In BREAKING OOTP, I push Out Of The Park Baseball to it’s limits in various scenarios. Some will answer questions, some will settle scores, and some will push Out Of The Park Baseball to it’s very limits, to see if I can literally cause the game engine to beg for mercy.
Last time, we made the Seattle Mariners be full of Mario and Donkey Kong characters. This week, though, we have a exhibition series between the MARIOners (minus any Mariners) and… the Backyard Baseball kids (shown here to be on the Dodgers, because reasons)! Yes, Mario vs. Pablo Sanchez. At stake: The title of GREATEST VIDEO GAME BASEBALL TEAM OF ALL TIME.
Or something like that. Go below the jump, and be sure to check the previous post to see how I created the Mario characters- I used an almost-identical process for the Backyard Kids:
First off, our teams. First, the Seattle MARIOners. Without any actual Seattle Mariners on the team, their positional depth-chart looks like this:
TALE OF THE TAPE:
Going position by position, the Backyard Baseball kids hold the advantage in most areas. Achmed Khan is a better 2nd baseman than Funky Kong, for example, and Pablo Sanchez is a far more complete player in center than Yoshi. At only two positions can the Mario characters be said to have an advantage: Catcher (where Petey Piranha beats out Mikey Thomas) and first base (where Bowser beats out a fairly out-of-position Pete Wheeler).
However, when one looks closer, it is not as big of a rout on paper as it seems. For one thing, the MARIOners seem to have a slightly better rotation, with three of the top five starters in the game belonging to them. For another, the MARIOners ironically have a deeper bullpen: due to the fact they have so few relievers, their starters are more likely to act as long relievers, bringing them unparalleled depth that the soft middle relief of the Backyard Baseball bullpen cannot hope to match. Also, the MARIOners have home field advantage in this series because… reasons.
So let’s get started:
The starting lineups are like so:
The Starting Pitcher for the Dodgers is Angela Delvecchio, AKA ‘Sugar Pop’, the best pitcher in the Backyard franchise. Like all players from her neighborhood, she brings a fastball, a changeup (slowball), curveball and screwball (the hooks):
It does not begin well for Peach, as Pete Wheeler has a lead-off triple and then is able to score on a Kiesha Phillips groundout. However, she is able to get Pablo Sanchez to ground out and then strikes out Achmed Khan to get out of the inning with just a 1-0 deficit.
Sugar Pop, however, is able to get a 1-2-3 bottom of the first. And so begins a string of innings where nobody scores. While Delvecchio is clearly the better pitcher and Peach has to get out of a tight jam or two, the score remains 1-0 until the top of the fifth, where Stephanie Morgan and Jorge Garcia have consecutive hits to put two men in scoring position with no outs.
Up comes Pete Wheeler:
The game remains tied when Peach leaves the game in the top of the 7th with one out and Pete Wheeler on first. Tiny Kong comes in to replace her.
To the surprise of absolutely nobody, Pete Wheeler takes off for second. To the surprise of many, though, this happens:
Pete Wheeler has 100 in all of his running stats. His scouting report describes his speed as “blazing”. And yet he got thrown out at second by a character that doesn’t technically have arms. Presumably Petey shot the ball out of his mouth, or something.
The caught-stealing is even more important as Kiesha Phillips hits a single on the next pitch, bringing up Pablo. On the 1-1 pitch, Kiesha- always speedy for somebody her size- steals second. The Secret Weapon then works the count and eventually draws a walk, because Pablo Sanchez doesn’t even need to hit the ball to hurt you.
Of course, that doesn’t really matter, because Tiny Kong then strikes out Achmed Khan to end the half-inning. Angela Delvecchio, meanwhile, effortlessly sends down the MARIOners in order in the bottom of the 7th.
And then, to start the top of the 8th, Mikey Thomas hits a ball to the very deepest part of center. So deep that even Mikey Thomas, who’s baserunning ratings are mediocre at best, gets a triple.
And then, disaster strikes, as on a 1-2 pitch Jocinda Smith hit a liner towards left. Mario jumps with all of his might, but it just gets out of his reach, falling in for a RBI single that makes it 2-1 for the Backyard Kids.
And then, later in the inning, with Smith on second and Stephanie Morgan up, this happens:
With that, and with the score now 4-1 Backyard, Tiny Kong is pulled for Goomba…. who promptly gives up a home run to Jorge Garcia. And a double to Pete Wheeler. And then he finally stops the bleeding when Pete Wheeler is again thrown out trying to steal, and Kiesha Phillips strikes out. 5-1 Backyard going to the bottom of the 8th.
