Happy Birthday, Pablo Sanchez

Today, August 18, is an important day, as it is the birthday of the greatest baseball player of all time: Pablo Sanchez. Yes, Pablo Sanchez. The Secret Weapon. You remember him, from back in the day, that Mexican-American wonder-kid who couldn’t speak a lick of English (or so he claimed), but could speak the language of baseball like nobody else. He could throw a no-hitter (although pitching wasn’t his main strength), hit the ball 723 feet, and was also a great multi-sport athlete who also played soccer, hockey, football and basketball.

To this day, it is said, if you find a sandlot, close your eyes, and think of him, you can still hear his song drift through the wind, reminding us all of the legend.

Feliz cumpleaños, Pablo. We know you continue to fight the good fight.

 

(Oh, and I guess I should take the time to wish a happy birthday to my sister as well.)

REVIEW: Strat-O-Matic Baseball Daily a great idea with room for improvement

The Baseball Continuum is on vacation, but here’s a bit to help hold you over.

The idea behind Strat-O-Matic Baseball Daily is simple: it’s a computer simulation of the famed Strat-O-Matic tabletop game, but the cards change day-by-day to reflect what’s going on in the real world. For example, if a player is on a hot streak, his card will change to make it more likely (for example) that he will hit a home run and less likely that he will strike out. Similarly, if the team’s ace has been getting shelled, his card will be changed to increase the odds that he’ll be having a bad day.

It’s a good idea, and it definitely has some good points and will no doubt get better in the future, but as it stands right now, it is not as good as it could be. The main reason for this lies in the interface and ease of use- it just isn’t quite up to the standards of the current generations of other baseball simulators that exist right now like Out Of The Park Baseball.

For one thing, it takes awhile to set up. You need to get online to download everything, which isn’t a problem, but you the thing is that everything is separate from each other. There’s the main game, but the Baseball Daily portion is separate from that. And other parts are also separate. There are a lot of games that do similar things to this these days, but it just felt clunky for some reason here. Perhaps it is all in the presentation.

For another, the controls and menus in the game feel like they are 10 to 20 years out of date. Again, it’s hard to really describe this, it’s more a case of feel, but compared to other games in the genre it feels like you need to click through more screens, fiddle with more settings, and the like.

However… once you do get it up and running to your satisfaction, it does exactly what it goes out to do and changes the roster day by day as you move forward and does the same with the player cards. Oh, yes, I’ve seen some complaints on their message boards and elsewhere that sometimes the updates aren’t correct, but for the most part, it definitely changes correctly. Players enter and exit your roster during the season as they did in the real world, and their cards also change accordingly. If you want to see if you could do better in the season than your favorite team’s actual manager, this is where you can do it with the exact same rosters available to them.

And, really, how cool is that?

So, while I can’t suggest it to everyone right now, I can say to keep an eye on it in future years as the game no doubt is refined and improved further.

Note: I was provided a free copy of the game.

CONTINUUCAST 9 featuring @StaceGots, WBC News and a special BIZARRE BASEBALL CULTURE announcement!

The Baseball Continuum Continuucast’s ninth episode with special guest Stacey Gostulias (and her cat)! Hit play above, download by right-clicking here, follow the RSS feed here or follow on iTunes here or Stitcher here (if the latest episode isn’t up yet, it will be shortly).

The 9th Continuucast, now able to fill a NL starting lineup!

 

First, Dan talks to Stacey Gotsulias (and her cat) about the Yankees, New Yankee Stadium, the super-expensive seats in said stadium, the possibility that baseball may one day have ads on uniforms, baseball’s attempts at broadening it’s fanbase, and more. Big thanks to Stacey, who can be followed on Twitter at @StaceGots!

 

Next, Dan give his opinions on Jim Leyland being hired for Team USA in 2017.

 

Finally, Dan previews the next Continuucast, and makes a special announcement about another area that the Baseball Continuum is expanding into! Fans of BIZARRE BASEBALL CULTURE will want to hear this!

