Addictive as heck baseball game
February 10, 2011 4:07 AM   Subscribe

The Baseball Club is a game by MetaFilter favorite Taro Ito, best known for Dice Wars. In The Baseball Club you take control of a high school baseball team and attemp to lead them to victory in The World Baseball Tournament. You keep each player for three seasons and train them in batting practice. Warning: Absurdly addictive.
posted by Kattullus (35 comments total) 29 users marked this as a favorite
Crap, I had finally forgotten about Dice Wars! Now I have twice the timewasters to contend with.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 4:57 AM on February 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Super fun, though it's rather tough to read a pitch when the video on my crummy old laptop gets choppy. Breaking balls become braking balls.
posted by HeroZero at 5:26 AM on February 10, 2011

This is so awesome. Might even get my british friends interested in baseball.
posted by parmanparman at 5:42 AM on February 10, 2011

Holy sweetness!
posted by Senator at 6:32 AM on February 10, 2011

I am terrified to close the browser window and lose my progress. Does it save my session?
posted by dirtdirt at 6:53 AM on February 10, 2011

Yeah, it saves it for me (using Chrome on Windows 7).
posted by Kattullus at 7:12 AM on February 10, 2011

You sure are right, grounding out every single hit is super addictive!
posted by cyphill at 7:31 AM on February 10, 2011 [2 favorites]

Yeah I'm with cyphill - the fact that the opposing defense is so good wouldn't be so frustrating if the tops of the innings weren't completely out of your control. And double plays are frightfully common, which kind of adds insult to injury. I don't like being the one who can only say "The game's too hard" but if the idea really is to cultivate your starting first-years for three seasons and only then have a shot at beating tourney round 2, I'm not all that interested.

Then again, I played for three seasons before forming this opinion...
posted by doubleozaphod at 8:48 AM on February 10, 2011

After two seasons, I have a combined 0 runs and have never advanced a runner past second base. I don't get it. All I can ever hit are popup fly balls to second base, which happen independent of whether I swing early or late or even (appear to) hit it perfectly. What gives?
posted by Mayor West at 8:52 AM on February 10, 2011

Dude, I won my first game! The defense is really good but it's possible to get your batters hitting singles and doubles if you practice with them as long as you can to start.
posted by mathowie at 9:03 AM on February 10, 2011 [1 favorite]

Two tips. Make sure to train all your players, don't just max out a couple. Having every player have at least a possibility of getting a good hit is important. And bunting is crucial, advancing a player to a scoring position is much more important than whether you get the player at bat to first (though if your player at bat has over 15 in skill, I'd take the chance and swing for a good ball).

I've made it to the semi-final in the tournament.
posted by Kattullus at 9:04 AM on February 10, 2011

How do you bunt? I can't get it to work right.
posted by mathowie at 9:11 AM on February 10, 2011

How the hell do you bunt? Do you do anything other than click the mouse to swing? Am I missing something?

The key to success, best I can tell, is the "skill" rating. A low-skill lineup means lots of pop-outs. A higher-skill team means a few of those pop-outs mysteriously become base hits. "Power" appears to be irrelevant.

Weirdly, despite racking up some high power numbers on my players, I have yet to get a single dinger in five games. Nor have any opponents. Hm.
posted by Harvey Jerkwater at 9:11 AM on February 10, 2011

Bunt is shift+click.

Skill is more important than power, but higher power players seem to get more doubles and triples. I've yet to get a home run, but the computer has gotten a couple.
posted by Kattullus at 10:05 AM on February 10, 2011

Oh, and if the pitch is too wild, i.e. either too far to the right or left, the bunt will miss and you'll get a strike.
posted by Kattullus at 10:06 AM on February 10, 2011

Watch the shadow of the ball, not the ball itself, to judge when to swing. I won my first game 5-0.
posted by schoolgirl report at 10:13 AM on February 10, 2011

OK, besides shift-click for bunt, are there any other options or controls? How about pause? Did I miss the instructions?
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 11:33 AM on February 10, 2011

Be sure you're swinging at good pitches. If you hit something out of the zone it's a sure out. I'd sure like a word with the ump about his strike zone, and I'm sure a couple of those pitches at least nicked my elbow.
posted by calamari kid at 11:50 AM on February 10, 2011

What's with the CS/DD/ED stuff for player rankings?

Gawd, this is like managing the Tigers. Why are you leaving so many runners on base?
posted by klangklangston at 12:01 PM on February 10, 2011

klangklangston: What's with the CS/DD/ED stuff for player rankings?

It has to do with how well they respond to practice and how much they learn from games. I'm not sure but I think the the letters correspond to power/skill and that they are like letter grades in school. So AC would be someone who's got a lot of potential in increasing his power, but only middling potential to increase his skill. I don't what the S would stand for, whether it's better than A or worse than D.
posted by Kattullus at 12:24 PM on February 10, 2011

S is generally above A in most Japanese video games I've run across. (For instance, in Dead Rising, A is the "good" ending, but S is the "best" ending.)

I can't tell if I'm having any fun, but I'm not stopping...
posted by SpiffyRob at 12:39 PM on February 10, 2011 [2 favorites]

Definitely addicting! Thanks for the link.

