If you’re like me, you’ve been looking for something – anything – to fill that Cincinnati Reds shaped hole in your heart. The time between the final game of the postseason and the first game of spring training is perhaps the worst time of the year for baseball fans. We’re left sitting on our couches, pretending to care about basketball and hockey. If it weren’t for football, we’d be doomed.
However, this year I have found a great way to put some baseball back into my life during this down-time: video games!
Now, I know some of you have never played a video game in your life. And to you, I say, you’re missing out. There are many high quality sports video games on the market. Some are very popular (FIFA, Madden, etc.) while others fly under the radar. Out of the Park Baseball ’13 is one of those games.
Unless you’re a huge fan of sports simulation video games (yes, I’m a nerd), you probably haven’t heard about the Out of the Park series. This game runs on Windows, linux and Mac OS X, so most of you will be able to play it.
The jist of the game is that you are literally thrown headfirst into a GM position in a baseball league. Of course you can take over one of the teams that are in the MLB today, or you can get a bit more creative. There are options that let you create teams and fictional leagues (including your beer-league softball teams). You can also take over a historical team, meaning if you’d like to take over the Boston Red Sox before they sold Babe Ruth and reverse the curse 100 years earlier, you’re free to do so. Want to take over pre-steroid era Giants and steer a young Barry Bonds onto the right path? You can do that as well.
But of course, one of the most fun aspects of this game is taking over a current day roster. I can boot Walt Jocketty out of his office and kick up my feet on his desk. I’ll fire Dusty Baker. I’ll switch Joey Votto over to short stop. I’ll sign Alex Rodriguez to another ten year deal. Because I can.
The only catch is that the rosters are currently an entire year behind. Reds fans will find a fully healthy Ryan Madson in the closer spot, paired with fellow fully healthy Nick Masset in the setup spot. Each player is assigned an ‘Overall’ rating and a ‘Potential’ rating. To me some of these ratings seem out of wack (Devin Mesoraco already has a full five star overall rating, as opposed to Ryan Hanigan’s two and a half). But, none the less, the game play is very addicting and fun.
(** Note — After some research, I’ve found that it is indeed possible to get up-to-date rosters. If you’d like to play with the new Shin Soo Choo’s Cincinnati Reds, let me know in the comments **)
I will caution you though. Every single aspect of running a major league baseball team is at your finger tips. Therefore, the interface can get sort of overwhelming at times. However, if you’re patient and want to take the time to learn what it truly takes to run a baseball team, this is the game for you. Perhaps after a couple of virtual seasons you’ll be a bit easier on ole Walt when the real season rolls around.
OOTP is currently 50% off, so buy it while it’s hot. There will ultimately be a Out of the Park Baseball ’14 coming out in a couple of weeks/months, so keep a look out for that. There is also a very high quality free trial, which I believe gives you an entire season of baseball to play for free. So, if you don’t feel like shelling out the dough for the game, try it out first. I’ve linked to the site throughout the article, but here it is again.
So, in between checking Blog Red Machine and watching the Pete Rose reality show, why not play some Out of the Park Baseball? I know I will be.