 

Music/Sounds Featured:

 

“The National Game” by John Phillip Sousa

 

“Here Come The Yankees”

 

The World Baseball Classic Theme

 

“Flight of the Bumblebee” (AKA The Green Hornet Theme) by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov performed by the US Army Band (special “Bizarre Baseball Culture” remix by Dan Glickman featuring the Pablo Sanchez Theme and clips from previous and future Bizarre Baseball Culture pieces)

 

The Theme from Fallout 4

 

All sound and music used is either public domain or is a short snippet that falls under fair use.

 

OOTP Baseball 2017 Review

Note: I was provided a early review copy of the game.

First, let’s cut to the chase: Out of the Park Baseball is back in it’s 2017-titled installment, and it has maintained it’s strengths, improved in it’s weaker areas, licenses from both MLB and the MLBPA, and more data and options than ever. If you are wondering if it’s worth getting now over previous versions, the answer is: yes, yes it is. And if you are wondering if it’s a good OOTP to start with, I say: yes, yes it is. It’s not perfect, but nothing is.

Now, this review mostly focuses on what’s new. What I said in my three previous reviews still, for the most part, holds up.

But, man, what is added is substantial. Previous years may have added a bit here and there, or introduced features that, while good in theory, were somewhat unfinished in practice. And while that “never finished” feeling still is in effect in some areas of OOTP 17, this year’s installment is one of the most polished leap forwards in the series.

Take, for example, the 3D view. In previous years, the 3D view was sometimes more trouble than it was worth, and sometimes would wonk up the system. But now…

Screen Shot 2016-04-11 at 11.39.23 AMAs you can see, you can now see little peg-people representing the players. And they will move to represent the plays that happen. For example, if a batter walks, you’ll see their little peg move down to first, and if there’s a ball hit to left, you’ll see a little ball go to left and see the left-fielder chase it down. It’s not exactly high-technology, but it gets the point across. Even better, it doesn’t seem to affect how smoothly the game runs, although of course that will depend a bit on your computer. I love this, it adds a bit of “as it’s happening” flare to games that wasn’t there before, and turns what to me was something of a boondoggle way of viewing the field into something I’ll probably use regularly.

Also in that picture, you can see a bit of another great new feature: historical exhibition play! I covered this a bit during one of my “30 Teams, 30 Posts” installments, but I’ll cover it again a bit here. Basically, you can have any MLB team in history play any other MLB team in history. You could do this before, but it was very time-intensive. Now, it’s as simple as selecting a team and choosing your wanted setting and/or rosters. It’s both a good way to see interesting match-ups and also a good introduction to OOTP for people who haven’t played it before and don’t want to jump straight into the longer modes.

That doesn’t mean that the longer modes haven’t received updates. They have. In addition to the usual upgrading of rosters to their current state, is also the addition of historical minor leagues! Want to see what might have happened if Michael Jordan had continued his baseball career? You can!

Screen Shot 2016-03-24 at 10.06.07 PMWhile those are the big changes, there are also some small changes that, together, add a lot. For example, there are now computer-written recaps for games you play and/or simulate. Is it something that completely changes the game? No. But they are nice to have.

Really, if I have any issues with this year’s installment, it’s how the Steam version of it only supports the workshop for mods. In previous years, you could use a in-game system to download new logos and rosters from the internet easily, this time it only can connect to the Steam Workshop. While OOTP Developments has said that most if not all mods will eventually come to the Workshop, right now only two are there, meaning to get some mods you have to go poking around the internet for the files and install them manually. Annoying, but not a deal-breaker by any means. Hopefully it improves soon, though, as OOTP and Steam’s Workshop would seem to be made for each other.

But, really, other than that and maybe the occasional bug that will always rear up in a game of this scale and complexity, Out of the Park Baseball 2017 is quite possibly the greatest baseball simulator of all time. At least… until next year, when those mad geniuses will probably top it again!

 

 

 

BREAKING OOTP Ep. 7: Schlafly’s Royals (Also “30 Teams, 30 Posts” for the Royals)

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.

In 30 Teams, 30 Posts, I write a post (of varying amounts of seriousness) about every MLB team in some way in the lead-up to the beginning of the 2016 season. Earlier installments can be found here. This also fulfills the Royals part of that.

