After a better-than-expected April, the New York Mets are off to a dismal start in May. (Hopefully Sunday’s last-minute come-from-behind Mother’s Day win over the Philadelphia Phillies will be the start of the turnaround, but for now I’ll just enjoy it for what it is – a game we’ll see many times on “Mets Classics” this winter.)
Fortunately, the nice folks at Out of the Park Developments offered me a free copy of their latest baseball simulation game if I would agree to write about it. While I can’t do a thing about the real Mets’ lineup or bullpen, I’ve got full control over the organization in the Out of the Park (OOTP) Baseball 15 world.
Well, I still have to answer to digital Fred Wilpon, and he’s expecting the Mets to play .500 ball. But that’s a reasonable goal, right?
To help things along, I signed Stephen Drew to a one-year, $4 million contract to play shortstop for “my” Mets. (Too bad Scott Boras isn’t as agreeable in real life.) I also signed Joel Hanrahan to bolster my bullpen.
I initially let digital “Terry Collins” handle the game management, but he kept making bizarre lineup choices. (I could not get him to consider Daniel Murphy as the starting second baseman – he was strictly a utility player. And when I added Carlos Torres to the bullpen, “Collins” thought he’d be perfect in the starting rotation instead.) I’ve since decided to take over for him as well as Sandy Alderson.
The computer AI general managers are a bit weird, too. The Phillies traded me Marlon Byrd for Anthony Recker and Kirk Nieuwenhuis, and there have been dozens of trades made through the first six weeks of the season.
But just like in the real world, pitchers are sustaining significant injuries at alarming rates. My digital team still has Bobby Parnell in the bullpen, but both Jon Niese and Bartolo Colon have been sidelined. Considering those losses and the fact that I just sent Zack Wheeler and his 0-5, 5.98 record to the bullpen, a 17-20 start doesn’t seem so bad. (Bright side: Rafael Montero has already made his MLB debut in my OOTP15 world and he’s off to a 1-1, 3.96 start.)
OOTP 15 allows you to play through full games as your team’s manager (which takes 20-30 minutes) or just simulate them and see the box score (which takes a second or two.) As much as it’s practical, I’m planning to play through the full games for the rest of the Mets season.
I may or may not get better results than the real Mets, but having some control over the digital version takes away some of the frustration. I’d recommend it to any aspiring armchair GMs.
For more information about OOTP 15, visit http://www.ootpdevelopments.com/out-of-the-park-baseball/index.php
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of OOTP 15 baseball to review.