Big Hitting action is back with EA Sports and Treyarch's Triple Play 2001. Homeruns have been the theme of this storied series from the beginning and it doesn?t look to change any this year. Good graphics, MLB and MLBPA licenses, internet play, and the new MLBPA Big League Challenge with legendary players make Triple Play the newest in this exiting baseball series.
Ahhh Baseball, the breakfast of champions, the light of our lives, and the chocolaty nugget at the bottom of a goulash pie. Indeed, baseball is America's sport and it should be treated with respect, and dignity, you know, like a chocolaty nugget. There are plenty of game developers looking to make games that deliver the feeling and fun of the game but it seems for the most part that PC developers are having a hard time doing it. The newest in the bunch of the baseball 2001 editions is EA's Triple Play 2001. But did this game really live up to the nugget level of goodness? Nope, and there are plenty of reasons why.
It seems like after making baseball games for such a long time, the people making the games would have figured out what exactly it is that makes baseball games fun. It is the graphics? Is it the gameplay? Is it the ability to run a team over a season? Is it all of the extra goodies put into the game? Well, it's all of these and I wish that some company would finally realize that. EA didn't. They managed to make a game that succeeded in giving players the options that they have gotten used to seeing in baseball games, but they failed in the execution of these said options.
So where should we begin? Let's go with the chocolaty covering on our would-be nugget commonly known as the graphics. As seems to be the norm with baseball games, the stands are terrible looking. At this point I think I might give a baseball game a 10 just for finally figuring out how to make the stands look acceptable without sacrificing game performance. They made an attempt at making the stands look better by putting up some flat cut out people in the front row around the stadium. Whoever thought of this should really go back to design school, because it actually makes the stands look considerably worse than if they had just left the crowd as a flattened texture.
Enough about the stands, onto the models of the players. I'm kind of wishy-washy about these models because they really aren't that good, but I can't rail on them too much for being bad because I've seen much worse. They do a good job approximating the size of the actual players, and the textures are passable, but I really didn't sit up in my seat at attention when I saw them. They look like every other basic model in baseball games. The animations that they assigned to the models were pretty good though. They were smooth, realistic, and fun to watch for the most part. Although I have to point out that when the players run to first they look like a monkey learning to run on two feet.
Unfortunately, the nugget really doesn't taste any better on the inside than it looks on the outside. Fielding isn't that difficult but is sluggish and really not very fun to play. One good thing is that for beginners they try to help out a little bit by having a huge arrow point from your fielder to where the ball is going. This was a good idea but the arrow just is too damn big and tends to confuse more than help.
Pitching and batting are the meat and potatoes of baseball right? This is where the game starts and what has to happen every single play. So you would think that this would be the part of the game that the developers would spend the most thought and time to make work in a fun and playable manner. The first side of this ugly quarter is the pitching. Maybe I'm a little spoiled by other games, but I think that this pitching scheme was one of the worst that I've played. Even the very limited pitching possibilities of RBI baseball for the original Nintendo was better that this. It works something like this; you get to pick your pitch type, then you get to pick where the ball will go. But the problem here is that there are only 17 different places that you can through the pitch (look for yourself at the bottom of the review). You can pick one of those boxes to pick from. Of course this screen only shows if you are using the mouse or keyboard to play. If you are using the gamepad, you pick whether you are going to throw a ball or a strike before you pitch and pick which box you will throw into by pointing in the direction you want the ball to go. Then you get to watch the ball sail over the plate or go way outside depending on whether you picked to throw a ball or a strike. I wouldn't recommend throwing balls ever as the computer swung at one ball I threw the entire time I played the game. This is extremely frustrating as the computer throws balls all of the time, but it is really hard to tell if they are going to be a ball or a strike before it is too late.
Which brings me to batting. Ugh. There are two choices for batting, easy and hard. Easy just requires you just press the swing button and lets you try to direct the ball by pressing up or down to get the ball to fly up, drive into the ground, or hit a line drive. This wasn't so hard, but it is really a matter of luck whether you get a hit or not. One interesting note on this as well is that you push up on the controller to hit the ball in the air. It took me a while to figure that out as in order to get under the ball and hit it in the air, your bat needs to undercut the ball.
Now batting in hard mode is really just an exercise in anger management. I had to keep myself from punching the screen out of frustration half of the time. Basically in hard you have to pick one of the nine strike zone boxes from the pitching interface. This of course is done on the fly and is incidentally very, very hard to hit as the computer gives you absolutely no indication of where the ball is going. So it becomes a guessing game as to where the ball is going to go and when to swing. I'm not sure if they realized this, but most people have issues with 3D environments on a 2D screen that doesn't allow for accurate depth perception. It is really hard to judge where the ball is in the space in order to be able to hit it. I'm not sure what possessed them to use this batting interface, but it is clunky and frustrating compared to a game like MS Baseball 2001.