And, ultimately, that is all she wrote for Game 1, as the Backyarders tack on another in the 9th and then Amir Khan strikes out the side to end Game 1. Final score: 6-1, Backyard.
So, with the Backyard Kids up 1-0, we head to…
This showdown is between Kamek the Magikoopa and Luanne Lui, AKA ‘Lulu’. She possesses the best changeup of the Backyard Kids, but her fastball is lacking:
The beginning of the game goes well for the Mario characters: Magikoopa works a 1-2-3 inning to start the game, and then Yoshi singles and then steals second and third, allowing Mario to get him home on a groundout for a 1-0 lead for the MARIOners.
And then, in the second inning, Team Mario extends their lead thanks to Wario:
Excuse me, 4-0:
And that proves the story of the game, as the MARIOners batter and bash their way over the Backyard Kids to a 12-2 victory, with Bowser having two HRs on the day. As you can see, Bowser won the Player of the Game.
Now, with the series tied 1-1, the two teams headed to LA for…
Waluigi, the Cy Young of the last installment of this series, was to face off against Kenny Kawaguchi, the wheelchair-bound righty:
One thing to keep an eye out for with him though: his balk percentage. Due to the fact that the rules of baseball weren’t really made with a wheelchair-bound child in mind, it’s possible he could be called out for a lot of balks.
With the game now under NL rules, here’s how the lineups now look:
The Backyarders draw first blood in the bottom of the first thanks to Kiesha Phillips:
They would extend the lead to two in the bottom of the third on a Pete Wheeler solo shot, and another run in the sixth, but for the most part the game is a pitching duel, albeit one where Kawaguchi clearly dominates. Once Waluigi leaves after being pinch-hit for in the seventh, however, the Backyard kids jump on the MARIOner bullpen for four runs in the bottom of the 7th to make it 7-0. That is final score of the game, as Kenny Kawaguchi goes the distance for the shutout:
And so, now up 2-1, the Backyard Kids was ready for….
A showdown between Princess Daisy and Marky Dubois, it would be the Backyard Kids who would find the scoreboard first, in the bottom of the second, as Mikey Thomas knocked a fly-ball just fair into the right field seats to give them a early 1-0 lead.
And, for awhile, that score would hold, as the two pitchers were masterful.
But then, in the top of the 8th, Funky Kong and Wario had two straight singles. Dubois was at 92 pitches, but the manager kept him in. Luigi came to the plate…. and struck out.
The pitcher’s spot was next. Daisy, who actually isn’t a bad hitter, was pulled for Birdo, who grounded out to third. Still, there were now two men in scoring position, but with two outs.
And to the plate came Yoshi. Dubois was at 99 pitches, but still was in. The game, if not the entire series, could come down to this…
Goomba came in to relieve Daisy, and then promptly gave up two runs. Amir Khan then slammed the door in the 9th. The Backyarder won Game 4, 3-0, and now stood one win away from taking the series.
With their backs to the wall, the MARIOners decided to skip King Boo and switch to the four-man rotation, and putting in Princess Peach to start the game. The Backyard Kids, however, stuck with Sally Dobbs. However, the bigger problem was what had happened to the MARIOners off the field:
Yes, Funky Kong was going to miss the rest of the series due to the fact he shot himself in the foot. Funky, of course, is a noted gun-nut. No doubt there would be attempts to void his contract after the series was over.
With Funky now out, the MARIOners were down to 24 players (because I sure as hell am not going to create Monty Mole or a Hammer Brother just to make up for Funky’s recklessness!). The lineup for the MARIOners now looked like this:
And it didn’t begin well for Peach, as she gave up a lead-off single to Pete Wheeler, who later stole second. And then, up to the plate… came the secret weapon. Yet to go yard in the series, he now threatened to give the Backyard Kids an early lead in the game that could get them the title.
And he got a big piece of it:
Yoshi would later star at the plate. In the third inning, with Luigi at second after a series of bunts and two outs, Yoshi worked a full count then gave the MARIOners their first run since Game 2:
In the fourth inning, the Mario characters would extend their lead, as King K. Rool slammed a 441-foot dinger to center to make it 2-0.
And in the fifth inning, Donkey Kong knocked a ball hard to deep right-center, extra-bases for sure… or he would have, if not for PABLO SANCHEZ!
