Baseball cards are great. They get you closer to the players. You learn great statistics, stories and backgrounds for the game's greatest stars as well as the obscure. You are presented annually with multiple options to please set collectors, big-hit hunters, insert junkies, and relic hounds. It helps you appreciate the great game of baseball while owning a piece of the game.
Another way to get even closer to the game is to play the game. I tried when I was a kid. I played little league for several years. I used to ride my bike to practice, and to games all over town in 95 degree heat. Unfortunately, I was a very tall kid, but very awkward as well. While I could hit the ball okay, I was a terrible fielder, so the coach would always stick me out in the outfield, which only made things worse because I was awful at judging fly balls. if I could get under one, I could (most likely) make the catch. But the whole running and judging where the ball was going to land was not a strong point and the ball would oft fly over my head. I found out later that I needed glasses and had trouble judging depth due to astigmatism. I also found out later in life in softball leagues that I am a better infielder because you don't really have to judge depth and it's more about reaction time.
The problem with playing softball in Oregon? It rains too much. You pay your league fee up front and half of the games are rained out and never made up. Even if it rained three days earlier, it is entirely possible the fields won't be playable. The heck with it.
Sooo, there is yet ANOTHER option on how to play baseball, and that is on the comforts of your own sofa with your television and video game system. The annual debate of which is better MLB2k series or MLB The Show rages on.
For me, the answer is simple. I have an Xbox, therefore MLB 2K wins by default. But the online debate can get rather comical with each side adamantly defending their purchase. Xboxers try to talk up their product because they have no choice, and Playstationers talk trash about theirs because they are trying justify spending a massive amount of money more for their system (yes, the gap is closing on price, but not really).
I sat down today and pulled up some YouTube videos of each. If so inclined, here is some eye-candy for each product:
MLB 10 The Show: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYyKDUKsR8Y
So which is better? Well, just based on the videos, I am blown away with the attention to detail that The Show puts into the game. Everything from the umpire adjusting his mask to vendors throwing peanuts to the crowd. And occasional it just LOOKS like you are watching the game on television. Well done.
But it's certainly not perfect. Remember those vendors selling food? Yeah, they come through the section every 10 seconds...that is the best fed group of fans on the planet. Also, comparing the two I would have to say that the announcing in The Show is lacking a bit compare to MLB2K10. When it comes down to it, its all about the game play and physics, and you simply cannot tell from the demos how the game will play until you play it.
MLB2K10 has been a roller coaster of a series for Xbox. The Simpsons lynch mob was all over the game last season for all sorts of bugs and imperfections. I still enjoyed it because I don't have a Playstation and also had not played another baseball in about five years, so it was leap-years ahead of where it had been. But the dropped fly balls and other errors were a bit annoying. To top it off, I believe that some teams were more glitchy than others (separate designers made each team) so it was impossible for me to be the Red Sox with all the errors. I settled for the Mets.
So I gave this year's demo a go. It appears to be a pretty fun game and I will definitely purchase it this week, but I don't think it will be nearly as good as The Show. But I am okay with that. Once you get going on a season, you get sucked into the game play and the stats and all is good.
Of course this means laying down the COD weapons and picking up a bat instead. Waiting patiently for the right pitch and playing a leisurely game of baseball does not do good things to the reflexes when trying to go BACK to Call of Duty down the road. Oh well. Bullets for base hits is not all that bad of a trade.