One thing that isn't all that bad in the game is the sounds. The effects, crowd noise and music that plays over the PA system are pretty good and get the job done. The commentary isn't bad but it gets pretty repetitive. I have to gripe about the opening music however. They decided to remix Magic Carpet Ride by Steppenwolf and really muffed it up. Shame on y'all.
There are four options for game types to choose from including Big League Challenge, Season Mode, Playoff Mode, and Home Run Legends. The season mode allows for trading and has all of the options that you come to expect in a baseball game including the optional draft, and the ability to create new players. The game even allows you to put your face on a character in the game. The Home Run Legends is just a home run derby that pits the big hitters from all time against each other and while it's fun for a minute, isn't lasting fun. Big League Challenge is basically the same thing as the home derby as well, but if you play in Extreme Mode, then you can hit homeruns at targets in the outfield and score points.
If you were planning on buying a baseball game this year, then go and buy High Heat Baseball 2001 or MS Baseball 2001 and skip this game. At almost 40 dollars, this game is way too expensive for the quality considering MS Baseball is 10 dollars cheaper and has more options, looks just as good, and plays much better.
-- Dan Adams
Triple Play 2001 Cheats
Hit a home run with a pitcher in season mode: Babe Ruth
Throw nine consecutive strike outs: Big Ball
Make an over the wall or diving catch: Big Glove
Get 10 consecutive strikeouts or pitch a shutout in season mode:
Win home run title with a player from the Brewers or get a triple play in season mode: Eddie Matthews
Hit a home run from each side of the plate with a switch-hitter: Eddie Murray
Get six double plays in season mode: Ernie Banks
Steal all bases with your team or steal three bases with one player in one game: Fast Players
Throw six consecutive strike outs: Flaming Ball
Get back to back homeruns in your first two at bats or win the NL Triple Crown: Frank Robinson
Hit four homeruns in a single game in season mode: Hank Aaron
Hit three homeruns over 500 feet or get a triple play and two double plays in one game in season mode: Harmon Killebrew
Make two diving catches in one game: Huge glove
Win 10 consecutive games in season mode or win by three or more runs at Pac Bell park, Kauffman Stadium, Coors Field or Edison International: Island Stadium
Steal home in the playoffs or steal second and third in one game during the regular season: Jackie Robinson
Hit a ground rule double, get eight RBIs in one game or hit foul pole: Jimmie Foxx
Hit a home run with a player over 250 lbs: Large Players
Hit for the cycle or win 117 games in one season: Lou Gehrig
Hit a grand slam in the World Series or hit a home run with a player that is under 5 feet 7 inches: Mel Ott
Win the Triple Crown with any AL player or hit a home run over 575 feet: Mickey Mantle
Hit four home runs or two inside the park home runs in one game:
Strike out six consecutive times: Pencil Heads
Make three double plays in one game: Power up defense
Hit 10 home runs in one game: Power up offense
Steal two consecutive bases with the same player: Power up speed
Score five runs with one player in a single game: Pulsating Bat
Make three diving catches in one game: Pulsating Glove
Score 12 runs in a single game: Pulsating Head
Hit 10 home runs in one game with your entire team or hit an inside the park HR: Reggie Jackson
Throw five consecutive strikeouts: Satchel Paige
Strike out 20 consecutive batters: Short Bat
Hit a ground rule double or two inside the park home runs in season mode: Space Stadium
Get caught stealing three or more times: Strong Arm
Beat a game on All-Star difficulty: Super Difficulty
Hit three double plays in one game: Ted Williams
Win the World Series as Detroit Tigers or hit two triples in one game: Ty Cobb
Four diving catches in a singe game: Willie Mays
Win the World Series with the San Francisco Giants or hit 3 home runs in a row: Willie McCovey
Win the World Series: Unlock All Teams
Hit a homerun with a pitcher: Babe Ruth
Get 2 home runs by 1 player in 1 game: Big Bat
Earn 4 runs in 1 game: Big Head
Pitch a complete game shutout with any pitcher: Cy Young
Hit 4 consecutive home runs: Hank Aaron
Earn 8 runs in 1 game: Huge Head
Hit a homerun over 564 feet: Mickey Mantle
Get 8 hits in 1 game: Tall Players
Get 16 hits in 1 game: Small Head
Get 12 hits in 1 game: Small Players
Triple Play 2001 Game Walkthrough
TRIPLE PLAY 2001
"The No-Cheat FAQ"
By Dennis L. "Fox" Doucette(email@example.com)
