Experiences in Old Sports Games: Not Tony La Russa’s Ultimate Baseball

I’m late on making this post because I threw out what I wrote last night.  The subject of my post was going to be Tony La Russa’s Ultimate Baseball for the Commodore 64, both because I can’t stop picking baseball games and because I was using the post as an excuse to rant about Mike Matheny.

See, for a long time I disliked Tony La Russa.  In 2000, he started Rick Ankiel against the New York Mets in the NLCS, giving him a little-needed second chance to implode.  In 2001, he brought in Jeff Tabaka to face Lance Berkman and it arguably cost the Cardinals the division.  I realize it was foolish to get so hung up on a single bad move, but using Tabaka there may still be the single worse bullpen call I’ve ever seen (bringing in Boggs on May 30 of this year comes close).  So after 2001 I was done with La Russa and couldn’t wait for him to leave.  Of course, he didn’t leave, the Cardinals won a shit-ton, and my hatred of La Russa lessened all the way to the point that I finally want him back.

This is the 17th result for a google image search for "Jeff Tabaka", which says everything about his career and also the result of bringing him into that game.

This photo of Lance Berkman is the 17th result for a google image search for “Jeff Tabaka”, which says everything about his career and also the result of bringing him into that game.

Basically, the post I had written up Thursday night was only half about Tony La Russa’s Ultimate Baseball. I discussed how it innovated the presentation of fly balls within the game.  Rather than render every hit as a ground ball, or use a shadow texture to indicate the height of the ball, the interface marked the spot the ball would eventually land.  This made fielding much easier, and allowed for a greater variety of hit types.  This innovation and the fantasy draft, like the bullpen innovations of Tony La Russa himself, was imitated by everyone who came afterwards and is now a standard part of the genre.

Tony La Russa also innovated the use of the conga line on the basepaths.

Tony La Russa also innovated the use of the conga line on the basepaths.

The other half of my post was about how I missed La Russa, and how sick of Mike Matheny I was.  This was coming off games 4 and 5 of the NLCS, in which he put on a bad managing clinic.  It was like watching Denise Richards in The World is Not Enough: the performance was so terrible that if I wanted to teach someone how to be godawful, it would be shown in class on day one.  However, after last night I just couldn’t go through with the post.

Denise Richards could play a nuclear physicist in the same sense that Matt Adams could play shortstop.

Denise Richards could play a nuclear physicist in the same sense that Matt Adams could play shortstop.

It’s not because my mind has changed about Matheny.  I still think he’s lost out there and carried by a very talented team and front office.  Most managers are.  But it seemed light the pinnacle of Being A Spoiled Cardinals Fan to put down so many words about the manager’s mistakes on the same day that the team advanced to the World Series.  My team is about to appear in the fourth World Series out of the last ten, and I wasn’t about to write a post critical of the team while that was happening.

Yeah this looks like the face of a guy who would make the ~1,500 words I wrote on Thursday completely meaningless.

Yeah this looks like the face of a guy who would make the ~1,500 words I wrote on Thursday completely meaningless.

So in place of the post I was going to put up yesterday, I’m just going to end on a picture of Adam Wainwright and Carlos Beltran celebrating a World Series trip together, posted on twitter by Beltran’s wife, @ivanalenin.

wainbelt

Even if you hate the Cardinals, you should be cheering for Beltran to get a ring.  He’s arguably the best post-season hitter of all time, and while he shouldn’t need to bolster his Hall of Fame credentials, the truth is he’s going to need as much help as he can get.

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