This will be a controversial entry in BREAKING OOTP. It’s going to be a bit political. You see, not too long ago, a woman named Phyllis Schlafly had an opinion on baseball. There’s nothing wrong with that. People have opinions about baseball all of the time. Some of them are even insightful.

Her opinion, however, was hateful, ignorant and wrong. She believes that MLB should KICK OUT ALL OF THE FOREIGNERS. In fact, she openly says “It is time to cut off visas for foreign baseball players, and return our National Pastime to Americans.

This, needless to say, is a bigoted and xenophobic view of baseball, and anyone who honestly believes it should be rightly sent to the dustpan of history. However, it’s also objectively wrong and ignorant. Even if she was right that Americans have a god-given privilege to have every baseball job in America (AND SHE IS MOST DEFINITELY NOT RIGHT), her arguments for the superiority of American MLB players are so paper-thin you could poke holes in them with a baby’s finger. For example, she uses the claim that the vast majority of Hall of Famers are American to “prove” that foreign players are inferior, utterly ignoring the fact that the vast majority of Hall of Famers came from an era before baseball became the diverse multi-national pool of players it is now. She also uses as “evidence” the fact that only Americans won the big awards in 2015, ignoring the fact that that was an aberration and that plenty of people from outside the United States have won those awards in the past.

So, to prove this bigoted old lady just how wrong she is, I’m going to show just how out-of-their-league a team made up entirely of American white guys would be in modern-day baseball. But who?

Now, she seems to think (according to her actual article, which I’m not linking to because I don’t want to give her the pleasure of the hits) the 1944 Cardinals were the pinnacle of baseball. Never mind that 1944’s Cardinals weren’t even the pinnacle of white American baseball, given most of the stars were off fighting WWII. Still, the 1944 Cardinals did win the World Series, so to produce her vision, I figure it would be a good idea to do it to the most recent MLB champions, the Kansas City Royals. It’s obviously not a one-to-one correlation, but it’ll do. Go below the jump for more:

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CONTINUUCAST 5: Rich Grisham of OOTP Developments

It’s time for the return of the Baseball Continuum’s Continuucast! Hit play above, download by right-clicking here, follow the RSS feed here or follow on iTunes here (if the latest episode isn’t up yet, it will be shortly).

Dan Glickman returns to bring the Baseball Continuum Continuucast BACK from obscurity! And, for the first time, he has a guest, as he speaks to Rich Grisham, the Chief Marketing Officer of OOTP Developments, the creators of Out of the Park Baseball. Their latest version, OOTP 17, is now available on Steam and on the OOTP website (https://www.ootpdevelopments.com/out-of-the-park-baseball/). Dan asks Rich about what’s new in OOTP, just how big/small the development team is, OOTP’s modding community, fan feedback, their partnership with MLB Players Association, and whether we may one day see the WBC in a OOTP game. After that, Dan talks a bit about how impressed he was with South Africa, France and the Czech Republic in recent WBC qualifiers, before previewing next week’s guest: Brandon DuBreuil of CPBLEnglish.com.

 

Music/Sounds Featured:

 

“The National Game” by John Phillip Sousa

 

The sound of the TARDIS from Doctor Who

 

Excerpt of the theme of Hardball Baseball 5

 

Excerpt from the World Baseball Classic theme

 

Excerpt of “Pennant Fever” from the Major League soundtrack

 

All sound and music used is either public domain or is a short snippet that falls under fair use.

“30 Teams, 30 Posts” (2016): OOTP ’17 (almost) determines the greatest Marlins team of all

In 30 Teams, 30 Posts, I write a post (of varying amounts of seriousness) about every MLB team in some way in the lead-up to the beginning of the 2016 season. Earlier installments can be found here. Today, the Marlins.

I am lucky enough to have on my hard drive a reviewer’s copy of Out Of The Park 17. While obviously the review will not be out for a few more days, I decided that for today’s “30 Teams, 30 Posts” I would use one of OOTP’s newest features to answer a question:

What was the greatest Marlins team of all time? Was it the 1997 Florida Marlins helmed by Jim Leyland or was it Jack McKeon’s 2003 Marlins?

Using the “Historical Exhibition” feature of OOTP 17, I’m going to find out… after the jump:

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