June 2, 2000
This FAQ is Copyright 2000 by Dennis L. Doucette. It is licensed free of any
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|TABLE OF CONTENTS|
1. Revision History
2. My Cheat Code Policy for Sports Games
3. Game Modes
A. Single Game
D. Big League Challenge
E. Legends HR Derby
4. Basic Strategy
5. Slightly More Advanced Strategy
A. Situational Hitting
B. Pitching to Get the Strikeout
C. Fielder's Choice---Making the Right Throw
D. Clever Baserunning
E. Enhanced Batting, Pitching, and Running with the Season Store
6. Highly Advanced Batting and Pitching Strategy
A. How To Use (And Hit) Each of the Eight Types of Pitches
G. Splitfingered Fastball (Splitter or Forkball)
J. Driving Your Friends Crazy In Three Easy Steps
7. Stupid Stat Tricks
A. Getting Your Guys on the All-Star Team
B. Milking Another K from a Pitcher
C. How to Blow Saves in Three Easy Steps
D. Simulating Injuries (They Can't All be Iron Men, Can They?)
8. How to Use The Team Guides
A. Where Are My Favorite Players?
B. About the Designated Hitter Rule As It Relates To These Guides
C. List of Abbreviations
9. National League East Team Guides
A. Atlanta Braves
B. Florida Marlins
C. Montréal Expos
D. New York Mets
E. Philadelphia Phillies
10. National League Central Team Guides
A. Chicago Cubs
B. Cincinnati Reds
C. Houston Astros
D. Milwaukee Brewers
E. Pittsburgh Pirates
F. St. Louis Cardinals
11. National League West Team Guides
A. Arizona Diamondbacks
B. Colorado Rockies
C. Los Angeles Dodgers
D. San Diego Padres
E. San Francisco Giants
12. American League East Team Guides
A. Baltimore Orioles
B. Boston Red Sox
C. New York Yankees
D. Tampa Bay Devil Rays
E. Toronto Blue Jays
13. American League Central Team Guides
A. Chicago White Sox
B. Cleveland Indians
C. Detroit Tigers
D. Kansas City Royals
E. Minnesota Twins
14. American League West Team Guides
A. Anaheim Angels
B. Oakland Athletics
C. Seattle Mariners
D. Texas Rangers
15. Coming Soon
|1. REVISION HISTORY|
Version 0.5 (4/6/00)---The first edition of this FAQ. This is a different
kind of sports game FAQ, one devoted much more to strategy than simply finding
as many cheat codes as possible and beating the machine into next week with
automatic strikeouts and home runs.
Version 0.75 (4/27/00)--Added the "Stupid Stat Tricks" section after learning
a few valuable lessons about what to do and more importantly, what NOT to do
with the stats compiler feature.
Version 1.0 (5/1/00)--Ladies and Gentlemen, the first of the Team Guides! I'm
going to update them one step (that is, one division) at a time until they're
done, and note that some of these versions may be online for less than a week
before they're updated...depending on my posting schedule. Version 1.01 will
fix my glaring omission of the Overall ratings from the Marlins' pitching
Version 1.01 (5/2/00)-Fixed the glaring omission of the Overall ratings from
the Marlins' pitching staff. Added a tidbit about the Home Run Derby show,
which came in an email yesterday morning.
Version 1.1 (5/6/00)--Been working on these Team Guides for far too long, I'm
starting to like them. Added the NL Central team guides. Also added a note
about the non-union players and why they're not included in the game...thanks
to KManSF49@aol.com for outright asking me about those players and in the
process convincing me to include the note in my FAQ.
Version 1.25 (5/16/00)---Here we go again! I've been compiling a lot of data
lately for some other FAQs I have in the pipeline, but I'm taking some time to
get caught up and get this one out of the way. Added the NL West team guides,
and added a note to the "Enhanced Pitching" section. Also, I added the entire
"Highly Advanced Batting And Pitching Strategy" section.
Version 1.26 (5/19/00)--Added my New Copyright Rules to the top of the FAQ.
Version 1.3 (5/23/00)--Another division, and a new section to Stupid Stat
Tricks. Thanks are due to reader Chris Black for giving me the idea. He
asked me if it was possible for players to get injured in the game (it isn't),
and it occurred to me that perhaps to make the gaming experience more
realistic, you could simulate injuries somehow. Look in Stupid Stat Tricks
for my thoughts on how you might wish to do this. I've also inserted a couple
of extra notes in with the new Team Guides about the DH rule.
Version 1.4 (6/1/00)--This took entirely too long to get online, but I have
my reasons. I've got the American League Central team guides up, one more
division to go.
Version 2.0 (6/2/00)--As proof that it is possible for me to work quickly, I
hereby present the full Team Guides in their absolute entirety! Sure, it was
four days after my self-imposed deadline, but better late than never, eh?
NOTE: Those of you who are wondering why you can't use the stadiums you buy
in the Season store, I don't know. Near as I can tell, you can't. You have
to finish the season, then you can use them in other game modes, but your team
plays in its home stadium no matter what in Season mode. Thanks are due to
Trevor Davie (firstname.lastname@example.org) for this information...since I play 162
games in a season, it would have taken me months to figure this out myself.