The bunting is definitely key. If you can lead off with a double, you can just bunt twice to get them home. Pretty frustrating my first two seasons, but once I built up my stats it gets a lot easier. I made it to the semi-finals in the third year, and your players get a lot of stat increases during the games.
posted by meta87 at 1:09 PM on February 10, 2011

Wish you had some control over your pitching -- I scored 8 runs in the semifinal, but gave up 14. In the end I got sick of it & hex-edited my Flash saved object to give me an army of mutant 99/99 child sluggers (and I won the final, yay). Still, a good little diversion.
posted by zempf at 1:24 PM on February 10, 2011

So tiny! Here's a full screen version.
posted by Rhaomi at 4:27 PM on February 10, 2011 [2 favorites]

Reached the semi-final three years running. Two years I lost very close games. Two players especially had been outstanding the whole time, D. Garcia and P. Murphy, even as rookies they led my team in hits and RBI. By the third year they were stat monsters, with P/S 20+/30+ both. They and the team cruised through all the games up until the semi-final, each game abject humiliation for their opponents. This year, I thought, D. Garcia, P. Murphy and the team will reach the final. It was a 7-0 walloping. D. Garcia and P. Murphy, who probably had something close to .500, had the following at bats: Ground out, pop fly. Outfield catch, ground out. Pop fly, ground out. Ground out, ground out.

I was crushed, not only for me but for poor D. Garcia and P. Murphy. Losing their nerve when they were this close to realizing their dreams! Then I snapped out of it and remembered they were just randomly generated numbers, but still... it's weird how easy it is to get emotionally involved in something like this.
posted by Kattullus at 5:09 PM on February 10, 2011

If you guys like this at all and have an iOS device, I highly recommend "Baseball Superstars 2011" -- it is this same sort of stats focused RPG baseball experience. it has a lot more depth and insanity but it gets insanely addictive.
posted by neustile at 5:27 PM on February 10, 2011

Ito charges the mound! He's--he's got Jenkins a headlock and he's pummeling him! The fielders are crabwalking towards the brouhaha. I've never seen anything like this in all my years on Baseball Club!
posted by Kafkaesque at 9:35 PM on February 10, 2011 [2 favorites]

Yeah that shit is really frustrating. I felt like I was providing seed data to a random process re: hitting
posted by tehloki at 5:37 AM on February 11, 2011

Yes, it's a frustrating game. Here's what I've learned (though I can't win the semi-final game):

* The points earned in batting practice seem to vary wildly by player. I've continued hitting with some players up to 40+ swings, but have gotten worse skill bonuses than some players who've lasted far less long. I can't figure out whether taking a ball in batting practice hurts you (are bonuses percentage based?).
* Only practice with your four "freshman" players. I make them my 3-4-5-6 hitters and let everyone else develop through the games.
* It's imperative to take pitches in games (though the strike-zone can be really varied). Anything that's a ball that you hit is an automatic out (which is a real shame). Also many of the strikes are too hard to hit. Look for your pitch until you have to protect with two strikes.
* I try to bunt as little as possible and only on a third strike to give the pitcher max chance to walk me.
* There is a ten run rule, so if you're about to hit that it is better to "throw" and inning or two to give the computer the chance to catch up and your hitters more time to learn in the game.
* It seems impossible to truly compete until the third year. Focus all your efforts on building a strong enough team to compete then.
posted by jondunc at 8:09 AM on February 11, 2011 [1 favorite]

Strangely, I'm having success with quick mouse clicks to swing (clicking and releasing quickly) rather than prolonged holds.

Also strangely, "swinging" earlier in the pitch (without missing it) seems to yield more line drives.

Watching the shadow rather than the ball is a great suggestion.
posted by bullitt 5 at 8:14 AM on February 11, 2011

I just won the final in my fourth season, thanks to a lot of luck (all of my games involved either a ninth inning comeback or extra innings). I'd echo the earlier suggestions about developing depth rather than a couple of great players and, even more importantly, staying patient at the plate. You really have to wait for the pitcher to make a mistake and work the count to encourage him to throw something down the middle. Those Final team pitchers are deadly, too, since they throw a pitch that's faster than anyone else's and apparently just barely nicks the corner of the strike zone, which makes for an awful lot of 0-2 counts.

I did find that limiting the game to just batting really brought out the batter-pitcher duel in ways that the fuller baseball games I've played mostly don't, because there I'm too busy worrying about playing Guess the Pitch or stealing third to focus on the absolute basics like getting ahead in the count.

Oh, and pay attention to the player potential ratings, they make a huge difference. Anyone on your team who's an EE is as good as worthless, but SSes can and will turn into the 20/30 rated stars of a good team without even that much training.
posted by Copronymus at 11:49 PM on February 12, 2011

Won my first championship. Also learned I can move the worst offensive player to pitcher and then have the former pitcher become a pretty good offensive player.
posted by jkafka at 6:08 PM on February 16, 2011

Huh, so the 10th player is the pitcher? I hadn't figured that out at all.
posted by Kattullus at 1:52 AM on February 17, 2011

I don't think the 10th guy's stats matter though, re: pitching.

I'm in, like, my 20th season and while I've gotten to the championship a couple times, I still haven't won. VEXING!
posted by klangklangston at 10:17 AM on February 17, 2011

I don't think the 10th guy's stats matter though, re: pitching.

I agree. Which is why if that tenth guy's potential is better than one of my hitters, I'm moving him into my lineup.
posted by jkafka at 8:38 PM on February 17, 2011

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