Thursday, May 8, 2014

A Real-Time Review of Out of the Park Baseball

A minute-by-minute review of Out of the Park 15, by Astros County.

5:15pm: Begin New Standard Game, entitled "Save It, Nerds" - go get drink.

5:16pm: Select Major American League, make a mental note to try a game built solely within the Mexican League.

5:17pm: Overcome natural inclination to play in Commissioner Mode (which means you're David Stern, and can basically force the Angels to give you Mike Trout for the Ghost of Mike Lamb). Also disable "Cannot Be Fired" mode. I'm going to play the game The Right Way - Evan Grant be damned. 

5:18pm: Select "Houston Astros" as the team I will Drayton Up and force to Play Like A Champion.

5:21pm: Allow minor-league managers to sign and/or release minor-league players. I also allow my minor-league managers to promote and demote players. I also allow my minor-league managers to set the lineups and pitching staff. I will set lineups, depth, pitching staff, make roster moves, sign/release/trade players, initiate and react to trades, and sign and fire coaches and managers. 

5:25pm: Check roster. Alex White, Jesse Crain, and Asher Wojciechowski are all on the DL. Maybe this game doesn't have to be SO realistic.

5:26pm: The highest-rated players are Jose Altuve, Dexter Fowler, and Jason Castro at three stars each. Jesus Guzman, Japhet Amador, and Marwin Gonzalez are the lowest-rated players at 1.5 stars. While Amador and Gonzalez have higher Potential ratings (2.5 stars), Guzman does, uh, not - he's at 1.5 stars.

5:30pm: Wife & Kid get home. Shut down computer, think about how to unload Guzman.

7:15pm: Still thinking. Maybe the Blue Jays?

8:11pm: Kid's in bed. Open game.

8:14pm: Astros players with highest Potential rating: Springer (4.5 stars), Villar and Altuve (4 stars) on 25-Man roster.

8:17pm: Singleton is at 1.5 stars overall, 5-star potential; Nolan Fontana has 3.5-star potential; Domingo Santana has 3-star potential at OKC; At Corpus, only Andrew Aplin has 3-star potential; Appel and Foltynewicz (who is somehow at Lancaster) have 3.5-star potential at High-A; At Quad Cities, Rio Ruiz has 3-star potential.

8:19pm: Need a pitching coach at Houston, so I offer Carlos Lopez a contract. I don't know who Carlos Lopez is, but he has "Legendary" status in teaching pitching so whatever.

8:34pm: After cleaning all the sippy cups for tomorrow, the 2014 season's predictions are released. Jim Crane has told me, "After evaluating several factors, I have come to the conclusion that you can do whatever you like, I don't expect anything." This is comforting.

8:37pm: The Diamondbacks have offered me Eric Chavez for Adron Chambers and Mark Appel. I figuratively rub my crotch in the Diamondbacks' face and make a mental note that the Diamondbacks' respect Appel's grit.

8:39pm: The Orioles, for whatever reason, put Dylan Bundy (Two stars overall, 4.5-star potential) on waivers. I claim him. And laugh and laugh.

8:41pm: The Top Prospect List has been released. Carlos Correa is the #1 overall prospect, Appel is #30, Singleton is #42, Springer #44, Foltynewicz #46, McCullers #77.

8:48pm: I actually hired Cecil Cooper to be the hitting coach at the Second Dominican Summer League team.

8:57pm: Dylan Bundy is now a Houston Astro

9:06pm: Traded Lucas Harrell and Nick Tropeano to Kansas City for Mike Moustakas and Danny Duffy. Don't judge me. I would have traded Harrell for a bag of Southwest Airlines peanuts because I hold grudges.

9:08pm: Houston's market size is "Small," Fan Loyalty is "Above Average." I just raised ticket prices by $2. Wear it, Houston.

9:10pm: Both Duffy and Moustakas go to OKC; Bundy goes on the 60-Day DL to let him heal. Then we unleash hell. Dominguez is on notice.

9:21pm: Offered Joel Hanrahan a 1-year deal for $850,000. Toronto wants Corporan and Appel for Adam Lind. I laugh and laugh.

9:25pm: The Dodgers offer Andre Ethier for Corporan and Singleton. I set Singleton's status to "Untouchable," so as not to waste my barely-valuable time.

9:29pm: In an effort to acquire an SP to replace Harrell, I inquire about Jeff Samardzija. Theo wants either Correa or Altuve, so I punch him in the right butt cheek.

9:35pm: Signed Tommy Hanson to a minor-league contract as insurance.

9:38pm: Minor-league system ranks 2nd in baseball.

9:39pm: G1 vs. New York: Villar (6), Altuve (4), Castro (2), Carter (DH), Dominguez (5), Fowler (8), Guzman (3), Hoes (7), Springer (9).

9:42pm: Hoes injured in G3. Astros take two of three from NYY.

9:47pm: Attendance is up 10.9%, averaging 30,241 fans per game.

9:48pm: Goatpen gets me. Up 1-0 in the 9th at Arlington, Joel Hanrahan gives up a run to send it into extras. Kevin Chapman loads the bases in the bottom of the 14th, and Qualls gives up a first-pitch walk-off grand slam.

10:02pm: Jerome Williams is sporting a hefty 11.37 ERA, so I put him on the trade market. There are seven teams interested in Williams, all of them seemingly willing to trade a corner outfielder in his 30s. The Giants are willing to part with Mike Morse...who is 3x25, hitting .120/.120/.200 for a -11 OPS+. His BABIP *is* .167, so...I end up trading Williams and L.J. Hoes to the Giants for 21-year old SP Kyle Crick and 23-year old SP Chris Stratton.

10:03pm: "Our fans aren't really happy about the loss of Jerome Williams. Overall fan interest decreases slightly." WHATEVER I'M RUNNING THINGS NOW. Raise ticket prices $1 to show them who's boss.

10:08pm: Houston is 8-10. Alex White is eligible to come off the DL.

10:10pm: Dexter Fowler is hitting .148/.258/.185, George Springer is hitting .182/.250/.318. This game is too real.

10:14pm: Mark Appel is 2-1 with a 3.28 ERA at Corpus. With the Astros 12-19, go to bed.

10:30pm: Still awake. Maybe move Fowler to the #6 spot?

11:42pm: Get up, send Japhet Amador to OKC. Bring up Singleton. Make a mental note that Mike Moustakas is hitting .328 at OKC. Go to bed.

1:39am: Get up, Astros are 21-30, and rank #23 in the Power Rankings. Go to bed.

3:13am: Trade deadline time. Send email to boss indicating I will not be coming into work that day...

The short version is this. If you let it, Out of the Park Baseball will take over your life. And you won't even care. You'll lie to your wife about what you're doing on the computer. You'll be playing with your child and start thinking, "I wonder what I could get for Matt Dominguez..." It's the most time I've ever spent thinking about a game that I wasn't currently playing. I've thought about how I could play at work. Buy Out of the Park Baseball, but do so at your own peril...