NEXT UP: I'm going to work on the Trades/Free Agents section, but it will be
a long time in coming, because I want to start working on some other FAQ
projects, and there are only so many hours in a day and I don't need to have
any complaints from my girlfriend that she's neglected.
|2. MY CHEAT CODE POLICY FOR SPORTS GAMES|
Come on, people. Does everyone who owns sports games try to unlock all the
secrets and then cheat like nobody's business in order to win by the largest
margin of victory possible? Any idiot can unlock the "Fast Baserunning" or
"Super Powerup" cheats and win the games 300 to nothing simply by bunting for
a base hit until the bases are loaded and then unloading a grand slam home
run...and using powered-up pitching to blow 120-mph fastballs past the enemy
hitters for 27 K's a game. That's not sports, though. The whole idea of
these type of games is to use the one-player mode to perfect your fundamentals
then use those enhanced fundamentals to totally whip on your friends when they
come over to play. Rather than have them show you up when you can't rely on
your pathetic techniques, you have to outthink and outsmart them with corner-
nibbling sliders and curveballs, plate-bouncing splitfinger pitches, and two-
strike changeups that cause your friends to yell "no fair!" because you made
them look silly. This guide will help you to master the fundamentals and
nuances and be able to win fairly...which will make you unstoppable in two-
|3. GAME MODES|
Triple Play 2001 offers several interesting game modes, each with their own
styles, advantages, and disadvantages. Most notably, it gives you the chance
to put Mark McGwire up in a Home Run Derby against Babe Ruth, or something
similar...or just hunker down in the trenches for 162 games of grueling wars
of attrition known as "season mode". The full MLB license (an absolute must
for any game) makes the whole thing authentic using stats from the 1999 season
as a guide to player ratings.
|3A. SINGLE GAME|
This does as its name implies. Pick teams, pick a stadium, and play with the
rosters before the game (you can even hold a roto-style draft to get the best
players for your squad in a true All-Star format). Then take the field and
go nine, may the best men win.
|3B. SEASON MODE|
Like Single Game, this allows you to mess with rosters and the like, with the
difference being that "points cap play" prevents you from making too many
unfair trades. In addition, certain feats during gameplay (hitting home runs,
striking out enemy hitters, turning double plays, etc.) allow you to earn
points that can be used to upgrade your players or buy Legendary players, or
even buy new and interesting stadiums (ever wanted to play baseball on the
moon?) The Points make this game similar in some regards to the NES classic
"Baseball Stars", when the player could earn money to use toward buying player
upgrades. If you win the World Series in this mode, you go to the Triple Play
World Showdown to play against six dream-style teams.
Go directly to the madness of the Major League Baseball playoffs with this
mode. You can set your playoffs up any way you wish, so if you want to create
a playoff tree in which your team need only go through the Padres, Marlins,
and Twins to get to the championship, then you have that right (although why
you'd want to beat up on crappy teams...haven't we been over this already?)
Choose a single-elimination format, a best-of-five series, or the standard
5-7-7 format in use in baseball today, and get off and running!
|3D. BIG LEAGUE CHALLENGE|
Back in the late 1950's and early 1960's, there was a television program known
as "Home Run Derby", which pitted the best sluggers of the day in a
mano-a-mano struggle to determine who was the best hitter of the time. The
format had players playing nine innings in which a home run was worth a point
and any swing not resulting in a homer was an out. Three outs an inning, nine
innings, and the best score at the end would be the champion.
Well, EA Sports has brought this time-honored contest back in the form of "Big
League Challenge". The rules are exactly the same for the traditional
tournament format, in which you and an opponent (human or mechanical) go 1, 3,
5, 7, or 9 innings with 1, 2, or 3 outs per inning in a Home Run Derby.
There is also an extremely cool feature called "Extreme Big League Challenge",
which is better described as "Target Practice". Contestants play in one of
four "extreme" stadiums (Cashman Field in Las Vegas, Construction Site,
Medieval Castle, or Living Room in Mission Viejo, CA), where the object is not
just to hit towering home runs, but also to demolish a series of targets (the
Living Room stadium provides high comedy in this regard). The home runs are
worth one point for every two feet they travel (a 400-foot homer would thus be
worth 200 points), and the targets are worth anywhere from one hundred (for
easy targets just beyond the fence), to ten thousand (for small targets or
ones in foul ground). Note that a foul ball that hits a target in foul ground
is counted as a home run, so don't write off that ball sprayed down the line
until it lands! The innings and outs remain the same, and total point value
Note that "Big League Challenge" makes an awesome place to "take BP", because
you can set up the Home Run Derby in your favorite team's home stadium and hit
long balls to your heart's content. Also, you can set what kind of pitch is
coming, so you can learn how to hit fastballs, curve balls, sliders, changeups
and even the infamous knuckleball.
