I was contacted by the company, OOTP Baseball (Out of the Park Baseball), to play and review their video game OOTP Baseball 16. So over the past week or so I have been testing it out. I was not paid to review it. Shout out to them for the free copy! This game hits it OUT OF THE PARK and is a must have baseball game for any baseball nerd like myself. This game is a complete baseball sim with no actual team game play, which ends up being an interesting change. You have the option to become a team’s GM, manager, or both at once. It truly feels like you are in the role of a GM or manager. If you are a stats freak, it’s most definitely for you. I really enjoyed analyzing the stats, managing my budget, and discussing trades. I hear the Brewers are looking for a GM that’s younger, good lookin, and good with analytics – Call me Mr. Attanasio- :) That’s how I felt when I took over the Brewers during the game. OOTP Baseball 16 is the most detailed baseball experience where you literally feel like you are controlling every aspect of the team. It has every affiliate of every team with accurate rosters down to rookie ball. Don’t wanna play the 2015 season? That’s fine because you can play any season dating all the way back 1871 with accurate rosters. That’s right…1871! How cool is that? I’d like to take my 1982 Brewers and change their World Series outcome and beat those dang Cards!
When you start off you may be absolutely overwhelmed by so many options and screens with countless actions, so MAKE SURE to read the manual. You will spend too much time not knowing what you’re doing and you’ll be missing out. It’s incredibly customizable to fit however you would like to play. This is a truly great game that any die-hard baseball fan should try out.
Their customer support is excellent. If you are having trouble with your game in any way what so ever, you can email them and get an incredibly quick response. OOTP Baseball 16 is an all around fantastic game. It may not be for the average baseball fan, but if you are into the front office side of the game, it is definitely for you.
Baseball is a kid’s sport as well as a sport that makes grown men feel like a kid again. It should be fun to play all the time. Sadly, I believe some deficiencies in youth baseball have the potential to ruin this beautiful game and may contribute to the decreasing interest in the game. One problem is securing good coaching for kids. It seems that there are two main opposing coaching styles effecting how baseball is being played today. One is that some coaches care so much about winning that it’s more about them than the players. We all know that “crazy” coach. The other is that certain coaches are just “there” and don’t do much of anything. These two common coaching types seem to kill kid’s interest in the game at a young age. Unfortunately, these opposing approaches end up having the same outcome…kids quit the game.
Some coaches are so blinded by winning some little tournament or every game that they don’t realize the affect it has on the kids. The coach may be a big screamer…scaring away the nervous, shy, yet talented kid. This coach may also over play his “star” players, leaving the others to rot on the bench. If these kids never get to play at a young age, why even play at all? So they quit. The coach only wants to get “his” trophy (how amazing….a youth trophy) to show the guys at the office, instead of what he should be doing. The coach should be developing all players to the best of their ability, increasing their self confidence, instilling respect and good work habits, and most importantly keeping the fun in baseball.
The other type of coach is one that just stands there and does nothing at all during practices and games. No coaching or instruction at all. This is usually the dad that doesn’t take a step back when volunteers are called for. You may hear the obvious, “Let’s get a hit,” from them during a game while they lean and hold up the fence. Thanks genius, “a hit” – wow, I was thinking that too. Although, they deserve credit for sticken it out and “volunteering,” they tend not to truly know what they are doing. Kids with this type of coach generally learn no discipline, no skills and run wild. At practices, the ballplayers get bored by just standing around doing nothing watching the never ending little league BP sessions. These young kids also lose interest in this disorganized chaotic atmosphere. If you get bored with baseball, why play, right?
There is a third type of coach, the one that has to coach because his son is on the team and if he doesn’t coach, his son will be kicked off the team because he’s a jackwagon! You all know what I’m talking about here- but that is a whole blog in itself!
No coaches are perfect and I am truly grateful to those that volunteer because coaching is a lot of work under the best circumstances. A coach that “yells” or is stearn for the right reasons is definitely needed. But a good coach will also step back, not say anything, and let the kids play. Coaching is an honor and a huge responsibility……Please, go to seminars, coaching clinics, or get a mentor and don’t ever be a kid’s last coach!
