Tony LaRussa/ Triple Play Baseball Series

Side note, of all the games in the series of EA Sports baseball titles, these were the editor’s favorites:

Brad: Tony LaRussa Baseball

Stryker: Triple Play Gold

Mr. Do!: Triple Play ‘96

Brad: Back when I played little league, I had one of the most incompatible skill sets ever seen on a baseball diamond.  I couldn’t get on base, but the few times I did, I was really good at stealing bases.  I had a rocket arm that could throw guys out from deep in the outfield, except I couldn’t catch the ball.  And even when I finally did learn how to catch the ball, I still couldn’t figure out how to judge where it was going to land, resulting in the always hilarious spectacle of me unintentionally fleeing from the ball I was trying to catch.

My only productive season was the one year when I managed to get hit by every pitcher in the league.  Don’t ask me how this happened – maybe the pitchers mistook the scrawny, nervous looking kid for a home run threat who they were better off putting on first.  Or maybe I was just really unlucky that year.  Either way, it was a reversal of the usual order – now I was getting on base half the time, but the limping and numbness in my legs made it a lot harder to steal bases.

Apparently, Neagle has the most exciting curve in baseball.

Of course the greatest indignity was the time I had a chance to be the last out in a playoff game.  By this point, I really hated playing baseball, and couldn’t wait to strike out and finally put an end to my miserable little league career.  Down two strikes, I wasn’t able to get out of the way of an inside fastball, and (surprise!) ended up getting hit by the pitch, resulting in another free trip to first.  A couple of clutch hits from my teammates later, and I was crossing home plate and on my way to having to suffer through two more games.  We won the championship that year.  Whoop de do.

Anyway, these LaRussa/Triple Play games kind of remind me of myself as a little league player.  They do some things pretty well, like batting.  But some other aspects of the game, such as pitching and especially defense, aren’t so good.  The problem is that instead of the good and the bad kind of balancing each other into an average experience, the shortcomings generally cancel out the good stuff entirely.  Hard to steal second when you don’t get on first, as my coach used to say.

Unlike myself, however, at least these games did eventually improve during the Playstation years.

Stryker: The Triple Play series is pretty much what you’d expect from an EA Sports game during the Genesis era.  It’s a well-balanced hybrid between realistic simulation and action-packed fun, with all the licensing, features and presentation you come to expect.  If it were based on a sport that was a little more popular or a little more easily adapted to a video game, it probably would have staved off elimination a bit longer.  Case in point:  Madden is still hanging around.

Mr. Do!: Video games already tend to have inflated stats, but when you consider that these games came out during baseball’s “steroid era”, it only gets worse.  I’m starting to wonder about the legitimacy of my virtual Jose Canseco’s record-shattering 147 home run season.