12 April 2018

Opiate for the Woeful Baseball Masses: MLB Manager 2018

The season so far resembles the lunar landscape.  Deep, visible chasms with a few high points on the edges of many craters.  Manny Machado is riding a rocket into the stratosphere (presumably away from Baltimore) and Dylan Bundy has tried to wear the ace crown.  On the edges, we see some interesting play from Andrew Cashner, Richard Bleier, and Pedro Alvarez.  The rest is rough.  The rest is difficult to think too long on without getting a little frustrated over all of the missed opportunities.  At times like this, it can be hard to let go of that frustration and a need arises to self medicate.

The mobile version of Outside of the Park, MLB Manager 2018 (Google Play; Apple), is the opiate for the woeful baseball masses.  Does Manny leaving anger you?  Then sign him long-term.  Find a way to work him into your payroll structure and adapt the rest of your roster to succeed.  Does Chris Davis' performance frustrate you?  Well...you are probably unable to trade him, but you can release him and just swallow the money.  Anyway, the list goes on and on about your options and opportunities to change your team.

Choose Your Own Adventure
Most of you who are aware of OOTP series of games may be aware of the incredibly vast effort in their desktop format.  That version of the game ended as an option for me years ago when my first kid came into being.  The amount of time it took to provide the proper attention the minors, front office, and the active roster required an intensive amount of focus for me to get where I wanted to be with my fictional team.  If you have the time and desire, that is really the one to play.  If time is crunched in your daily life, then seek out the mobile platform version.

The mobile platform consolidates the game into the core elements needed for the game and what works for the smaller screen of your smart phone.  The improvements over the years to the mobile format are clear.  The interface is more intuitive and touch strikes no longer require any learning where to touch the screen.  It used to be in the past that you needed experience with the game to know where to touch the screen.  The strike areas simply were narrow or placed slightly off the graphics.  This year's version is perfect in that regard.  I never had a mis-strike playing the game, which greatly improves the user experience.

When I took over the club, I had trouble.  I inherited an Orioles team that was thin on talent.  My little tricks to utilize bullpen days in tight games or to improve run scoring chances with baserunning substitutions did little to improve my fate.  The biggest and most satisfying splash was to sign Manny Machado long term.  I also flipped him back over to third base where I believe he really belongs.  That said, I spent that season losing a lot, hurting a lot, but I had my Manny.

In fact, it took years to turn the roster around.  Chris Davis was immovable and that prevented utilizing resources for other endeavors.  The minor league system came up pretty empty with a lone exception, such as what became a magnificent Cody Sedlock performance for a few years.  After four years in misery, I was able to rearrange some deck chairs and buy some fancy new ones.  That all resulted in a Manager of the Year performance and a trip all the way to game seven of the World Series before bowing out.

It is a fun aside.  You can go as deep as managing a game or simply skip ahead a week at a time, taking more of a Brady Anderson role where you ignore most of the operations of the team but then can stick your head in here and there to disrupt things.  Unfortunately, I never won Manny his World Series.

He did get into the Hall of Fame though.


MLB Manager 2018
(Google Play)


Unknown said...

Can you manage minor leagues? rule five picks? monitor waiver wire?

how in-depth is it? can you play it muliplayer like a "online connected franchise" from madden or the show?

Jon Shepherd said...

All of that can be done with their desktop version Outside of the Park. This mobile version is stripped down, so minor leaguers just appear as a pool. No rule 5. No waiver wire. Outside of the Park has anything you can think of and each year they go through baseball studies to improve the game engine. The desktop version is impressive for how comprehensive it is.