Remember last year when “I Broke My Back…Not My Bat?” Well this year, thankfully, I broke my bat, not my back in a game. I drove the ball and looked down to see only the handle in my hand wondering, “What the heck!?!?!” My beautiful, faithful, grey Demarini barrel was flying and almost took out the shortstop. Unfortunately, a dinger of a hit was turned into a single, but, at least this year it was my bat…not back. Stay tuned to see if Demarini lives up to their warranty policy and replaces my precious…….
Tuesday night I had my second radio gig with the Rec Room Show! I’m on around the 43 minute mark below. Please give it a listen and tell me what you think!
Currently, whoever wins the All-Star game gets home field advantage for the World Series. This is supposed to give players the incentive to play hard to win and make the game entertaining. Even if it does give the players something to play for, I don’t think it’s fair for the two teams that make it into the World Series. This year the AL won the All-Star game 6-3. Therefore, the AL team in the WS gets home field advantage. Let’s say that the Minnesota Twins and the St. Louis Cardinals play each other in the World Series this October. The Twins would get into the playoffs by being a Wild Card team, while the Cards own the best record in all of Major League baseball. Game Seven would be played at Target Field in Minnesota instead of in St. Louis. It just doesn’t make sense that a team that barely gets into the playoffs gets an advantage over the best team in baseball. Shouldn’t the team with the higher winning record have home field advantage? The problem with the All-Star game is that in my example the Cardinals wouldn’t be rightfully rewarded. So, a fun exhibition game, like the All Star Game, could effect the outcome of a team’s World Series hopes by possibly awarding an “unearned” home field advantage. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love the All-Star game. I just don’t think the Cardinals should be playing Game Seven away from their electric home just because K-Rod pitched a bad inning at the All-Star Game. Each playoff team should use the regular season as a way to decide their World Series destiny so it’s fully in their control. The chances, of the Cardinals winning Game Seven at home is much greater than being away. Most importantly, (according to my theoretical example), I would much rather see the Cardinals lose Game Seven at home with the whole stadium crying…A beautiful site………:)
Tonight I will be on the Rec Room Show again to talk baseball and my blog. The show starts at 8, but I will be on at around 8:45. Hope you listen and enjoy!!
Invaluable reached out to me to help announce a pretty amazing auction during this All-Star week. Invaluable and Hunts Auctions are teaming up for this special event that has some truly extraordinary lots that any baseball fan would love. Here are their words below describing it:
This auction, 2015 Live Auction at T-Mobile All-Star FanFest, will be on tomorrow July 14, 2015, at 10:30am EST, and will feature a selection of noteworthy auction lots. The sale will feature more than 450 lots of rare baseball memorabilia, including a select grouping of items from the Johnny Bench Collection, which will headline the auction. Items being offered as part of the sale include:
Lot 286: Significant Roy Campanella 1953 National League Most Valuable Player award
Estimated Price: $175,000 – $200,000
Significant Roy Campanella 1953 National League Most Valuable Player award. A star player in both the Negro and Mexican Leagues, Campanella transitioned into the Brooklyn Dodgers Minor League system in 1946 and would ultimately join Jackie Robinson in the Major Leagues in 1948. A fixture in every All-Star Game played from 1949 to 1956, Campy was the National League’s Most Valuable Player (3) times in that same span of seasons. In 1953 he set then records for home runs (41) and RBIs by a catcher (142) hitting .312 in the Dodgers effort for a second consecutive National League Pennant. Important original award measuring 16″ across has octagonal Sterling Silver placard affixed at front. A gold colored bust of K.M. Landis sits below the second base position of a baseball diamond which also holds “Roy Campanella” engraved nameplate below “Most Valuable Player National League” titling, “Brooklyn Dodgers” team name, and a crossed bats/baseball applique which notes year, “1953.” Front is marked, “Sterling Dieges & Clust” and their tacked on metal tag remains on back below an eyelet for hanging. Very clean overall with a few minor scattered imperfections. One of the most high profile pieces of its’ type to have entered the marketplace. Includes letter of provenance from the Campanella Family: EX/MT
Lot 254: Important Ted Williams 1960 All-Star Game autographed professional model bat used for his final All-Star game appearance and base hit (Ted Williams Collection Provenance)
Estimated Price: $100,000 – $150,000
We were honored to conduct the Ted Williams Collection live auction event on behalf of the Williams family in 2012 at Fenway Park in Boston. Within that sale was included Ted’s other 1960 All-Star Game bat which also exhibited fine overall use indicative of regular season use after the All-Star Game similar to the offered specimen. The offered bat was only recently discovered within Ted Williams’s former personal residence in Florida along with an incredible handwritten note by William’s own hand. The note is written in pencil by Ted Williams on the back of a local safe company note paper and reads, “1960 Last Bat used single NY Kansas City”. Williams went 0-1 in a pinch hit appearance in the first 1960 All-Star Game played in Kansas City. In the second game played in New York, Ted collected a single in a pinch hit appearance which was also his final base hit in his All-Star Game career (14 total in his career).