|3E. LEGENDS HOME RUN DERBY|
Not only can you do the 1950's style Home Run Derby with today's players, you
can even make believe it's 1959 all over again and pit the legendary players
against each other in a tournament. If you're going to make the Home Run
Derby experience completely authentic, then let me point out that the old TV
show was filmed in Los Angeles, so if you pick Dodger Stadium, you'll be very
close to authenticating the whole thing, although you won't be exactly there
because the field used was in LA but wasn't Dodger Stadium exactly. It was a
stadium nicknamed (by an odd coincidence) Wrigley Field. (Thanks to alert
reader David Shucosky (email@example.com) for the tidbit.)
Other than that, the game mode works exactly the same way, except the default
game is five innings for the prelims and seven innings for the final,
presumably to prevent the player from having to push the button over and over
and over again and develop carpal tunnel from a four-hundred homer opening
round. This mode is surprisingly overrated for just that very reason.
|4. BASIC STRATEGY|
This is for those of you who have an understanding of the rudiments of the
sport of baseball (and if you don't know how to play baseball then why did you
buy a baseball game?) but don't really have a firm grasp on the strategy
element of it. A lot of this stuff will look really obvious, some of the
other stuff is covered to some extent in the manual, but I'm going to go over
it just to make sure everyone's with me.
Batting is pretty simple. It's just a matter of waiting for the right pitch,
timing your swing right (which you should have mastered in Big League
Challenge Mode before playing a game...I told you it's good batting practice!)
and having the D-pad pushed in the right direction for the type of hit you're
trying to achieve (it's awfully hard to hit home runs with the D-pad pointed
towards "ground ball swing"!) Push X for a conservative swing, which will
make contact and is great for getting base hits in critical situations or for
getting some hits off a pitcher who seems to own your team. Push the square
button for an aggressive swing, which is the button you should be using in
all situations EXCEPT for the ones I've just mentioned. The square button
allows your player to really get a hold of the ball, and if you time it just
right, you can hit line drive home runs that travel as far as 450 feet without
ever rising more than about 10-12 feet off the ground. Also, square button
hitting tends to create long line drives that go for doubles and triples into
the gap. Use the circle button to bunt, good for when your pitcher comes up
and you want him to move a baserunner over without risking hitting into a
Pitching is even simpler, yet if you make mistakes, your pitcher is going to
spend an awful lot of his time with his neck craned upward and his head facing
the outfield wall as he watches his offering get turned into a monster home
run by the enemy hitter. The key is to KEEP THE BALL DOWN. That's it. There
really isn't any more to it. KEEP THE BALL DOWN. KEEP IT DOWN!
Sorry for the overload, but it's true. Don't mess around with sliders and
curves unless your opponent is human. The computer players hit the curveball
with frightening precision and power. The computer player can only be beaten
by four pitches: The Fastball, the Change-Up, the Sinker, and the Splitter.
Any other pitch will be jacked out of the yard with some regularity.
Use the X button for all of your pitches, because if you have "Aftertouch"
turned on it will eliminate the need for setting up outside of the strike zone
with the initial pitch setup. Then hold down on the D-Pad while you deliver
the pitch, starting your "hold-down" at different times depending on your
pitcher's control, which seems to vary game to game and even inning to inning,
so there's no catch-all secret to doing this. Learn through trial and error,
and don't cry over it if you give up a couple of gopher balls. After all, you
know how to bat, right? If the pitch goes for a ball or strike, repeat the
process...otherwise, resolve the issue in the field and get ready for the next
Fielding is easy enough. Set it to Automatic. I know that sounds like a
rather underhanded way to resolve the issue, but you don't need to be wasting
your time fighting the controls as you chase the ball all over the place. You
want your guys to be in position to make the play and the throw, and this is
the best way to accomplish that. So set Fielding to Automatic, but set the
Throwing to Manual so you can be absolutely sure what base you're throwing the
After your fielder picks up the ball, choose a base to throw to (use the icon
of the diamond in the top right of the screen to determine where the runners
are), and press square for an aggressive power throw or X for a conservative
throw. The difference lies in the likelihood of a throwing error, so use X
if you've got the baserunner beaten by a good distance, and use square for
close plays, double plays, and throws from the outfield. If you have errors
turned off, then use square for all of your throws, as a throwing error is no
longer possible with this option set.
EA Sports really improved the baserunning this year. They made it possible
to override a lot of the stuff that Automatic baserunning tends to make your
player do, while keeping a level of AI in the runners of which you are not in
direct control. Automatic baserunning is therefore a better option, though
certainly not foolproof. This year, you can determine how much of a lead your
runners take, when they take off to steal, and the method by which they slide
(head- or feet-first).
