From Opening Day Until the Kansas City Royals Win the World Series!
(Or one of the other teams, I guess…)
Bienvenue and welcome to the very first installment of Diehard BaseballFAN! Each and every week, as the Major League Baseball season rolls on, Diehard BaseballFAN (DHBF) will give you the best, and worst, in baseball each week. From Chuck Platt’s misguided attempts to win the World Series with the Royals to Guy Desmarais resurrecting his sadly departed Montreal Expos, DHBF is the source for try blue baseball enthusiasm. For more information on the writers, checkout the Bullpen!
There’s a picture on my phone that is never gonna be taken off. It’s a picture of my TV screen with a banner under it that says:
World Series Champions
As incredibly sad and pathetic as this may sound, seeing that, knowing that it was only MLB 2K9, made me feel really, really good. There are a ton of issues with that game, but that hasn’t stopped me from playing it every day to (sort of) with the World Series. It was a good Series too, going 7 games against the White Sox. It would have been nice to see that really happen last October, but as the Cubs were completely shitfaced during the NLDS, and the Sox couldn’t hold off the Amazin’ Rays in the ALDS, that dream was quashed before you could say “billy goat”Â.
Now it’s a whole new season, with the same expectations. Of course there are; any fan who doesn’t go into the season hoping for a World Series win should probably never watch again. After playing 2K9 for the last month or so, I’ve gotten a good feel for the game (read: I know which bugs to not take advantage of so I can make the game somewhat competitive for the CPU) and I’m ready to follow the Cubs through their season, as they try to get that monkey off their backs once again.
It didn’t get off to a great start this past weekend, as the Cubs got swept out of New York to open up baseball at the new Yankee Stadium. Still, even though they lost those games, I can honestly say I didn’t really feel all that bad. Not just because the games didn’t count, but because I was able to go to the game on April 3, the first game ever played at the new stadium.
Even as a Cubs fan, I stood in awe of that ballpark. Everything about it is a spectacle, from the outside to the main hall, stores, concession stands, seats, the ginormous video board, and everything in between. I got to see Reggie Jackson throw out the ceremonial first pitch, stood ten feet from Mariano Rivera as he played catch, hung out with a great bunch of Yankees fans, who were all friendly even though I was decked out head to toe in Cubs gear (though the fact that it was a Soriano jersey probably helped. The only problem with it is that everything’s rather expensive…$25 for two cocktails? Gotta pay for that stadium somehow I guess. But everything else was amazing, and I’m glad I got to be a part of it.
I’ve always hated baseball video games.
For some reason, I’ve never been able to get into baseball in video game form. There’s only one game in which I’ve ever completed a season – Ken Griffey Jr. Presents Major League Baseball for Super Nintendo. Even that was a shortened season. I’ve never even come close to finishing a season in any other baseball game I’ve played.
Two years ago, I bought MLB 2K7 and absolutely hated it. Last year, wary of its potential suckiness but dying to buy a game with a Met on the cover, I bought MLB 2K8. After about ten 15-11 slugfests, I never played it again. Baseball games just aren’t for me, I figured.
But this is Opening Day.
On Opening Day, anything is possible. If your team wins on Opening Day, you’re in first place. You can daydream about your team winning the World Series even if conventional wisdom says they have no chance. Opening Day isn’t only about baseball being back; it’s also about the optimism that comes with the dawn of a new season.
The past two seasons for my team, the New York Mets, have ended in September collapses. This year, with a new ballpark and some new players, prospects for the 2009 season are looking pretty bright. So bright, in fact, that I’m going to try another baseball video game. I’m going to try and play The Bigs this year and see how they compare with the real Mets.
It might work out. It might not. But it’s Opening Day, and optimism is in the air.
I will admit to the fact that I have never watched an entire game of baseball on television. Sure, I caught a couple of innings here and there when I’ve been to bars that televised the games, but I have never really been a fan. Even when the Expos were still in Montreal, the only time I would care about the team is when school would give free tickets to the games. The Expos gave away a lot of free tickets. We would start in the rafters and try to make it to the VIP seats without anybody noticing. It was the good old days.
Now, the Expos have moved to Washington D.C., and the glory days of Montreal’s team are nothing but a distant memory. Larry Walker is no longer an active player, Ken Hill is long retired and Darren Fletcher is also gone, I have been told. My mission, by participating in this Diehard BaseballFAN feature every week, will be to bring back the Expos to preeminence. Sure, they might be gone, but I have a plan.