Lot 253: 1953 Mickey Mantle All-Star Game professional model bat
Estimated Price: $75,000 – $100,000
1953 Mickey Mantle All-Star Game professional model bat (Direct Team Employee Provenance, PSA/DNA “GU 9”). Significant bat as issued to Mickey Mantle for use in his second All-Star Game appearance is one of the earliest dated examples, which can be definitively dated, to have surfaced. Louisville Slugger 125 model bat has Mantle facsimile signature burned into the barrel along with “All Star Game Cincinnati 1953” in block letter. Model “K55″ is factory stamped in the knob and the bat measures 35” long and weighs 33.2oz. An expected level of mild but well defined use is evident throughout with ball and stitch marks visible on the hitting surface along with some rack streaks. The offered bat was obtained directly from Mickey Mantle by the former equipment manager of the Washington Senators continuing with the Minnesota Twins. The young man had worked to earn Mantle’s trust by assisting the player while in town for visiting games. In return, the young man asked Mantle for his bat after he was done with it at the 1953 All-Star Game. Mantle obliged and the bat has remained in his personal collection until its current offering. Hitting for both average and power through all of his (18) seasons in baseball Mickey Mantle is firmly established as one of the games’ greatest sluggers. Named Most Valuable Player of the American League (3) times, he won the Triple Crown in 1956, and played on (7) Championship teams. In total Mantle enjoyed (20) All-Star Game appearances, a feat topped only by Aaron, Musial, and Mays. Statistics aside, there is a lore which surrounds his name that few others can conjure up. Mantle simply had intangibles, which cannot be charted in box scores or accounted for in comparison to the standard measure of pure athletic ability. Includes full LOA from PSA/DNA (graded “GU 9”),LOA from Hunt Auctions, and letter of provenance with related photo (see catalogue image) from the equipment manager: EX
Lot 156: Pete Rose “Babe Ruth Crown” for Outstanding Batting Achievement
Estimated Price: $50,000 – $75,000
Pete Rose “Babe Ruth Crown” for “Outstanding Batting Achievement.” Highly visual award piece done in the fashion of the “Sultan of Swat Award” which was an honor bestowed each year, starting in 1956, to the player with the highest slugging percentage. The roster of recipients read like a who’s who of great hitters to include Mickey Mantle, Hank Aaron, Ted Williams, Ernie Banks, Harmon Killebrew, and even Joe DiMaggio whom was honored in 1956 for his 1939 season statistics. This later period piece, awarded by the same organization, offers similar display value with some subtle differences in text/design. Done in brass with affixed placard at front that reads, in both applied block letter and engraved text, “Babe Ruth Crown Presented to Pete Rose, For Outstanding Batting Achievement, Maryland Professional Baseball Players Association.” The (6) points are each done to resemble a baseball diamond with colored jewel fitted at center. Ringing the body are applied crossed bat/ball decor pieces alternating with engraved career related statistics/notations. In fine overall condition with hint of light tarnish/wear mentioned for accuracy. Includes signed letter of provenance from Pete Rose: EX/MT
On April 26, 1975, two protesters rushed onto the field with an American flag during a Dodgers – Cubs game. The two protesters stopped in center field and tried to light the flag on fire, which was soaked in lighter fluid. The right fielder for the Chicago Cubs, Rick Monday, saw this happening. He made a heroic move to charge toward the men. Luckily, the first match was blown out by the wind. This gave Rick time to courageously save the American flag from being burned as a second match was being lit. Even though this didn’t happen on the Fourth of July, this goes down as one of, if not, the most patriotic acts in sports history. Well done Rick, well done. . . Way to make America proud!
