As some of you no doubt know, we at Reviewing the Brew try to be very active on Twitter and engage with our followers as much as possible. One of the groups of people I keep in contact with develop the baseball simulation game Out of the Park Baseball – an in-depth baseball simulation where you take the reigns of a GM and try to lead your team to years of success.
They recently contacted me and asked if I’d like to try the game out and talk about it on the site. As I have been resisting temptation for the better part of year, I jumped at the opportunity to be able to immerse myself in the game as part of work.
The instructions were pretty simple: play the game, enjoy yourself, and let everyone know what you think. I had bigger plans in mind – build a Milwaukee baseball dynasty.
Now, I have never played any of the previous Out of the Park installments, but having been familiar with how franchise modes of other sports games work, I felt pretty comfortable with just jumping right in. I wrote myself in as the 25 year-old General Manager of the Milwaukee Brewers, and got to work.
This is the face of addiction, ladies and gentlemen (logo from Out of the Park Developments)
I was greeted with a bit of Major League Baseball News welcoming me to the job:
"Can Colin Bennett Pick Up the Pieces in Milwaukee? New GM NamedFeeling the heat to settle on a new GM, the Milwaukee Brewers have tapped Colin Bennett as the new head man.“We’ve taken our time in finding what we hope is an excellent, far seeing general manager. I don’t think you’ll have to worry about Bennett suffering from myopia. He presented a clear, concise, and realistic assessment of our club in every interview we held, and just seemed to grasp what we’re looking for,” noted an official close to the negotiations."
Just one day into my job, and the expectations were through the roof. I took my time in settling into the job, reviewing our minor league rosters and setting the scouting budget. I decided we no longer needed to search for new players in Romania (why were we there?) and instead focused our efforts into other Latin American countries and Australia (‘This team needs another player like Dave Nilsson’ I imagined myself saying in a board room).
Then I received a message from Brewers Principle Owner Mark Attanasio. He told me we expect to win it all. Thanks, Mark.
With that in mind, I did what any GM would do – I offered a five-year extension for Zack Greinke, plus a team option for a total of just a shade over $75 million. Three days later, he took it. I accomplished, with the help of a no-trade clause, what Doug Melvin never could. Zack Greinke was ours for half a decade.
I just wish every decision was that easy. After we dropped four of the first six games to St. Louis and Chicago, Ryan Braun came down with back spasms after making a diving grab. He was day-to-day for about a week. So I slid Aoki over to left, had the platoon in center and Corey Hart in right. I made Braun available to pinch-hit, but I didn’t want to aggravate his injury this early. Then I had t0 – trust me, had to – sign Derrick Lee to a one-year deal with an option for the next to fill a gaping hole at first due to – surprise, surprise – a long-term injury to Mat Gamel. Hart was an option at first, but OOTP has his first base defense rated at 1. I can’t handle that.
Two weeks into the job, the Brewers are fifth in the division and the clubhouse is a triage ward. Sound familiar?
Overall, Out of the Park Baseball 13 is an incredibly immersing simulation that allows you to cover literally every aspect of running a franchise. I haven’t even begun to scratch the surface on what you can do with your club – suffice it to say it is also incredibly true to life in terms of how the players actually play. Just ask the Milwaukee bullpen in my franchise, who now has three pitchers ‘available’ in the open market after giving up about 9 home runs. (‘If you don’t want to perform, I’ll find someone who will!’ I imagine kicking over a water cooler like Billy Beane in Moneyball after pretty much every simulation)
It’s incredibly detailed, addicting, and sometimes infuriating to play. Just like being a Brewers fan. Keep track of my performance as GM every week or so as I update you on my journey to turning the 2012 Milwaukee Brewers – and beyond – into champions. Likewise, you can do it yourself by downloading (and purchasing) the game here.
Good luck, Brewers fans. You’re going to need it.