one of the things that kinda disappointed me about this game right when I got it was that there didn’t seem to be any season mode.. As in.. I couldn’t just up and start a season, and just play games against other teams, go to the playoffs, etc. It seemed like the only thing they had was the Dynasty mode, where you were in charge of both the Major League team, and the minor league teams for that organization.. You also had to take care of contracts, salary issues, Player’s happiness, Team chemistry, etc … Now, that’s all pretty kewl and all, but seriously.. if you’re planning on playing 162 games in the regular season (which I am, cause I’m a gamer), you probably don’t want to also play an additional game for the AAA team, and a AA game each time, along with making sure a bunch of fictitious millionaires are still having a good time, and playing nice with each other… More over… Dynasty mode seems to be more geared towards people who want to develop a team over a few years and create a lasting dynasty (an apt name, I guess)… So you can play up to 120 years with one dynasty organization. I gotta tell you, I’m not interested in playing for 120 years either… All that having been said, I started one up anyway, just to see what all was involved.. and was pleased to see that there are settings in the options for the game that let you turn a lot of that extra stuff off. Example: You can turn off “team chemistry” (I was right, Joel), and now the whole “This player isn’t happy with his contract, so he’ll play like shit the rest of the season” thing isn’t gonna happen. So the game won’t just up and let you sign all the best players to one team and then slaughter everyone, because of salary issues [Well, there are ways where you can, but I’m not gonna do it… there’s also no #23: Ron Veenstra on my team with arms like tree trunks who swings a telephone pole for a bat and can cover the entire outfield by himself… No Fatty McFatasses in my league either.] Anyway, all of that to say I don’t have to worry about Player Happiness, Team Chemistry, or Salaries at all, and *Bam!* I’ve got my season mode. It’s got all the stuff I wanted :

  1. Pitcher fatigue (I can’t start Wood and Prior back and forth all season.)
  2. Injuries (I’ma be hella pissed if Sosa goes out for the season..)
  3. Real Schedules (I’m trying to catch up to the actual season, so I can play along)
  4. All-Star Games, Playoffs, and World Series (I’m very excited to see how the All-Star Ballot is picked… the game says that those details will be available when I get further into the season.
  5. Stat Tracking (Everyone in the game starts out with a clean slate.. and thus far, the stats all seem fairly accurate. Most of my batting averages are around .200-.350, with Aramis Ramirez batting a sweet .398. Derrek Lee is in a bit of a slump, batting a sickly .173, with 3 homeruns. Sosa has 9 Homers, and leads the league in Homers and Total bases. Wood has two complete games, and is 2-0 after pitching 3 games.)

So yeah, obviously I’m playing as the Cubs… at this point I’m 11-0, though the games have been very close. There was one game that I chose not to count, as I was out of the room when the game wasn’t paused (I left it between innings, and the game resumed while I was gone) and it struck out two of my batters… I didn’t think it was fair to the players to leave that on their record. But a number of games have been very close.. Game 4 I was down 3-1 in the 8th when Ramirez cranked a 2 run homer, and Sosa came in in the 9th with a homer to end it. But the game that so far has taken the cake was Sunday. I was playing against the Braves, who have been pretty tough so far. Zambrano was pitching, and so far he’s been having a tough time as well, giving up a few home runs early on. Anyway, game is on, and Zambrano has a perfect game into the 4th, when he gave up a single. Top of the 6th he got into some trouble, and ended up giving up 4 runs, so we’re down 4-0. I just couldn’t hit a thing. Zambrano got pulled in the 7th for a pinch hitter, but still no runs. Finally it’s the bottom of the 9th, and I’m still down 4-0. Corey Patterson came through with a clutch 1 out single, and Todd Walker (he’s been switching in and out at 2nd for me.. ) came through with a single that put men at 1st and 2nd. Sosa came up and hit a hug e double that scored 2 [4-2]. Alou grounded out moving Sosa to 3rd, and Derrek Lee scored him on a single. With 2 outs, Ramirez hit a bloop single and Lee rounded the bases to just beat out a throw to the plate, tying it up at 4. A ground out ended the inning, and sent us to extra innings..