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Sorry Ham, you need to find a new rip because 16-year-old female phenom, Melissa Mayeux, playing 2 years up on the French U-18 junior national baseball team is giving, “You play ball like a girl,” a whole new meaning. The shortstop became the first woman on the MLB’s international registration list. This means that she is now eligible to be signed by an MLB team as an international prospect. It is unlikely that she would be signed just because of how young she is. If Melissa gets signed, it’s more probable it would come around when she’s 18. She can definitely play! According to MLB Director of International Game Development, Mike McClellan, she has the talent to stick with the boys. Just watch the video below!
Melissa’s dream is to play in the MLB, but mainly she just wants to play as long as she can at the highest possible level she can. Her love for baseball could have come to an end when she was 15 because there is a rule from the French federation not allowing girls to play with boys past the age of 15. She would then have to switch to softball, but Melissa loved baseball even more and wanted to keep playing baseball. She was able to convince the president of the French federation to let her keep playing ball with the boys by writing him letters. Look at where this is getting her now! Like I always say, persistence pays off!! As my sisters and mom often point out, women get the short end of the stick in sports in terms of support, funding, opportunities and salaries. This is such a cool story and I wish Melissa the best in her baseball career. Hopefully, one day we will see her out at short in front of a crowd of 40,ooo.
Here is a great interview conducted by SB Nation. Her true love of the game shines through.
How did you become interested in baseball? Through your family? How did your family pick up baseball?
I became interested in baseball because my older brother, Dylan, became passionate about the sport when he was five while passing by a field where a game was being played. I went to his practices with the club team for the city of Montigny-Le-Bretonneux (initials MLB!) and, at the age of three-and-a-half, fought with my mother to let me out of the stroller and let me practice with him. The game teaches great values, and my family quickly became passionate about it.
Do you also play typically “French” sports? Why baseball over those?
I don’t know if there is a typically “French” sport. Cycling? Maybe thèque, a distant ancestor to baseball. There is pretty much every sport imaginable in this country. But to have fun or at school, I don’t really play other sports other than baseball and softball. I manage pretty well at soccer, but baseball opened my eyes from the beginning. I didn’t really give much thought to other possibilities.
Is baseball viewed as a “boys” sports like it is in the United States?
In France, the rules are that between ages 12 and 15 girls must be steered towards softball. I think that separation goes back a long time, without any explanation or justification. I was lucky that the president of the Fédération Française de Baseball et Softball and my coaches noticed my potential, which gave me an exemption to play with the boys. Some were deeply opposed to those who just trying to let me pursue my dream. Little by little, the rules were eased back within our national federation, then at the European level. That said, baseball remains, essentially, a male sport.
Was it ever weird to be playing with boys, or has it always felt normal?
I have always liked and found it absolutely normal to play with and against boys. On the field, I’m no longer Melissa Mayeux: I become a baseball player like anyone else. Baseball runs in my veins. It’s the only thing that matters to me.
A lot of people here have already written how cool it is what you’re doing. Is the reaction similar in France? Are you aware that you’re generating attention overseas?
In France, baseball is still under-developed compared to football, rugby, judo, handball or cycling. Even reading newspapers, some still say, “Wait, we also play baseball in France?”, without knowing that the federation was created during the 1924 Olympic Games in Paris and even practiced in Paris since the end of the 19th century. That surprises many on this side of the Atlantic.
