Building a Better Baseball Game: Part II


posted 7/13/2004 by Charlie Sinhaseni
other articles by Charlie Sinhaseni
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While we’re talking about the strike zone, how about a dynamic strike zone? Real strike zones aren’t imaginary rectangles and they certainly don’t stay consistent for every single batter. What we need is a dynamic strike zone that varies based on the batter at the plate. Because of his crouch, Rickey Henderson had a very tiny strike zone in real life, but in video games his zone is just as large as Carlos Beltran’s. Designers could even give the player the option to play with this feature or without it. Hell, get QuesTec in on the whole shebang. Throw the cameras into the game and add another layer of realism to it all.

Real fans know how much strategy there is in the game of baseball. There’s much more strategy than just pitcher/batter and fielding match-ups. One of the most overlooked and underappreciated portions of the game come from the pitcher’s delivery. There are certain situations where pitching from the wind-up is more logical than the stretch, even when there are runners on base. For this we propose that video games allow players to choose whether they’d like to throw from the stretch or the wind-up. Whenever a runner is on base in a videogame the pitcher will always throw from the stretch, regardless of the situation. But what if there are two outs and there’s runners on second and third? There’s no need to hold the runners on because the primary concern of the pitcher in this situation is to get the out at the plate. There are other situations where this is pertinent as well. What if I’ve got a slow lumberer like Jason Giambi on first and there’s two outs? Few teams would even bother to hold Giambi on at first base, so why should they confirm to the stretch? This isn’t a major addition but it’s one of the little things that hardcore fans would welcome with open arms.

Some of the games are offering you the chance to fill the role of GM, why not give them some real expenses to worry about it? Team not doing well? How about you pull some funds from the field upkeep and put it into some new whirlpools? Then you’ll have to worry about the condition of the field. Let it slide too much and other teams will complain to the league office which will result in a penalty. It would also be nice to see a travel budget added to the list of expenses. Remember that scene in Major League where the guys fly on that beat up old plane and are too tired to play the next day? Make the stingy GMs who follow suit pay by lowering the stamina of players until the next game. Want to make the team travel from Boston to New York by bus? Make Curt Schilling start with 70 percent stamina, that’ll make you think twice about pinching pennies where it counts.
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