To accomplish this, I will be using the DS version of MLB Power Pros, which will make me able to get a little bit of play time during lunch hours and visits to the porcelain throne. I will pick a random team using the time honoured tactic of picking whichever squad has the best uniform, using the logos and colours as my main criteria. I have always been a fan of green, and I like teams that use aggressive imagery in their name and representation. My perfect team would be named the “Murdering Mad Dogs”, and they would obviously be lime green. I have been told that such a thing does not exist.
The second part of my plan includes bringing home every players who has in the past played for the Expos. I am aware of the fact that time is passing fast and that the number of active ex-Expos is diminishing rapidly, but I have scouted the roster and noticed that Cliff Floyd and Mark Grudzilanek (aka Gruddy -Chuck)are STILL playing. I hope Pedro Martinez didn’t retire yet.
My main objective will be to bring this band of rag-tag players togethers and make them champions, effectively producing my own interactive version of the movie Major League. I was also a fan of Angels in the Outfield as a kid, but it didn’t stand the test of time last time I have seen it. This is a strange thing. I have never been a baseball fan, but I have always liked baseball movies.
The Expos may be history, but their spirit will live strong this year. You can count on it.
Being a Mets fan, it should be obvious that I should pick the Mets to be my team to lead to prominence. After all, the last couple years have been painful; the Mets have choked away their division two years in a row, only to watch the hated Phillies not only win, but remind New York of that fact with every opportunity; last year, it was Jimmy Rollins running his mouth, this year it’s Cole Hammels. The Mets are a mess, and need a pick-me-up that K-Rod and J.J. Putz can’t provide themselves.
However, Mets fans don’t have it that bad. Not as bad as the team I’m going to be taking this year.
Picture a team that plays in an area which is known for being perpetually rainy and cold. This area has two “major” sports teams, and had three before it lost one of them in one of the biggest swindles in sports history. Even worse, none of their teams are good; their football team, having made a Super Bowl a few years ago and having won four straight division titles, have plummeted back to earth with a 4-12 record in the worst division in football, while their baseball team won the not-so-coveted distinction of being the most worst team for a lot of money in baseball. Even their college teams suck, with one of their D1 football teams going winless this past year. To make things even worse, one of the icons of this city, a man by the name of Ed McMichael but always just “Tuba Man” to the locals, was brutally murdered by a group of hooligan teens.
It’s been dreary in Seattle for many more reasons than simply the weather.
I can’t empathize with Mets fans’ problems; a lot of New York’s issues are self-caused. Seattle’s fans did nothing wrong to earn their plight. It’s either been poor leadership in the front office (the Mariners), poor leadership at coach (the Washington Huskies), the natural progression of a team in a league defined by it’s parity (Seahawks), or a franchise hijacking so shameless, and so disgusting, that it makes the Colts leaving Baltimore under the cover of darkness for Indianapolis seem friendly by comparison (the Supersonics moving south and becoming a team so reprehensible, I won’t even mention them by name).
Therefore, I’ve taken it upon myself to leave the Mets for one year, and do what I can to bring pride and joy to the good people of Seattle. I’m leaving New York to sign a one year, free-agent deal to bring a championship home to Seattle.
In this blog, I’ll be detailing my experiences with the Seattle Mariners, as played in MLB Power Pros 2008. I will be playing the games per Seattle’s 2008 schedule (Power Pros 2009 isn’t out yet, alas), and have instituted the Fantasy Draft, so my Mariners will be unrecognizable from their real life counterparts. I will detail my roster in the next update, as well as my season’s progress so far, and over the coming weeks, I will also talk about my views on baseball, as space dictates.
It’s my fault. Blame me. I am the reason the Royals will suck mightily this year. Why? I think it’s because someone asked me who has the best chance to win the AL Central and I blurted out “The Royals!” without thinking. Why, oh why, would I lay such a curse upon my beloved Blue Bombers? The Royals will be good this year. They will shock teams that expect them to be the 100 loss punching bags of years past and not the lean mean hitting machine they are now. The Royals are young, talented, and packed with the kind of fruitcakes I love most about baseball. I will never understand what possessed me to say they would win the Division out loud, but I am sorry.
That being said, the Playstation 3 offers me a chance to correct this with only moderated amounts of pain. This whole Summer, I will slave away at MLB 09 the Show and replicate this dream season. Hopefully, my little digital Jose Guillen will contain his temper, my virtual Mark Teahen will stay moderately sane, and Mike Aviles will not be the let down that the national sports press has framed him as. This is the year that the Royals win more than they lose, the year that they get some much deserved praise. This is the year that the Royals, and I with them, Chase 85.