I know that it has generated a lot of debate in the United States, but I admit that it seems a little abstract. All I can say is that to be on the eligibility list is a step in the right direction. All the better if it can help this great sport and encourage people to play or help the federation or academy find sponsors for youth programs.
Do you think about being a symbol for women at all?
I’m hesitant to perceive myself as a symbol of anything. Not because of ego, but because I’m just a 16-year-old girl who is still going to high school and who is practicing a sport out of passion. I can easily understand some of the messages one might want to associate with my actions. I’m going forward because of my passion, and if I can help those who would like to take the same route, that would make me happy. I am aware that this could help change attitudes. And why not? I find that a lot of women are true warriors on the field, with minds of steel. Some women, like Eri Yoshida (the first female drafted by a Japanese professional team), who I met in Japan, or Justine Siegal (first woman to throw MLB batting practice and coach a men’s pro baseball team), who held a conference in Paris two years ago, are clearly symbols for me.
What are you goals? Simply play at a high level? Play in the World Baseball Classic?
Ultimately, my goal was that someone lets me play baseball for as long as possible. Today, when I achieve one goal, I create a new one. That’s how I function. I work hard each day at the baseball academy in Toulouse. I do the most that I can to keep getting better. It’s not easy to balance this daily discipline with my school work, especially while boarding very far from my parents. Fortunately, I have very attentive coaches and great friends. Baseball here is like a big family. To wear the colors of Team France during the next World Baseball Classic qualifier with Eric Gagné as manager, to play in MLB, to join a minor league team, all that seems so far … but it still makes me smile to think about it. If I could earn a scholarship at an American college or university after I finish high school, that would be awesome. When I stop playing, I would like it to be my personal decision and not because someone told me no.
Have you given thought to playing softball, or is it important to you to stick with baseball?
I am playing on the French softball team at the same time, and I enjoy that, too. We have a lot of fun. But all the same, I prefer the little ball.
You’re actually the second female baseball player to cause a lot of attention in the United States recently. Have you heard of Mo’ne Davis?
I heard about Mo’ne Davis’ performances through the news, and obviously I loved her story. I was really impressed, having been on the mound for so long. During that time, a lot of my friends told me “Look, you’re not alone!” and that idea was comforting. I can’t imagine one day getting that much media attention. I simply hope that a day will come that we no longer look at girls like extra-terrestrials.
Who is your favorite player? Favorite shortstop, past and present?
My favorite player is Derek Jeter. Well, it was. I’m having trouble with this answer since he retired. But if he has a little time now, I would love if he comes to France one day, to the Toulouse academy, to give us some advice. (Please, Captain!)
Who would you like to style your game after?
I’m not looking to imitate anyone. Each plays according to his style and his ability. I think the most important thing, is to be one’s self. What matters to me is to be confident on the diamond.
Do you follow MLB? How?
I follow a lot of the news on social networks and the site of MLB. When I was younger, I could pass hours on the Internet watching and breaking down videos on hitting and game techniques. I also watch TV when games are being retransmitted. It’s a real treat but it’s difficult with the time difference, especially when there is only one channel that broadcasts in France.
How do you feel about the designated hitter in the AL?
I have been a pitcher and I would never let someone hit in my place. I think that answers the question.
How do you feel about players who like to have fun on the field, like Yasiel Puig, against how many people think baseball should “traditionally” be played?
I’ve had the chance to meet and play with or against players from a lot of different places, to be trained by a lot of different coaches, and to go experience baseball in Japan or Cuba. I sincerely think there isn’t one right way to play baseball. Some make it a little more of a spectacle, add a little spice. Each culture appropriates the sport in its manner.
For now, we are sharing the influences of Americans, Canadians (a lot of Quebecois come to play in France), the Japanese (under the influence of Yoshio Yoshida — manager of the French national team from 1989-1995) and Latin Americans. It’s not simple but I’m convinced that if baseball continues to grow in France, we would be capable of developing our proper style of game, like we have, for example, with rugby.