To say this time of year is anything but the best time period in sports is like saying Kate Upton is not hot or stadium nachos suck; simply not true and I will knock you out like you were Glass Joe if you disagree. Let’s see, we have the NCAA tournament, Masters, NBA and NHL playoffs getting close, and the start of baseball season is right around the corner. Ahhh, baseball season means summer is on its way and the optimism of your favorite team smells stronger than Bourbon Street as midnight hits on Fat Tuesday.
Baseball season to me means playing catch in the backyard, pick-up games in the neighborhood with friends from the block, and video games. I’m not talking MLB the Show or MLB 2K13, but the days when the video games you played were measured in bits and memory cards did not exist. Break out your Nintendo’s and Super Nintendo’s as well as your Ecto Cooler juice boxes and pizza and plan an all-nighter with your friends as I run you back through the best baseball games of your youth.
Bases Loaded, the original version, was my first love baseball game on Nintendo. Boasting a 12-team league, funky wind up motions from pitchers, and umpires named “Yuk, Dum, Boo, and Bum” you never knew what you would get. The teams like Jersey and Boston were loaded at the plate like Tony Larussa behind the wheel and hitting outweighed pitching. Not sure if I enjoyed the hitters celebrating bombs as the pitcher crouched and covered his head or the bullpen cart driving in the relief pitchers to the mound more. Either way, Bases Loaded is like your first girlfriend in that it was fun and you will always have fond memories, but looking back it was very underdeveloped.
No matter if you played the original RBI or RBI II, III you knew this was the original classic when it came to baseball games. This was the first groundbreaking baseball game endorsed by the MLBPA and featured players real names (abbreviated, of course) so you could be your favorite team and players. Sinker balls in the dirt with a funky sound, mammoth home runs, crowd cheering on each run scored, and the all-time great of moving all 9 field players at once trying to track down a grounder leading to unforced runs being scored. The latter was probably the most discerning trait when you mention the game RBI Baseball. This game was your crown jewel and will never be out of style just like the first pair of Jordan’s you owned.
This one was a classic. Let’s start with the American Dream’s. This All-Star team was more illegal than the San Francisco 49ers in Tecmo Super Bowl. It included all of baseball’s most famous names Hank (Aaron), Joe (DiMaggio), Babe (Ruth),Cy (Young) and they were by far the best talent. What set this game apart was it was the first game with the ability to create a team and create players. You had to win to earn money and use it to bolster your player’s abilities. I literally spent the summer of 1992 creating the entire Toronto Blue Jays and rocking SNK’s world with the squad I crafted. Baseball Stars was like the first time you had a beer, your world was blown and you realized how much more there was to life.
Ken Griffey Jr. Baseball:
My favorite baseball game of all time, hands down. When you graduated to Super Nintendo, this holy grail of games was waiting for you. More realistic graphics, whole seasons, newspaper updates and life like players made this game stand out above all else. Oh, and Ken Griffey Jr. If you did not spend days on end using your Athlon baseball guide to edit each and every player in the game then I am guessing you hate stadium nachos or didn’t have a go-to pack of baseball cards to pick out of each box (back right, 3rd pack down).
The Toronto Blue Jays were head and shoulders above any team with Joe Carter, Rickey Henderson, and Paul Molitor just crushing. Speaking of, Kevin Bass and the Houston Astros also crushed it like they were Big Pun. Nothing was cooler than smashing a homer with Ken Griffey Jr into the fountains at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City or the Warehouse at Camden Yards in a home run derby, gold. Ken Griffey Jr. Baseball was like the hot lifeguard at the development pool when you were growing up – the pinnacle of your childhood.
We love our sports and nostalgia at Bacon Sports. We want to know what baseball video games you loved the best while growing up? And what video games or memories does the start of the baseball season bring to mind?
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