The First 67 Games

I wish I had thought of this sooner, but the events of a recent game compelled me to start writing about the progression of my franchise mode in MLB 13: The Show. First, let’s get down to some backstory and I’ll fill you in on the progress to this point.

The first baseball game I ever played was Roger Clemens MVP Baseball, which was borrowed from my brother’s friend, on my Super Nintendo. There were no licenses other than that of the Rocket (pre-steroid allegations), so we played with a bunch of nobodies and Clemens as the ace of the Boston Crabs. Things changed upon moving to 3D when we got Major League Baseball featuring Ken Griffey Jr. for Nintendo 64. It remains the only game where I fervently traded for all the 10 rated power hitters at each positioned and watched as I ran up the score on my brother (might be the only time I scored 20 runs in any game as well).

As the next generation of consoles came along and we sided with the PlayStation and after a few years of All-Star Baseball, we made the switch to Sega’s World Series Baseball 2K3. What made the decision so easy then was the inclusion of ESPN’s presentation (yes believe it, there was a time I didn’t completely loathe them) making it feel as if we were watching the games on TV. Features and graphics wise it was okay, but they innovated on the presentation side in the following years including cheering and jeering fans, great soundtracks, and other stadium effects. By 2K8 they made all the major movements driven by use of the seldom (in sports games) used right stick, which made things more shall we say…dynamic. They never really perfected it, but it was great element to be honest. After 2K10, they really stopped trying and they literally came out with the same (buggier) game every year.

I had not really engaged in a baseball game again until roughly a month ago, after I finished Bioshock: Infinite. As it was my first full week of unemployment I decided baseball would occupy it still even when the Yankees weren’t playing. To the surprise of my brother (who’d already been playing The Show since 2011), I was quickly several games past him in my franchise mode by the end of the week. They had recently adapted the right analog stick for many of the functions on the field (at least you were able to switch between that and the buttons if you preferred) so it wasn’t too hard to make the switch.

However it was quite the struggle at the start. In April I managed to escape the pit after a 1-7 start and finish 14-14 in a difficult opening to the season where the Yankees (yes of course I use the Yankees and I wouldn’t have it any other way) play 28 games over a stretch of 29 days that spills over to May 1. May started with another 5 game losing streak including a sweep by Oakland at home, which is then matched by 5 straight Ws to Colorado and Kansas City on the road. I continued to struggle in The Bronx as I would drop four of six games in the coming homestand as I continued my attempt to climb over the .500 mark.

The final two weeks of May were kind, as I swept an 8 game road trip against Baltimore and Tampa Bay, a home and home against the Mets and the opener to a series against the Red Sox finishing the month with an 11 game win streak to get me to the much more respectable mark of 32-23 on the season. June got off a bit shaky, dropping the next two to Boston, but I quickly recovered sweeping the Indians to end the homestand and would win 6 of the next 7 as I started a West coast swing in Seattle.

Now the cause of this documentation, another sweep at the hands of the Oakland Athletics. The first game was easy going until the 6th, when the A’s score two to get the game to 4-3. Next inning they take the lead 5-4 to which I answer back in the 8th to tie at 5. In the 9th on the first pitch, reliable David Robertson serves up a walk-off homer to the pinch-hitting Chris Young. Game 2 was a disaster giving CC his worst start of the season giving up 6 runs in 5 laboring innings in a 9-4 loss. Game 3 was another with a bleak start as Kuroda gives up 6 in 6 innings. Then Logan in relief serves up 5 more in the 7th with Joba having to get the last out for him. In the 8th I muster up a rally with 7 runs to get it to 11-9 and then tie it the following inning. Robertson already in the game, gets two quick outs in the 9th before giving up another walk-off HR.

So I stand at 38-29 with 95 games to go, tied atop the AL East with the Blue Jays. I’m first in most offensive categories with a team batting average of .329 thanks to Canó batting .370, have nearly 50 more HRs than the second best team with Granderson at 33 for the year, and I’m recovering from a major league fourth worst staff ERA of 4.23 from some really high scoring games early on. I’ll update these when I complete a month or when something odd happens, but it’s turning out better than expected so far.

-Mikhail

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