The 2009 Major League Baseball World Series starts today featuring the Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees. It's sure to be a grand Fall Classic, but I'd like to know who will win in advance. Instead of heading to Las Vegas, however, I'll be pre-enacting the Series by playing MVP Baseball 2005 for the Xbox. It is considered one of the best baseball games ever and I actually feel a bit bad that EA lost the use of the MLB license (well, not really, considering all the damage they've done to other sports series). A few years ago I awarded MVP Baseball 2005 my "Older Console Game of the Year," an award for the best console game I played in 2007 that didn't come out in 2007 (complicated, I know).
I actually considered playing Bases Loaded 2, probably my personal favorite baseball game. I played this game so much growing up that I can still name the complete lineup for the team hailing from New Jersey. And therein lies the problem, it has made up teams and players. While that wouldn't make the results from that game any more inaccurate than playing with players from 2005 from real teams, it's just a little too far from reality than I'd like. The game actually does feature teams from Philadelphia and New York though, but both of them are pretty awful.
Like my previous pre-enactments, I'll be playing two games, one as each team, and if necessary, a one game playoff generated by the computer. As much as I'd like to play a seven game series, I simply don't have the time. Hopefully this will be enough to whet our appetites and accurately pre-enact the 2009 World Series.
Post World Series update: The Yankees have won the 2009 World Series, just like we predicted here at the First Hour. We now have two correct predictions out of three attempts.
Before we begin, let's take a moment to examine the teams and players that grace MVP Baseball 2005. The rosters were set in January 2005, so the Red Sox were coming off their first World Series victory in a long time, and all of New England was experiencing a pompous high they would never seemingly get over. The game ranks teams from first to 30th and the Yankees are ranked 3rd behind the Red Sox and Cubs whereas the Phillies are ranked 16th! This is already starting to look like an unbalanced matchup. Here are the rankings broken down even further:
So the teams are actually pretty comparable at this level... if you ignore pitching. Well, that's the beauty of the totally inaccurate pre-enactment.
Well, it's been a while since I've played the game and Rollins leads off with a triple! But Johnson has got his 99 MPH fastball working and finishes off the first inning without any damage. Tony Womack is leading off for the Yankees and also gets an infield hit off the pitcher's back! Ouch! The Yankees go down 1-2-3.
The Phils go down and Sheffield is up first for the Yankees. He's got scary bat speed and he shows it off with the first pitch launched into the left field seats! 1-0!
Randy Johnson is rolling now and Jeter knocks another solo home run. 2-0 Yankees. Wow, Sheffield almost hit another one out!
We're still going strong, this is going to stay a low-scoring game. Considering Johnson is still throwing 99 MPH, he's probably going to throw a complete game shutout. But anything could happen... Well, Matsui just hit another solo jack, I guess that's anything! Or Bernie Williams could go out with a torn left shoulder muscle by just running to first base. What?! I do miss Bernie Williams though.
I give the call to the bullpen and tell them to start warming up Mariano Rivera.
Johnson goes out and Rivera comes in, here we go. A hard hit up the middle but Rivera grabs it for the first out. Wow, another one in almost the same spot but it kicks off Mariano's foot! I let Rollins take second without a throw, he's inconsequential. Strikeout leaves two out in the 9th... and Bobby Abreu pops up for the last out of Game 1. Yankees win 3-0.
Haha, the Yankees go down quick, but Rollins launches a first-pitch lead off home run. He lead the last game off with a triple and now has taken a quick lead for the Phillies 1-0.
Lieber is throwing a no-hitter, maybe I should have upped the difficulty even more? Spoke too soon! A-Rod ties it up with a huge blast to right-center. Tied up 1-1.
Mussina's knuckle-curve continues to taunt me. Man, this guy is tough to hit. Ha, Bernie Williams hit one to the warning track, technically he should be out of this game with that shoulder injury, whoops! Mike Lierberthal though comes through and hits another jack just inside the left foul pole. That was a pretty dramatic home run!
Mussina actually gets on with a hit up the middle, but gets caught in a rundown on Womack's infield hit. Poor guy, I hope I brought down his stamina making him jog back and forth!
Matsui leads off the 8th with a double off the wall, might need to start warming up that bullpen. Billy Wagner was their closer then, with Worrell as the setup man. I tell both of them to start throwing pitches. I leave Lieber in there to finish off the inning and he does in a couple of pitches! I take out Lieber he comes to the plate though, and the Phillies begin to threaten with two men on, nothing comes of it though.
2-1, Phillies are leading with the top of the Yankees order coming up! Time to send in Billy Wagner. He opens it up with a 98 MPH fastball. The Yankees go down without a fight though and the Phillies win Game 2!
Wow, Rollins is three for three at leading off the series with 11 total bases as he just hit another home run! They also put together three consecutive hits with two outs and score another run! The Phillies almost broke the game wide open too but finished the top half of the inning with the bases loaded. The Yankees string a few hits but can't bring anyone home.
Yankees have the bases loaded with Bernie Williams at the plate and only one out. He bloops one into center and scores two runs! The game is tied up 2-2. Bernie gets thrown out trying to steal second though and after a high chopper to third by Tino Martinez, the inning is over.
Bobby Abreu takes his revenge against the Yankees (doubly, as he is a former Yankee and lost to them in the American League Championship as a member of the Angels) and hits a two-run home run! Phillies are up 4-2.
The game just awarded Rollins an error for bobbling, but catching a ball in the outfield. Weird. Good thing he did catch it too, because Derek Jeter just hit a home run pushing the score to 4-3 with the Bombers still trailing.
Now we see a real error in right field for the Yankees, as a liner bounces out of the glove for a what they score as a single. The Phillies don't capitalize though as they fly out on the next pitch and Take Me Out to the Ballgame is sung. In the bottom of the 7th, Giambi ties the game with a double down the line and Charlie Manuel pulls Randy Wolf out of the game. It's all tied up 4-4 with runners still on first and third. The Phillies' fresh pitcher though isn't much better though and the Yankees take the lead with a cluster of singles. The score is 6-4 with the Yankees on top.
Unsurprisingly, Mariano Rivera is sent in to close out the game and the 2009 World Series. Two quick outs from two infield pop-ups, and it's left to the World Series all-star, Jimmy Rollins. Rivera works the cutter and Rollins strikes out looking like a fool. Yankees win Game 3, 6-4!