In the bottom of the 6th inning, though, Peach was visibly tired. After 85 pitches and a lead-off single by Pete Wheeler, she was pulled for Toad and not, as many had thought, King Boo, who would have been the Game 5 starter if it wasn’t do-or-die. Toad had not pitched yet during the series, and was hardly one who could be expected to face the murderer’s row of the Backyard Kids.
And then, Kiesha Phillips proved how bad that move was:
…and Achmed Khan, who popped out into foul territory….
…and Mikey Thomas, who grounded out.
Amazingly, Toad hadn’t completely screwed away the lead, but the game was tied, 2-2, going into the 7th. After the MARIOners went 1-2-3 in the top of the 7th… Toad again came out. Because the MARIOners manager likes to live… dangerously.
Jocinda Smith led off with a single, and Annie Frazier then bunted her over to second. And then Toad walked Stephanie Morgan. And yet, he stayed in to face Sally Dobbs, who laid a nice sacrifice bunt. Now, with two outs, there were two men in scoring position, Pete Wheeler coming up… and yet Toad still remained in because who-the-heck-knows.
And, amazingly, Toad got Wheeler with a great pitch at the knees to end the inning and send the game to the 8th tied at 2, where Toad was mercifully pinch-hit for by Birdo.
Mario would hit a two-out double in the 8th, but Bowser was unable to get him home, and then in the bottom half, Tiny Kong came in.
She struck out Kiesha Phillips to start the inning, but then walked Pablo Sanchez, who then stole second. They decided to intentionally walk Achmed Khan after that to set up a possible double play…and then Luigi screwed up, losing the handle of a would-be inning-ending DP hit by Mikey Thomas and allowing the bases to be loaded with one out.
And then Jocinda Smith hit what would likely be the nail in the MARIOners coffin:
Sally Dobbs went out in the top of the 9th to go for a complete game, and would give up a single to King K. Rool to start the inning. However, Rool would die at second on a fielder’s choice, and Wario would strike out. All that hit by Rool would do would cause Dobbs to hit her pitch-count, bringing in Gretchen Hasselhoff to pitch, who got Luigi of all people to go down looking to END THE GAME AND WIN THE SERIES FOR THE BACKYARD KIDS!
And so, with the victory, the Backyard Kids partied down to 1997’s greatest jam:
The Series in Review:
The series was won by the Backyard Kids 4 games to 1 and outscored the MARIOners 24-15. And 12 of those 15 runs had come in Game 2, the 12-2 blowout. And that, in a way, shows why the Backyard Kids won: only once were the MARIOners able to knock out a Backyard Starter and get to the soft underbelly of the Backyard bullpen, while the Backyarders were able to do so with regularity, a situation exasperated by the fact that the MARIOners only used their starters in relief twice, both times with King Boo and both times after the damage had already been done. Some MARIOners fans believe that the stamina of the Backyard players may have been the result of Performance-Enhancing-Juice-Boxes, but this has yet to be proven.
Just for kicks, I simulated a 162-game schedule between these two teams. Here are the results:
As you can see, the Dodgers/Backyard Kids are clearly the better team, and once against it is clearly because of advantages pitching and the advantages that the Backyard Lineup had over the MARIOners at nearly every position.
So what, exactly, does this tells us? Well, it obviously means that the Backyard Baseball players clearly play at a higher competition level than the Mario characters?
So you are now wondering: “But, wait, didn’t the MARIOners win the World Series in the last installment?”
And I say: Yes, but they were facing the rest of Major League Baseball. That’s an entirely different thing from facing the Backyard Kids.
Consider: The Backyard Kids played their games- and their games were programmed to represent games- against teams of Major League all-stars. They were going against- and were having their ratings compared to- players like Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey, Cal Ripken, Derek Jeter, and the like. By contrast, the Mario characters were created by Nintendo only with each other in mind. Perhaps if the Mario characters were facing All-Star MLB competition all the time, they would be able to improve their skills and one day be able to beat the Backyard Kids. But until Nintendo goes and makes the “Mario Major League Baseball” game I want, we may never know…
So until next time… this has been BREAKING OOTP!
Special thanks to the Mario Wiki (certain documentations for the Mario sports games), GameFAQs (certain documentation on the Mario sports games), the Cespedes Family Barbecue (their conversion scale of 1-10 to 20-80 talent using the Backyard Baseball scale, which I used as part of my mix to determine OOTP rankings for, as well as certain other information related to the Backyard series), OOTP Developments (creating OOTP), Youtube (for providing certain links), the late, great Humongous Entertainment (for creating the Backyard sports series), and Nintendo (creating Mario).
No apes were hurt in the making of this installment. Not even the one who shot himself in the foot.
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