A lifelong goal...achieved?
So continuing on this whole Nintendo gaming kick. I recently decided my next challenge from my gaming past was to try and throw a shutout in Nintendo Baseball. Yep, the original Nintendo baseball game with 6 teams that had letters to describe the team since they couldn't use team licensing. So what they did was match the uniform colors to the team letter. The teams were: C (Cardinals), R (Royals), P (Phillies), Y (Yankees), D (Dodgers), A (Athletics).
The game was baseball in its simplest form. Nintendo baseball games got a lot better with the advent of baseball stars and bases loaded (yes Brian, i'm still working on getting that "footage" of Paste charging the mound in Bases Loaded).
Anyway, I've never thrown a shutout vs. the computer in Baseball. Its nearly impossible to do thanks to some internal "cheats" where the computer magically drums up some hits when they're down to score a run. I mean I've blown the computer out several times, scoring as many as 30 runs. But pitching wise, it's hard to keep the computer, or a human opponent for that matter, without a run.
I tried my quest with the Yankees at first and got to the 6th inning shutting out the A's, but gave up a 3 run homer in the top of the 6th (I went on to win the game 18-5). I tried again with the Cardinals and got to the 4th inning, but a 2 run double ruined the shutout (final score 13-4).
In my frustrations I took a break. I regrouped and decided for one more run using the "pitching rich" Dodgers. I drew the Royals as an opponent, so my odds of throwing a shutout instantly increased (granted this is 1985 baseball when the Royals were decent).
In order to make the game go quickly and to concentrate on pitching, I bunted pretty much all game to get easy outs. Such went the top of the first, where i made three outs quickly. The Royals were the home team, and they threatened to end the shutout early with 2nd and 3rd and 1 out. But the generic lefty Dodger pitcher rose to the challenge with back to back strikeouts to end the threat.
The Dodgers went 3 up 3 down in the top of the 2nd as did the Royals in the bottom of the 2nd with 2 more strikeouts.
The third inning I decided to swing away and smacked a solo homerun to center field. I bunted the rest of the inning to keep the lead 1-0. Bottom of the third the Royals hit a leadoff double, but a pair of pop outs around a strikeout ended the threat. The middle innings were quiet, with the Royals picking up singles in the 5th and 7th, but getting no further. I decide to keep 1-0 lead in hopes the computer "cheat" would try to kick in if i had a big lead built up.
The bottom of the 8th brought drama as the leadoff batter for the Royals blasted a shot to left center. However I jammed him just enough to keep the ball in the park as it just hit the top of the wall for a double. After a clutch strikeout on a 3-2 count, an infield single put the Royals on 1st and 3rd with one out. The pitcher dug deep and after working a 2-2 count with mostly curveballs, I blasted a 90 mph fastball in on the hands to get a clutch strikeout. With two outs I kept lobbing in curveballs and induced a bouncer to the pitcher to end the threat. Whew.
I decided to keep the lead 1-0 going into the bottom of the ninth. The anticipation of being so close to my first Nintendo shutout was starting to make my palms sweat. I knew the computer was gonna come out swinging and they did, fouling off numerous pitches down the lines. I dug deep though and froze the first two batters with slow curveballs to two strikeouts looking. I had made both batters look like Beltran in the NLCS frozen by slow knee bending curveballs. I was beyond amped at this point.
Two outs. Bottom of the ninth. One out away from achieving a "life-long goal"...or at least a goal I had since I was a child.
My first pitch was an inside curve ball. Too far inside to nick the plate. My second pitch was an inside curve that hit the corner. Third pitch was fouled off deep to the right. Holy crap. That was close. He was on the curve. Do I go fastball and try to mix speeds up? It seemed by his swing he was looking fastball but got curved and fouled it off.
Then I made the fatal mistake of deciding to record this moment for infamy. In lieu of using my video camera since it's non digital, I decided to use my cell phone. I had to position the camera in my lap to record the moment. I decided to go curveball inside to set up a fastball if the curve got fouled off. I was more worried about recording the event that I didn't put as much snap on the curve as I wanted too. I wanted the pitch to go in and curve back. It was in on the hands but here's the result (click to play):
Are you fuckin kidding me??? What an asshole I am. I knew that by recording the moment it was just asking for trouble. I could've just struck him out, took a picture of the screen and went from there (although some could've said, well you could have just been playing two player and "cheating"). So I did it legit and paid the price. Man, talk about clutch. I knew I should've went fastball. Devasting. So close. One strike away from a goal being fulfilled. Thanks to no extra innings in Nintendo baseball the game ended 1-1 after I struck out the next batter.
Although it did make for one of the best "live video game moments" of all time. It wasn't like I grooved him a fastball down the middle. I was going for the strikeout and he basically crushed the ball off his hands. All it would need is Vin Scully's voice to make it more dramatic. If I was a dork I would have audio tracked it, but don't have that kind of time on my hands (maybe next time :)
I'm also willing to say that that's one of the most dramatic and clutch homeruns of all time. Definitely ranks up there with Gibson's HR, Puckett's or Carter's HRs in the World Series. If it had been a game winner could have been in the pantheon with the Yaz foul poul shot or the Bobby Thompson "Shot Heard Round the World". Even if it didn't take place on the "grandest stage", those who have played Nintendo baseball know how high scoring the game is and how its very hard to throw a shutout.
Sympathy cards can be posted here if necessary or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
Thursday, February 22, 2007
A lifelong goal...achieved?