Omnibus · Sports · Video games

Hail the Demigods! The greatest baseball team (n)ever?

I suppose I should have commented on this over the weekend. The author of this article on Kotaku had the same idea I (and my friend) had at the same time. The difference is that while he compiled stats on Hardball, I compiled it on Micro League Baseball. At first, we were content playing our favorite team, the 1986 Mets. But when the team editor came out, (on a BBS anyway), we had to create our own team.

Of course the roster consisted of us and all of our friends from school. Of course we were not content with having average stats. We were not content with having All-Star numbers. We weren’t even happy with having Hall of Fame numbers. No, like proto-Barry Bonds and proto-Roger Clemens, we had to have unearthly production. Everyone in our starting lineup had to hit around .700. The HR to AB ratio had to be about 1:10. Our pitchers had to have an ERA around 1.00. Their K/9 IN hovered around 18.0. We didn’t have OPS or WHIP in those days, but our team averages were probably 2.750, and 0.5, respectively. What did we name our team, this roster full of immortals? The Demigods, of course.

So what happens when you put slow-pitch, beer league softball numbers into a Major League Baseball simulator? It didn’t take long for us to realize the folly that is the vast divide between fantasy and impossibly god-like. We decided to play the 1927 Yankees for our first opponent, and let the CPU manage our team, while we went outside and took a break. For those too young to remember the 1980’s, the load times on the C64 were ridiculously long – imagine the DMV, live customer tech support, and TSA airport security combined. A half-hour later, we checked back in. It was the 3rd inning, and the score was 77-0! It was then we decided to lower our numbers to mere slightly above all-time greatest. Our batting averages were dropped down to the .420’s (no pun intended, but you wouldn’t be wrong to suspect our sanity). Our pitcher’s ERA were doubled to roughly 2.00, and the OPS’ were somewhere near 1.500. In our “rematch”, the game was more competitive … just slightly. The score was 16-3. We then decided to put in our bench players, which, in our case, were the kids we didn’t like so much, and thus had pedestrian All-Star caliber numbers. That game was much closer: 7-5 victory.

It came as no surprise that no regular team could compete with us. The ’86 Mets, the ’75 Reds, the ’55 Dodgers, the ’39 Yankees, (or any pennant winning Yankee team) were getting shelled regularly 10-2, or 9-0. We were left with All-Star teams, and the All-Time AL & NL Greats as our regular opponents. It took a `Field of Dreams’ roster of Hall of Famers in their best regular seasons to put a scare into us. And even then, we suspected the CPU was cheating in order level the playing field. Scores were now in the vicinity of 5-4, and we even lost once or twice.

And all this time, I was staring at the TV monitor, with score book in my hand, keeping track of every at-bat. When I ran out of pages in my score book, I used graphic paper. And after every game, we went into team editor mode. I would recite the box scores, and my friend would enter in the new data. It was fascinating to see the batting averages go up slightly. Or on occasion, go down; especially when a player went 2 for 5, and his batting slips from .440 to .435.

The story of the Demigods was sweet and short. It wasn’t long before we all moved on. I still kept stats, but it was for my Strat-O-Matic, and Pursue the Pennant rotisserie teams, and my friend found a new favorite game to play his C64. We would team up again on another iconic C64 game, but that is for another post….

As far as Hardball is concerned, I still remember the last time I played that game. It was an epic duel against my friend. I was the Champs, and he was the All-Stars. It was a scoreless tie until the bottom of the 27th…. To this day, if you ever mention the name Monte Bautista to him, or the song “Clampdown” by The Clash…. Aw, fuck it! Let him blog about it! I’m still sore over it.

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