It also behooves you to watch the pitcher, because if you're going to use this
method to steal bases, you're also going to have to beware because if you give
the order to take off too soon, you're going to be caught in a rundown by the
pickoff throw...and that just makes you look bad. Be aggressive, but be
mindful of what's going on, and remember that all you've got to do is take
your finger off the D-pad and the runner will automatically retreat to the
base when the throw comes (useful for preventing accidentally sending a runner
from elsewhere on the diamond when there are multiple runners on base).
|5. SLIGHTLY MORE ADVANCED STRATEGY|
These strategies get into the meat of not just hitting and pitching, but doing
so with an eye towards saving a couple of runs and making the difference in a
close game. Some of these strategies can mean a subtle difference between
losing 6-5 in nine or winning 7-6 in eleven. The Basic strategy is great when
you're way ahead or behind, but you'll need more ammo for the close fights.
|5A. SITUATIONAL HITTING|
One of the most common mistakes people make when playing baseball games (real
or video) is the misconception that you should always be trying to hit the
ball as far as humanly possible, trying for a home run every time you're at
bat. Lack of patience, however, can lead to nightmares when the wind is
blowing in from dead center and none of your hits are carrying beyond the
fence. It's real frustrating to swing for the fences every time and lose 2-1
because you couldn't generate any offense with men on base.
The secret is to use what real-world baseball commentators call "situational
hitting". This refers to the art of trying for the single down the line with
a guy on second, so the guy on second has the opportunity to make the turn at
third base and come charging toward home with enough head of steam to beat the
throw. Also, it means you can bust out your home-run swing with a guy on
third base because even if you hit a fly to the track that gets caught just in
front of the wall, you've still got a sacrifice and an RBI.
Sometimes a well-placed bunt can create some great opportunities as well. For
this example, I'm going to use the New York Mets, but you can use any team.
The situation is, it's the bottom of the 7th, game tied at 2, and a pitching
change will be made to start the 8th. Darryl Hamilton leads off with a base
hit into left field, and Rey Ordonez is up with the pinch hitter on deck.
Now, you could try and get a hit with Ordonez, but you run the risk of hitting
into a double play. The better thing to do would be to bunt Hamilton over to
2nd, and use the square button with no embellishment from the D-Pad to try and
get a line-drive single and an RBI for the pinch-hitter, since Hamilton runs
well and can score on a base hit. If you get the hit, you're up 3-2 with the
Mets' great bullpen coming in to close out the game. See how useful
"situational hitting" can be?
|5B. PITCHING TO GET THE STRIKEOUT|
Anyone can keep the ball down and make a feast out of all the grounders that
get hit to the infield. But All-Stars are not made exclusively from "good
ground-ball pitchers". You've got to show some flash, like Pedro Martinez or
Randy Johnson...and for that, you're going to need some secrets for getting
There's not much that can be done to get to a two-strike count. Low fastballs
and sharp sinkers tend to be fouled off, and that sets up your prime chance to
get yourself a K. If there are less than two balls on the hitter (get your
mind out of the gutter), then "waste" a slider or curveball outside. Then
come back with a change-up or (only if your pitcher doesn't throw a changeup)
a splitfinger pitch. When you go to set the strength of the pitch, just give
the smallest little tap to the X button while holding down on the D-Pad like
you're trying to will the ball to go through the dirt. The hitter's rhythm
will be thrown off, and he will swing right through the ball, looking pretty
foolish in the process. If he does get a bat on the ball, it will be either
a slow roller or a foul ball, so this is NEARLY (though not totally, I'll
admit) risk-free. I managed to get 12 K's in a game with Mike Hampton of the
Mets using this method and another I'll describe in "Enhanced Pitching"
|5C. FIELDER'S CHOICE---MAKING THE RIGHT THROW|
Another mistake people often make playing baseball is not knowing where to
throw the ball after making a play in the field. Sometimes you'll see a slow
roller to the left side which the third baseman tries to turn into a double-
play ball, except that the runner beats the throw to second and the shortstop
can't turn the throw fast enough to get it to first. The third baseman could
have made his team's job a lot easier by getting the out at first and not
giving the enemy team an extra out to try and score runs with. Remember, it's
always better to give up a run (unless the game is close in the late innings)
and get an extra out than to try to be a hero by making a stupid play. Also
remember that when throwing a ball in from the outfield on a fly or a base hit
to hit the cutoff man unless you're trying to throw ahead of a lead runner
going to third or trying to make a play at the plate with an outfielder who
has a strong arm. If you watch baseball regularly, this strategy comes pretty
naturally, and it is worth remembering that EA Sports' AI has advanced to the
point where if it works in real life, it'll probably work in the video game.
|5D. CLEVER BASERUNNING|
OK, maybe this isn't exactly "clever", but it's a rule of thumb that has
worked well for me as I've been playing this game: If your runner has a speed
rating greater than 72, he can steal second. If he has a speed rating greater
than 90, he can steal third. Otherwise, keep him put.
