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Game Review: Out of the Park Baseball 10

For as long as I've had a computer I've played computer baseball games on it. In the days of my old Apple II+, with no hard drive, the game was pretty simple, then for a few years "Earl Weaver's Baseball" was the game of choice. Then the last few years I've played various versions of Diamond Mind Baseball, which is a straight replay type game.

Out of the Park Baseball is a baseball simulation where you get to play the role of the GM and can be the  Manager,  as well. It is a text game, there are no graphic of players making plays, if you want an arcade game, this one's not for you. I first came across it around version 6 and really liked the game. Then when version 8 came out I bought that one and hated it, played it enough to know it wasn't for me.  But version 10 has been out for awhile and they had a sale over the All-Star break so I thought I'd try it again. The short review, as much as I disliked version 8 I like version 10, they seem to have fixed the things that bothered me about version 8. More after the jump.

It is a very complicated game, basically you become GM of what ever Major League team you like, all other teams are controlled by a computer GM. You can control everything, major league roster, pitching rotation, lineups, minor league system, you can even manage each game if you like. The game includes each team's complete minor league system, 6 teams, right from Rookie League to Triple A, complete with all the players that were on those teams at the start of this season. 

First you pick what team you want to run, for some reason I chose the Jays. We start with the roster that Jays had, including Shawn Marcum, Dustin McGowan and Casey Janssen on the DL. I'm sure it won't come as a surprise that the first thing I did was trade off Kevin Millar for a non-prospect who was playing in A-Ball.  I brought Randy Ruiz up to fill his spot. Like real baseball, players have to be on the 40 man roster to be on the major league team, which complicates things.

You can do anything a GM does sign free agents, place players on waivers, pick up players off waivers. Anything. The game has a hard cap for salaries, you can't spend more than the game decides you will be bringing it for revenue. Players get injured, go through slumps and hot streaks, develop skills when young, decline as they age. I'm about 40 games into a season with the Jays and I've had a number of injuries, Travis Snider, Jesse Litsch and Roy Halladay are on the DL at the moment.

Trades can be made different ways, you can pick the player you want from another team and offer  players and money for him and see if the other team accepts. I traded a bunch of prospects for Brandon Wood. You can shop a player, basically letting all the other teams know you want to trade a guy and see if anyone will offer anything for him. Just like real life, no one would take Vernon Wells or BJ Ryan. Or you can put a player on the 'trading block', which again lets other teams know you want to trade the player and if a team has injuries or some reason to want that at some point they will offer a trade. You also get offers from other teams now and then.

Players have ratings for hitting, speed, defense and even 'moral'. If a player doesn't like something you've done, his moral goes down, like say if you put Vernon on the trading block, he will be unhappy or if you take the closers role from Ryan, he'll be unhappy. 

As manager, playing a game, you have all the normal options, you can bunt, steal, hit and run, run and hit. On defense you can shift the infield and outfield, guard the line, play the infield in or play the corners. And pitching, you can intentionally walk the batter, pitch around him, try to pickoff runners or even order the pitcher to hit the batter. As with real life, starting pitchers need rest after a start and relievers will need a day or two off if they are used a bunch. Even fielders tire if they play everyday for a while.

Though I'm very much enjoying the game so far, here are a few things I don't like. During games it takes relievers a long time to warm up. If you get a pitcher warming in your half of an inning he still won't be ready to go in by your half of the inning. You can shut that off so you don't have to warm a pitcher up before he goes in but that's not a perfect solution either. Some of the menus are confusing. There have been a lot of injuries, I guess there is a way to tell the game to have fewer but it makes the game more interesting to have players go up and down from the minors a lot.

All in all the game is great fun. If you'd like to think you could be a GM, it's likely the closest you will get, until they fire JP and hire you. Screen shots can be found here.

And my Jays are a game under .500 at the 40 game mark. Vernon is hitting about as poorly as in real life. Rolen is hitting far worse than real life, I think the game has decided he is over the hill. Scoot is doing about the same as this year, Hill isn't hitting homers but is still good. The bullpen has been awful, but the starters have been quite good. Ricky Romero doesn't have good ratings, which you can understand, he didn't look like a major leaguer before the season. Like the real Jays, to do much with the team, I've got to dump salary and  that won't be easy. Depressingly, just like in real life, I know have 5 starting pitchers on the DL.