The 10th came and went… as did the 11th, and the 12th..

13..14..15..16..

Every pitch filled me with “the fear“… One hanging slider, and they’d be ahead… and with the way I was hitting, I’d surely lose. Twice Derrek Lee hit a double to start off an inning… both times I failed to score him… Honestly, all I needed was two long flyouts, and I would win.. and I couldn’t do it.

17..18..19..

They continued to burn through their pitchers, and by the 16th, they were on their last (including all of their starters… Sadly this was the end of the series, so I wouldn’t get the benefit of a tired starter the next day.) I, meanwhile, was trying to save my starters for their regular rotation… but by the 19th, my last reliever was nearing the end… so I warmed up Maddox, who wouldn’t be pitching for another 4 days…

20..21..22…

Bottom of the 22nd. Maddox has pitched 2 shutout innings. This game has gone on for over 2 hours. (an average game against the computer lasts around a half hour I’d say). Maddox is first up, and I’m long since out of pinch hitters, and there’s no way I’m taking him out anyway… so he grounds out to short. Corey Patterson then comes through with a nice double. Next Mark Grudzielanek comes through with a infield single that he just barely beats out. With Corey at 3rd and one out, things are looking good.. Sosa steps to the plate for his 10th at bat… After swinging through 2 high and out of the zone pitches, he gets served an off speed pitch low in the zone … and swung right through it for the K. I do believe I said some things than that, if I had any real power, would mean Sammy is headed for a endless stay in a place of fire and brimstone. With two down, and hopes fading, Alou steps up, and on the first pitch nails a single to left center, and the game is over.

Cubs win! Cubs win!

4 thoughts on “The Birth of a Dynasty

  1. That is amazingly cool. I had a video game circa 1984 called Micro League Baseball (http://www.mobygames.com/game/sheet/p,4/gameId,3951/) that did something similar that I used to play ALL of the time. I, too, did the 162-game season. I also tried to set up a league among my friends using MLB as the game engine… until they all told me how lame they thought it (and I) was. Nerdiest entry ever, indeed. :-)

    With MVP Baseball 2004, do you actually play the games, manage the games, own/manage the team, or any combination of those?

  2. P.S. I’m a little suspect as to the accuracy when the Cubs are 11-0. Not being cheeky, but that doesn’t seem reasonable.
    P.P.S. Are you going to post your standings and stats on your home page like the real thing? :-)

  3. peter: Years ago, I played Sportstalk Baseball for Genesis, and played through an entire 162 game season with the A’s.. it was the longest most boring thing in the world… No stats, no changes… and the “Sportstalk” feature was all of about 3 phrases… I finally figured out that if, with a man on, you kept throwing to first, then leaving the bag and instantly running back, you could get the announcer stuck in a loop where he kept saying “He’s Safe.. He’s Safe… Not in Time… He’s Safe..” the rest of the inning..

    With this game, I’m playing each game (thus making the 11-0 record a bit more understandable, perhaps? I’m super-great.) You have your choice of just simming the entire game instantly, simming it half inning by half inning, with the chance to jump in at any point, or playing it entirely… I believe you can also just manage the game, when you tell each batter/pitcher what to do, etc.. but I’ve never done that.. and it sounds like the kinda thing I wouldn’t like… unless I can just tell a player to hit a homerun and he will. (Or make me a sandwich… that would rule.)

    So I sim all the minor league games, and play through all the Major league games..

    As for the posting standings and stats.. that sounds really nerdy and fairly egomaniacal, so I’ll be sure to get right on that.

  4. The other cool thing about Micro League Baseball was that you could design “plays” from a managerial perspective. So if you had, say, Corey Patterson on 1B, you could design a play that says, “Take 3rd on a ball hit to CF or RF.” But if you had, say, Edgar Martinez on 1B, you could design a play that says, “Take 3rd on a ball hit to RF only.” And so on… it was very heavy on managing the games, with almost zero playing.

    MLB, aside from rogue (http://www.wichman.org/roguehistory.html), was probably the most instrumental game in getting me really into computers. (And, of course, using Norton Utilities’ binary editor to hack the game and give 500HP and basic invincibility in rogue. :-)

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