Note: I did this in 2010 when the Cubs were sucking a bit and I wanted them to stop sucking already. So much for that. Anyway, the WSD folks and I were having a chat about silly baseball games and I recalled this note I posted on our Facebook page. Unfortunately Facebook does some weird crap where notes no longer display right, so I had to go into edit-mode and salvage it into this blog. Enjoy!
Rice Cube’s Angry Cubs Fan Video Game Season
Sometime last year while the Cubs were tailspinning out of contention, I decided that I needed a baseball game to make myself feel better. I didn’t want to pay full price for a new video game like 2k9, or wait for 2k10, so I got 2k8 for $18.
This game is annoying on so many levels. There are many inherent glitches, Jon Miller and Joe Morgan are annoying and say stupid crap, the physics don’t make sense, everyone looks slow as heck and for whatever reason, mediocre-to-crap defenders like Ryan Howard and Prince Fielder suddenly become Gold Glovers. You have no idea how many 400-foot opposite field homers I’ve hit, some of which hit the foul pole. It’s ridiculous. I also never figured out all the controls because there were no online FAQs, the instruction booklet was crap and whatever controls I could figure out weren’t intuitive.
That said, I decided to try to play an entire season on the default difficulty level (Pro) in order to figure out the game a bit more. Never figured out how to steal a base or put on the hit-and-run, and I also couldn’t aim my bunts which was exceedingly annoying. Anyway, I’ll summarize how I dealt with the Cubs’ magical 2008 season (which ended up not so magical but let’s not worry about that).
I restricted the payroll to $145M and had to do a bunch of trades to get rid of Jason Marquis and get Grabow/Gorzelanny onto the squad, as well as Nady and Chad Tracy. I sent Henry Blanco away and called Koyie Hill up to back up Soto. There were some things I couldn’t change though, as in 2008 certain players simply didn’t exist in the game so I had to make some concessions and use facsimiles.
The roster before the All-Star Break:
Bullpen: Carlos Silva (RHP, long relief), Angel Guzman (RHP, and yeah he’s broken but there’s no Caridad in this game), John Grabow (LHP), Sean Marshall (LHP), Carlos Marmol (RHP, my closer), and some schlub who I forgot but is my facsimile for Jeff Gray/Justin Berg/etc (RHP)
Depth chart (bats/throws):
C Geovany Soto (R/R)
C Koyie Hill (S/R)
1B Derrek Lee (R/R)
2B Mike Fontenot (L/R)
2B Jeff Baker (R/R)
3B Aramis Ramirez (R/R)
SS Ryan Theriot (R/R)
LF Alfonso Soriano (R/R)
CF Kosuke Fukudome (L/R)
RF Milton Bradley (S/R)
Xavier Nady (1B/LF/RF)
Chad Tracy (1B/3B/LF)
Some schlub who I forgot who was playing the Andres Blanco role, would’ve been my backup 2B/SS but I almost never play him.
After the All-Star Break in my season was around when Bradley spouted some verbal diarrhea so I traded him to Texas straight up for Marlon Byrd. Marlon plays CF/RF and I put Fukudome back exclusively in RF, unless Nady is in the game, then he plays CF anyway.
For the season, the Cubs on Pro difficulty without me knowing how to steal, aim a bunt (gawd I hated popping up bunts or hitting into a DP because it always went straight to the pitcher) or starting a hit-and-run, went 162-0. The regular season stats:
.397 batting average, .398 OBP (because I rarely BBed, see below; and got HBP a couple times), .818 SLG
616 homers (yeah, that was pretty ridiculous and I laughed a lot; every now and then the studio analyst guy would call them “inside-the-park” homers when they were clearly 400+ feet)
1727 runs scored
54 BB (all intentional, as I couldn’t take an unintentional walk since the stupid AI never threw a pitch out of the zone after getting behind 2-0)
145 K (timing issues)
27 complete games
48/50 SV/opportunities, of which Marmol got 30 SV…I don’t prescribe to using him in all closing situations.
290 runs against
Yeah, there were a lot of blowouts. Wish the real Cubs played like that.
For the season, against righties I used this lineup:
2B Fontenot (2008 Fontenot has some mad stats)
In interleague games I made Soriano the DH and used Nady or Fuld as LF. If Zambrano started (and I never stupidly put him in the bullpen), I batted him 7th in front of Soto and it worked out pretty well. The pitching staff was crazy as you saw in the stats above; Z, Lilly, Hill and Gorz all had no-hitters and I think the first three also pitched perfect games but because the game is dumb I can’t look back and see which games they were.
I swept the Phillies in the NLDS, the Mets in the NLCS (forgot who the MVP was because the game decided to not tell me), and the Angels in the World Series with Zambrano as the MVP as he pitched in Games 1 and 4.
Since I won the All-Star Game for the NL, the Cubs opened the World Series at Wrigley. The scores:
Game 1 10-1 (W-Zambrano)
Game 2 10-2 (W-Lilly)
Game 3 14-2 (W-Dempster)
Game 4 4-1 (W-Zambrano; SV-Marmol)
The awards I earned this season:
NL MVP: Derrek Lee, .473 BA, 123 HR (HAHAHAHA), 249 RBI (eat that Hack Wilson); though this award made no sense whatsoever given what Alfonso Soriano did (see below)
Cy Young: Carlos Zambrano (who never saw the bullpen), 32-0, 246.1 IP, 0.66 ERA, 195 K, 0.44 WHIP
Rookie of the Year: Kosuke Fukudome, .409 BA, 65 HR, 173 RBI
By the way, Geovany Soto’s line for the season: .310 BA, 16 HR, 102 RBI (he didn’t get good power numbers which I thought was dumb)
Gold Glove: Fukudome, RF
Derrek Lee 1B
Mike Fontenot 2B .439 BA, 45 HR, 144 RBI
Aramis Ramirez 3B .494 BA, 114 HR, 251 RBI
Alfonso Soriano LF .568 BA, 128 HR, 302 RBI (this guy should’ve been MVP)
Kosuke Fukudome RF
By the way, Marlon Byrd hit a bit under .300, with 4 HR and 82 RBI. His power numbers are severely underestimated in this game. Before the trade, Bradley had 35 HR with the Cubs, and finished the season with .320 BA, 47 HR and 121 RBI and a Silver Slugger award.
I’m probably never playing this game in franchise mode again, but will play every now and then to make myself feel better after a tough Cubs loss. Gotta figure out some controls! But I did feel pretty good basically going 173-0 and scoring about 15 runs a game. That was a load of fun even though the game mechanics sucked.
Hope you guys enjoyed this post.