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OTM Roundtable: Favorite baseball video game

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It is video game week at SB Nation — along those lines I wrote about about the importance of video games to grow a younger audience — which makes life easier for me because I didn’t have to think about for this week’s roundtable question. I simply wanted to know which baseball video game was the favorite for everyone on staff.

Jake Kostik

Baseball video games are actually one of the main reasons I’m a huge baseball fan now. Let me rewind all the way back to the year 2003. I was a follower of the Red Sox in earnest for the first time and took notice of every game, or at least the scorecard from every game. Before 2003 I was aware of the sport only through the world of video games. I’d owned several different baseball video games on the Nintendo 64, usually because they were cheap in comparison to other video games and I could convince my grandmother to buy them without hurting her wallet at all.

My interest in the sport could be considered casual at best until 2003. If the Red Sox won, whatever. If they lost, whatever. It wasn’t until 2004 that I transitioned into being an extreme fan of the team and of the sport as a whole. And it’s largely because of the video game MLB 2005, which my best friend owned. We messed around a lot with building our own teams, and did what any 12 year olds in our position would do: build super teams so we could beat the other.

For the first time, I became knowledgeable about players on other teams, and gained an interest in the league as a whole. As my love of the league grew, so too did my love of the Red Sox.

MLB 2005 was not the best baseball video game released with “2005” in the title (that would be MVP Baseball 2005), but MLB 2005 does have a special place in my heart as my gateway to the sport. So in a respect, you could say it was my favorite baseball video game of all time.

Honorable mentions: Super Mega Baseball 2, MLB 13 the Show, Backyard Baseball (1997)

Michael Walsh

My favorite baseball video game of all time is, without a doubt, MVP Baseball 2005. Not only was Manny Ramirez on the cover, but Tessie by the Dropkick Murphys was one of the opening songs. The gameplay was incredibly realistic for the time, and included awesome features like arguing calls (which always ended in ejections) as well as the chance to play as Hall of Famers in old stadiums such as the Polo Grounds. Its Dynasty Mode was a classic, but the batting/pitching mini games were addicting and provided countless hours of play. As touched on before, the soundtrack for this game is second-to-none. Even though my music taste doesn’t particularly align with the indie rock songs from MVP Baseball 2005, I know the words to this soundtrack like the back of my hand. While I load up MLB The Show 20, I still wish I was hearing the classic “EA Sports, it’s in the game”.

Shelly Verougstraete

I wasn’t much of a video game person growing up but I do remember going over to my cousin’s house to play Ken Griffey Jr. Baseball on Super Nintendo. I loved there were no real players and each team had a theme with their names.It did have some major bugs but it was a very simple, fun game.

Mike Carlucci

I only just played MLB The Show - any year - this spring. I’ve simulated games in OOTP and Baseball Mogul. I’ve played Roger Clemens’ MVP Baseball and the Bases Loaded series. but there is only one baseball video game for me. The lone entry in the Cyber Stadium Series. Base Wars. Base Wars imagines our cherished game as a rough-and-tumble robot competition. Robots pitch. Robots hit. Robots are the crowd. The hitting and pitching is not very refined: a low ball is essentially unhittable and you can move the pitch up or down right at the plate. But the real glory is on the base paths. For some reason robots have decided that instead of instant replay, close plays are resolved by a fight. Each robot has a different weapon running from swords to guns to lasers to a flying fist that literally separates from the arm to hit your opponent across the screen. And the music? It’s sublime, a true testament to 8-bit soundtracks.

Keaton DeRocher

MVP 2005. I put so many hours into that game. I played that game consistently for a few years before finally upgrading to I think MLB 2k9 because the MVP franchise had died. I’m not big playing video games with strangers online, so my friends and I started a group franchise and we would play every weekend at someone’s house and we kept the same franchise for like 3 years or something it was pretty intense. The only game I think I put more hours into than MVP 2005 is Halo which I still go back and replay now.

Bryan Joiner

Oof is this one hard! I have played many, many baseball video games. The one I was the best at was All-Star Baseball 2000 and 2001, that’s for sure. You could set the difficulties separately for each team and I beat someone who was talking shit as the Expos on hard while he was the Yankees on easy... in three innings when I was up like 14-1. That was fun to master, but I don’t know if it’s the one I enjoyed the most. I love Bases Loaded 1 and 2 and RBI Baseball, but the one I think I like the most, instinctively, is Baseball Simulator 3.000 (or whatever it was called) for Nintendo where you got to use super pitches and super hits and score like 33 runs. That owned. I’m old.

Matt Collins

There’s a couple of different ways I can look at this. The game I enjoyed the most and was probably MVP 2005, which has been mentioned a few times already. That is the classic, and I didn’t even play the mini games that a lot of other people mention for that one. The dynasty mode was incredible, though. The best put together game, I think, is OOTP, and I started playing Out of the Park for the 2014 version, so that one is probably the most special to me. But the game that holds the biggest place in my heart is Ken Griffey Jr.’s game for N64. For one thing, N64 is the greatest video game console of all time, and after Mario Party and Ocarina of Time, Ken Griffery Jr. was probably the game I played the most.

Brady Childs

MLB 07: The Show

I’ve splurged about my baseball origin story on this site before, but I’ve never mentioned how important MLB 07 was to getting me engrossed with baseball. Kids at school talking about the Red Sox and NESN on the hotel television showed me to the door and MLB 07 unlocked every room in the house. This game taught me how certain pitches behaved, how certain pitchers threw, the importance of same-side matchups, and rosters from around the league. This was before I had MLB.TV where the entire league would be at my fingertips. If I wanted to keep up with another game, I’d have to follow along on Gameday or run down to the car and listen on XM.

I played this game for three years across several different states. There’s actually a video of me on YouTube throwing a perfect game with my Road To The Show pitcher, a lefty who throws nothing but fastballs. He went on to become the greatest pitcher who ever lived, because that’s how video game career modes work, and the Red Sox traded him to the Rangers for Frank Francisco when I was 22.