One of the great perks of SABR membership is access online to The Sporting News’ archives. While it now is dedicated to all sports, for a good chunk of it’s earlier history it was almost entirely focused on baseball. This allows us to see how players, ideas, teams and even countries first got the attention of the baseball press. So, similar to my article on the firstreferences to Japanese baseball, here’s a look at the first references to baseball in the Caribbean in the Sporting News archives…. just in time for the Caribbean World Series in February!
Because, for the first time in quite awhile (if ever), it’ll be officially licensed. Yes, Major League Baseball and Minor League Baseball are officially licensing the latest OOTP games, due out in March. That means that instead of having to import logos and stadiums, etc, it’ll all come pre-packaged (although, of course, we’ll still be able to make our own if we want). What’s more, it definitely gives OOTP more clout and officialness- in fact, it’s mobile version will be renamed “MLB Manager”. That will expand it’s reach to more people, bringing OOTP head Markus Heinsohn one step closer to world domination.
Some other things I’m excited for:
More leagues! They are adding the Australian League and Independent Leagues in both America and Japan! I love the global scope of OOTP and glad to see it’s default settings continue to grow.
Team Owners are more realistic: apparently now instead of simple “win now” or “win later” things, the owners will have both long-term and short-term goals and from the look of what the press release says they might not always make sense (for example, signing a star to a long contract, which as we’ve seen in the real world can be a total disaster).
Better finance and coaching systems. They are, of course, completely separate from each other, but I’m combing them because I’m looking forward to seeing more about them. The finance system apparently will be much bigger and involve season ticket sales, etc, while the personnel and coaches will now have personalities and the like. I’m interested.
Changes to team strategies, playoff news coverage and the 3D modelling. I’m especially looking forward to the last of these- OOTP 15’s modelling was a good first step but definitely had room for improvement. Fingers crossed it delivers! That fact that they’ve confirmed they will have the 30 MLB stadiums in from the start makes me very optimistic.
Little things like rainout rescheduling, different currencies (Yen, Pesos, Euros, etc.), improved HoF and All-Star Voting, etc. etc.
I, of course, will write more about the latest OOTP as more info becomes available.
Note: While I received no compensation for writing this preview, in the past I have received complimentary copies of “Out of The Park Baseball” from it’s developers.
In Bizarre Baseball Culture, I take a look at some of the more unusual places where baseball has reared it’s head in pop culture and fiction.
Last time, I introduced you to “Strange Sports Stories”, the on-and-off anthology of DC Comics’ Science-Fiction and/or Fantasy tales involving sports. That past installment was from the 1960s Brave and The Bold run of SSS, but this time, we’re looking at the Strange Sports Stories stand-alone series, from 1973. It only lasted six issues, but it’s first issue prominently featured baseball (amazingly, it wasn’t in any of the other five issues, and as far as I can tell no sport was featured more than once) in a tale called “To Beat The Devil!”
Written by Frank Robbins (who was primarily an artist, most notable for having helped create the character of the Man-Bat for DC Comics), penciled by Curt Swan (who is best known for his work on Superman comics) and inked by Dick Giordano (best known for his partnership with artist Neal Adams on Batman and the socially-conscious Green Lantern/Green Arrow book), this tale, as the cover (done by Nick Cardy, who according to Wikipedia is best known for his work with Aquaman and the Teen Titans) indicates, is about a face-off between a baseball team and the devil himself. The Devil, of course, is no stranger to baseball, primarily known for his involvement in baseball-themed musicals, but this is the first appearance by Satan in Bizarre Baseball Culture. Well, unless you count this weird guy from the second AAA Baseball/Marvel comic. I don’t.