MLB Front Office Manager

Don’t get it.

I love playing video games. I love baseball. Therefore, I love playing baseball video games. Some people hate video games and all they stand for, and if you are one of these people, you don’t need to read much farther. For those still interested, keep reading.

Over my life, I have played many different baseball video games. On the Sega Genesis, I played Big Hurt Baseball and World Series Baseball. For the Gameboy, I loved Ken Griffey Jr. Major League Baseball. For the Playstation 2, I became more of a fan of baseball video games. I really like the EA Sports MVP Baseball series, but I’ve also played the 2K and 989 versions. None of the other versions were very good. The first 2K and 989 (“The Show”) versions I played were horrible, and they were even much worse than the outdated and defunct MVP Baseball series. This past year, I bought the 2K8 game, but I was quickly disappointed. I took it back in exchange for MLB 08: The Show. It was much better and much better version than its predecessor. Still, it had its issues, and I hope the ’09 version is much better (until EA gets back to making it, I’ll have to go 989 — just inferior). The gameplay and realism (I’m big on realism. I hate guys hitting 100 home runs a season and killing opponents every game. Make it difficult on me. I want to lose occasionally. Granted, if I lose too much, I get pissed and controllers get broken) were very much improved to the point that I feel confident the next version will be good. I’ll do a review on it after I get it for my birthday (my mother never fails to get it for me for my birthday).

However, this post is dedicated to the new MLB Front Office Manager game that just came out. I had a gift certificate, so I took a shot on it. You know the phrase, “Burn me once …”. Well, I didn’t pay attention. 2K games have continually been a disappointment, and this is not an exception. I was really disappointed. I was so excited about it because I often think about trades and such, and this was the perfet opportunity to build my team and run it through a simulator (instead of me playing — human players always inflate stats when they get involved; this was going to be different).

I’ll start with some positives before I really rip into it. One thing I like is that Billy Beane is there helping you work through it. He sends “emails” to you recommending certain things and making sure you pay attention to others. Next, you can build a scouting budget and send scouts to Latin America and Asia, which is pretty cool and expected. In today’s game, you have to focus on the international stage. Next, the actual salaries are used. It sounds weird, but the one thing that kills me about the 989 games is that they continually fudge the contracts. Get the right ones, idiots. This game had the actual contracts, and arbitration and everything was built in. On a superficial level, they took care of it. But …

When it came to playing the game, it failed.

1) No big free-agents became free-agents. Mark Teixeira, Derek Lowe, John Smoltz (who always signed for around $13 million), Adam Dunn, and others re-upped with their teams. I tried it multiple times, and it always worked out that way. I chose the Seattle Mariners (remember my obsession with reality — I didn’t want to take someone’s job, so I took the guy’s job who hasn’t been there long), and I only offered arbitration to Raúl Ibañez, which he denied. Now, I didn’t expect everything to work out just as it did in real life. That’s ridiculous. But most of those players were not going to re-sign with their former teams without giving a crack at the free-agent market. Not only that, they repeatedly, after multiple trials, never took that chance. But the Angels did refuse to exercise the option on John Lackey. Really? Chipper Jones to the Cubs? Uh, hwhat?

2) Teams had a pretty stiff disregard for payroll. Payrolls jumped, and teams spent a lot of money on these players. Okay, so maybe they can’t work in the actual economy, but teams have limits. The limits placed on these teams were almost non-existent. For example, the Diamondbacks weren’t going to re-sign Adam Dunn for this season, regardless of the situation. Yet, they routinely gave him four and five-year contracts for $16 million per. Again, the economy prevented him from getting that deal, but regardless, he shouldn’t have gotten it from the Diamondbacks.

3) Finding a way to sync the players, their salaries (of which it is impossible to find out the terms of their contracts — if someone found them, let me know. I looked around and could only find the ’09 contracts), and their ratings (of which I didn’t have much of a problem with how they rated players) was impossible and difficult.

4) THEY DIDN’T HAVE THE MINOR LEAGUERS! If there’s one thing this game should have had, it was the prospects. Okay, maybe there’s something that prevents them from using their names in the game, but at least, use the ratings and fudge the names. Geez, if you’re the GM, one of the very most important things you have to do is manage the famr system. I want realism, and I want the actual farm systems, not just the 40-man rosters.

5) You can’t hire/fire managers or coaches, or I didn’t get far enough into the games to see if you could. Still, I figured you could pretty much do that at any time.

6) Accepted trade: Adam Lind for Kent Mercker and Corey Patterson? ‘Nuff said.

These weren’t the only problems, but they were some of the biggest.

I didn’t get to actual simulation of games, but it wasn’t worth it. I was really disappointed with the game, but that’s what I get for trusting 2K Sports. They usually just let you down. Honestly, if you want to be a GM, just play the franchise mode on most games, simulate the games, and make the managerial decisions. At least there, you have the added benefit of being able to play the game. Maybe the game will get better in the future, but I doubt it will get to the point of me wanting to really buy it.

Quick note: If there are any video game makers out there, I will try out the games for free and tell you what I think. I won’t charge anything. I just wonder if they play these games before they send them out.

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4 Responses to “MLB Front Office Manager”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Out Of The Park Baseball

    Learn it. Love it.

  2. Dan Says:

    With your passion for baseball history, you really should consider getting Strat-o-matic baseball. It’s not a GM style game (OOTP is good for that), but as a vehicle for absorbing yourself in baseball history, it’s fantastic. I’ve spent the last month replaying the 1920 Yankees season with cards and dice (I’ve yet to try the computer version) — it’s amazing how much knowledge about the everyday players of that era I’ve picked up in that time.
    It’s pricey and the website stinks, but the product is amazing. http://www.stratfanforum.com is a good start if you have any questions.

  3. The Common Man Says:

    I totally agree with the anonymous comment above. Out of the Park Baseball is the gold standard for GM sims. The attention to detail there is truly impressive. You can play it alone against the A.I. or in a league. And it strives for accuracy above all else.

    I played Strat-o-matic as a teen (still have it in my closet somewhere, with the ’90 and ’92 season cards), which was fun, accurate, and detailed but very time-consuming. Also, the GM opportunities you seem to crave aren’t really available. I haven’t played their computer version in years.

    Diamond Mind is more focused on its online content these days, but for historical accuracy, replay value, and online league play you can’t beat their offline game.

  4. tHeMARksMiTh Says:

    Interesting suggestions. I don’t really know much about any of them, so I’ll need to look them up. Thanks for the suggestions.

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