As I finished downloading the OSFM 1.5 Roster I started to think about which team I wanted to use for my initial three-year contract on MLB 18: The Show’s Franchise Mode. Most aspects of Franchise Mode are generally fun for those of us that enjoy crunching numbers in terms of which players we can afford and how we can project our team succeeding because of our prowess as a General Manager.
I generally avoid using top-tier teams because it takes the roster building out of the game in the initial season for the most part. That left me with a few teams I wanted to test out for the sake of their stadium and the players I’d be working with.
I have no desire to use the Marlins or the Rays because I truly can’t stomach either stadium and believe that both teams should be relocated for the sake of obligation to cities that actually have good sports fans no matter how their team is doing… that’s right – ‘shots fired’.
This left me with trying the Braves, Tigers, and Pirates.
The Braves would have been a great one to use before they lost a bunch of their top prospects because they violated numerous laws in the real world. So, that means you get Freddie Freeman as your power bat and then Dansby Swanson and Ronald Acuna. Sure, two prospects that have a lot of promise is nice, but wow… the team is hot garbage outside of that.
Onward, you have the Pirates, a team that is half-gutted with a couple mediocre additions in Musgrove and Dickerson. Once you realize that the team has virtually no one that can hit for power (Josh Bell is meh…) you will see that they have even worse pitching and you are wasting valuable trade currency by keeping Marte and Harrison around. I feel the same about Romero as the closer… seriously, why would any team keep a 90+ OVR closer if they won’t win more than 70 games? This team is at least another five years away from winning in any sort of sim experience.
The Tigers… well, let’s just say that Miguel Cabrera is literally the only player worth anything to your lineup. Fulmer seems to be a shadow of his former rookie year exploits. The rest of the team and the farm system are basically a perfect personification and ‘playerfication’ for the city of Detroit. Trash is less trashy than the MLB 18 version of the Tigers. Add to it that they have a stadium that is conducive to boring baseball with the furthest Center Field wall in the MLB and no real way to rob home runs if you had a player that could jump – yeah – it’s that bad.
The only saving grace is that these teams will give you longevity in your journey to build a team from nothing. Outside of that – you will see that being a poor team in money and in performance is an aneurism waiting to happen. Well, not waiting… give it about five games – it’s a short waiting period for a video game aneurism.
When I was younger I was a baseball fanatic. Ken Griffey Jr. posters adorned my bedroom walls and every summer consisted of a run down the driveway to see the sports page and look for the latest home run count. I am either extremely lucky or unlucky to have grown up during the height of the steroid era of baseball. Thankfully, my favorite player was never implicated in any of the investigations. Unfortunately, the second half of his career was marred by injuries and he never set the all-time record for home runs.
The moral of this story is that since his retirement I have had little reason to pay attention to baseball. I chose not to purchase MLB 12: The Show because there were enough changes going on next season that I figured I would save my $60 for that. Now that we are one day from the World Series and two teams I don’t follow are playing for the title; it’s time to start looking at next year.
Extra Wild-Card Game For Playoffs – This year we saw an addition to baseball that was a long time coming. The addition of an extra playoff series (even if it was only one game) that allowed for another reason to hope for the unlikely to happen with a second wild-card slot. 162 games in a season can often prove to be a marathon that most people stop paying attention to in the months of June and July. This year we saw the likes of the Indians and the Pirates have hopes of the playoffs dashed in the middle/late-middle of the season. The fact that they still had some hope was largely due to the extra playoff spot. In MLB 13 we should hold this as a sign that playing a full season of 162 games might not be a complete waste if you can squeak into the playoffs with an underdog team. Look out for my Tribe next season as we will be making a push with a new manager and hopefully a few new players.
Houston Moves To American League – One reason it was easy to pass up on MLB 12 was due to the fact that the move of Houston to the American League was announced. It takes away from a Franchise Mode when you know that after the first season you will not be able to realistically move a team to another league. This is minor from most perspectives, but it does take away from the immersion if you are in a sports game for the long-term. Even if it is one of the worst teams in all of professional sports.
Harper, Cespedes and Trout – These three players are bringing me back to baseball. It has been a long time since baseball has had a face to bring people to the sports page every day. BryceHarper is arrogant, sure… but he is one hell of a ball player and his talent is finally more than just some sort of YouTube homerun derby video. YoenisCespedes almost saved my fantasy baseball team this year and let’s face it – he plays on Billy Beane’s Oakland A’s. I love the opportunity to watch teams like Oakland play moneyball and develop talent however they can. Mike Troutalmost gave me faith that a rookie could win the MVP award and deserve it just because he is a solid player all-around… rather than some sort of brutish homerun king that can’t play defense. Next year could be the year that Trout really jumps to the fore-front as a true MVP contender.
Spring Time – Face it, baseball starts during the springtime. It is one of the few signs that the weather is about to get better after a long winter. I am already dreading the arduous drive to work every day during January and February. Opening day in baseball is unlike that of any other sport. When we see MLB 13 on the shelves it should give us hope that the snow is about to melt and we can get back to enjoying the weather outside… not to mention some of America’s past time.
Faith In Sports Gaming Renewed – Every August we are blessed/cursed with EA Football games. America’s favorite sport is largely football. However, when it comes to sports games – MLB: The Show and NBA 2K are the best ones out there. After the NFL season has come to an end we are often left with that pit in our stomach that there is no more football to watch. However, when we get that first smell of baseball it is hard to let it go. The smell of the leather with a baseball glove over your face, the sound of a hanging curve getting smashed into the bleachers and the feel of freshly mowed grass under your cleats should be enough to make you forget about football… at least until the draft.