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Numero 88: Baseball Video Games Are The Best

Grown-ass men get to behave like children at times. That's what baseball's all about!

Little Leaguer Keith Scherffius and 2005 Twins draftee Henry Sanchez. Hope they're well.
Little Leaguer Keith Scherffius and 2005 Twins draftee Henry Sanchez. Hope they're well.
Steve Snowden/Getty Images
First Pitch: 3:10 PM CDT (21:10 GMT)
Weather: Maybe Hot, Maybe Rainy, Who Th'Fudge Knows
TV: Fox Sports 1 (that "Fox Sports 1" is a link, click it to find the station number on your cable system)

I'm going to the game today. Do you have any rituals when you go to the game? I used to have a ton. I had to wear the right jersey and the right cap and my Twins buttons and . . . it was a long list. Or else the Twins would lose.

Now I have very few rituals -- I don't suppose my totemic magic helps the Twins' chances much. I believed it did, once upon a time, and from those days I maybe have only one ritual remaining. I must play the contest I'm attending on a video game system the night before. It gives the Twins power, you see. Perfectly logical.

Video games got me back into baseball. I loved it as a kid, but was spurred by an abusive home & bullies at school into hating all sports for how mean people were when I failed at playing them. (I could hit a little, which surprised others in the Spencerian ritual of schoolkid captains picking teams for sports. I was always picked dead last for everything . . . exactly where I deserved to be in everything but baseball.)

Fast-forward to 2000. I was living in Santa Barbara, knowing nobody (why? Don't ask) and stir-crazy. I bought a PlayStation and the cheapest used game I could find, EA Sports' Triple Play Baseball. What made me fall in love with a baseball video game? Not dreaming myself a hitter or pitcher; hells no. What I liked was obsessing over adjusting the rosters. It was fun in an OCD way. It still is, and I still do it.

I could go on and on about baseball video games I'd adored. High Heat was the first to let you edit every single player (I remember the line from its manual; "Ichiro a power hitter? Not yet!") And that's what I've always enjoyed the most, tweaking the player ratings, adding new guys. It's less creepy than some dumb time-wasters. I hope.

The gold standard for baseball games is, naturally, MLB: The Show. Which lets you adjust pretty much everything. And allows you to play in the Metrodome if you'd like.

That segues into my all-time favorite video-game bit, brought to mind by comments JakeMorris and Branorama made last night. Remember the 4/17/09 game where Kubel hit for the cycle to spur a terrific Twins comeback? After Kubel's grand slam, Dick Bremer yelled on TV, "if you left this game . . . shame on you."

Well, I was at that Dome game, and I left. I was working, attending the game with elderly disabled people, one of whom had experienced a nasty seizure. We listened to the comeback on our way home.

Next year, "The Show"'s intro video featured Kubel's Gran Salami, and Bremer's admonition. You can skip those intro videos but I let it play every time; shame on me.

And last night, my co-worker who'd been along when we left the 2009 Dome game early got to love some Awesome Dozier at Target Field. How cool is that?


Your hurlers du jour are Alfredo Simon and Phil Hughes. Neither is having a spectacular year. Matchup-wise, Suzuki has done well against Simon while Mauer/Hunter have not. Yoenis Cespedes is a Hughes-killer. Rajai Davis, Alex Avila, J.D. Martinez, Anthony Gose are Hughes victims. Digits:

Name Of Guy ERA H/9 K/9 BB/9 HR/9 OPS v. L/R FIP ERA+
Phil Hughes 4.19 10.2 5.4 0.9 1.7 .769/.811 4.64 97
Alfredo Simon 4.18 6.9 6.9 3.1 0.9 .875/.585 3.94 94

Can't post lineups today, I have to head out pretty early. Just for fun, here's Dozier getting Gatoraded during a post-game interview last night (check out Plouffe sneaking up on him with the help of mascot TC, as fans cheer):