If you "buy" enhancements for your runner, the rules change, and these numbers
do vary based on the "Arm" rating of the catcher. A catcher with a strong arm
may throw out all potential second-base stealers with ratings lower than 76,
whereas a putty-armed catcher can be stolen on by guys with ratings all the
way down to 68. A little trial and error can work wonders as you discover how
good your baserunning skills are, because pushing the X button while running
will give your guy a speed burst, so those of you who lord over the electric
torture scene in Metal Gear Solid or who can Boost your GF's to amazing levels
in Final Fantasy VIII may be able to apply those skills and be a baserunning
machine in Triple Play 2001.
Also remember that when the player's icon on the diamond turns yellow, pushing
the square button or circle button can make your player slide...and the head-
first slide is greatly encouraged by the game in the form of favorable calls
from the umpires.
|5E. ENHANCED BATTING, PITCHING, AND RUNNING WITH THE SEASON STORE|
The "Baseball Stars" analogy comes into play here. When you play a game in
Season mode, you are awarded points based on feats achieved during the game.
The points are awarded on the following points scale:
|ACHIEVEMENT|POINTS| NOTES |
|Grand Slam | 400 |Grand slams are unlimited. |
|Home Run | 300 |*More than 4 home runs cap at 1000 points. |
|Triple Play| 500 | |
|Double Play| 300 | |
|Triple | 300 | |
|Double | 200 | |
|Stolen Base| 200 |There is no penalty for being caught stealing. |
|Strikeout | 200 |Note that this is guys on the OTHER team who strike out! |
|RBI | 100 |Scoring a run only gets 100 points if an RBI was credited|
|Win Game | 100 |Shouldn't this be worth more?! |
By saving up these points, you can go into the "Season Store" and purchase
upgrades to your players' abilities, which allows you to simulate your players
getting better as the season goes on. You can purchase Baserunning upgrades
for 5000 points, which allow almost anyone to steal third), Pitching upgrades
which put a new pitch called "Knuckleball" in which is actually a 110-mph
diving fastball, or allow your pitcher to have better control/endurance/etc.,
or Batting upgrades which increase your player's home run power (I bought one
for Mike Piazza and he now has 34 home runs through the 22nd of April and will
break Mark McGwire's single-season HR record by Memorial Day!)
You can use Enhanced Pitching for a special advantage. Because your new pitch
gives you dominion over the hitter (because of its sheer speed), the hitter
will frequently foul this pitch off, creating more two-strike counts for you
to use your change-up. Also, the change-up becomes a LOT more effective, as
the hitter becomes used to really fast pitches and gets thrown off by a 58-mph
golf ball. The results are as you'd expect.
There is, however, one thing you need to watch out for. Enhanced Pitching
will give your pitchers a lineup of Fastball, Change-Up, Sinker, and Knuckler,
and if your pitcher doesn't throw any of these pitches, then they will be
replaced by the 110+ mph Super Fastball. Check the Team Guide entry for your
pitcher before proceeding, because you may end up in a position where your
pitcher only throws two pitches. I personally don't recommend using a pitcher
who doesn't have at least two non-enhanced pitches, because I've learned that
the computer eventually adjusts if you throw it the same damn thing every time
you make a pitch. You have been warned. If your guy doesn't fit this
requirement, then trade him for someone who does...especially if the guy in
question has high trade value, like Armando Benitez of the Mets (trade him to
Montréal for Ugueth Urbina...you'll be glad you did).
|6. HIGHLY ADVANCED BATTING AND PITCHING STRATEGY|
When I say, "highly advanced", I mean it. Trying some of these tricks before
you're completely comfortable with the game's basic mechanics will lead to
unpredictable results on the field...and I don't want any angry e-mail from
anyone saying, "You told me to use these pitches a certain way and I did it
and got beat 26 to 4". By basic mechanics I mean you can use the Aftertouch
to get a pitch to go where you put it, you have a basic grasp of the timing of
the Pitch Power meter, and you can use the traditional strategies to keep your
ERA under 3 on the Pro/Normal difficulty level. I include these strategies
largely for fun, because some people have complained to me that the Enhanced
"blow-em-away" fastball mentality doesn't really suit their style of play, and
they would like to know how to play effectively without using what they view
as a cheat code.
|6A. HOW TO USE (AND HIT) EACH OF THE EIGHT KINDS OF PITCHES|
Following is a rundown of each of the eight types of pitches, and my personal
recommendations as to the best times to use each pitch, the best ways to use
each pitch, and the best ways to hit each of these pitches. If you want to
work on hitting these, there's no better place to do it than Big League
Challenge, because you can set the computer to throw you anything you want to
WHEN TO USE IT: Any time you want to use a pitch that is easy to control;
any time you're pitching with a dominant fastball pitcher like Randy Johnson
or Armando Benitez or Pedro Martinez. Also any time you're behind in the
count and need to throw a strike; the computer almost never swings on 3-0 so
you can throw it for a strike.
WHEN NOT TO USE IT: If you've got a lousy fastball pitcher, or if you've been
throwing a lot of fastballs that have been getting slaughtered into foul
ground or for home runs.
HOW TO USE IT: Power it up to maximum and aim low. High cheese has a habit of
getting jacked out of the yard, because most computer hitters hit the high
ball very well.
HOW TO HIT IT: If it's in the zone, swing at it. If it's up in the zone, you
might just get rewarded with a towering home run. There's not much trick to
it, just wait for it and get the timing right when it comes.
WHEN TO USE IT: On a two-strike count, use it for a pretty surefire strikeout.
Also, it can come in surprisingly handy when used as a counterpoint by a
pitcher who throws a lot of fastballs. Nobody in the league does this quite
like Pedro Martinez of the Red Sox, and it's why he's the best pitcher to play
the game since Bob Gibson in the 60's.
WHEN NOT TO USE IT: If you've been throwing a lot of junk (curves, splitters,
or knuckleballs), the change loses its ability to confuse the hitter, and
should only be used on the two-strike count. Also, don't hang it up in the
zone, because hitters feast on that stuff like batting practice pitching.
HOW TO USE IT: Besides using it the way a strikeout pitch is thrown, you can
often get a foul ball on a one-strike count by powering the change about three
quarters of the way to the top and throwing it the same way as a strikeout
pitch. A one-strike changeup can often set up a two-strike fastball or super
Enhanced pitch that blows right by the hitter.
HOW TO HIT IT: Patience is the key. The change is used to throw off the
rhythm of good fastball hitters, so if you stay alert, you might be able to
get the timing right and hit the ball hard. If you're patient, a hanging
change can be deposited on the other side of the wall with regularity. Try
setting the "Pitch" option to "Change-Up" in Big League Challenge when you
take batting practice.
WHEN TO USE IT: A hard slider is the best friend of any fastball pitcher, and
in this game a slider tends to act more like a cut fastball in the hands of a
lefthanded pitcher. Use it against hitters of the opposite hand and make it
run in on them to set them up for another pitch if you're ahead in the count.
WHEN NOT TO USE IT: If you're behind in the count, the hitter may just let the
pitch go by for a ball, making you use something else to try and get him out.
Since hitters tend to sit on a fastball in those situations, you may find
yourself on the receiving end of a cowhide joyride. Also, if your pitcher's
slider doesn't break, it's just a bad fastball. This pitch also tends to hit
some batters if you don't control it just right.
HOW TO USE IT: As mentioned, make it run in on the hitters to keep them off
the plate, and if they make contact, they'll probably pop it up to the catcher
or to an infielder for an easy out. A high slider on the inside part of the
plate can be your best friend if there's a runner on third and less than two
out, since it won't get hit hard enough to score the runner, and it's not very
likely that it will be hit for a hard grounder and a base hit.
HOW TO HIT IT: A slider is just a fastball that moves sideways in my view.
Because of that, if you can learn how to spot one that's out a little too far
over the plate, you can extend on it and take it for a ride. Pitchers for the
computer tend to start out the hitter with one of these, so you can wait for
it and turn first-pitch breaking balls into first-pitch doubles or homers.
WHEN TO USE IT: When you're ahead in the count with a good curveball pitcher,
you can use this with two strikes and record a few K's with it. A curve is
to a changeup what a slider is to a fastball, and if you get good movement on
it, you can hear Buck Martinez say "He made that guy look silly out there."
WHEN NOT TO USE IT: If you're behind in the count, you can end up walking a
bunch of guys by trying too hard to nibble on the corners. If your pitcher's
Curveball is rated less than 50, you're going to be throwing BP balls when you
mean to try and get outs. And if you throw too many of them without mixing in
some other stuff, you're going to get unloaded on in a hurry.
HOW TO USE IT: Keeping the ball in on the hitter is key, but you can often use
this by starting it out on the outside half of the strike zone and running it
in, or (on hitters of the "same hand") starting it down the middle and running
it outside, where the hitter (if he's behind in the count) is liable to swing
at it and whiff by about three feet.
HOW TO HIT IT: Again, think of it as a changeup that moves, and if there's
less than two strikes, I recommend letting it go by unless it hangs up like a
grapefruit. Most pitchers will figure out that they'll have to come at you
with something else, and if you're patient, you can get a better pitch to hit.
Of course, if there's two strikes and the pitch looks good, you can fight it
off and hit it into foul ground...and if it hangs like a grapefruit, you'll be
logging the pitch on to Home Run Dot Com.
WHEN TO USE IT: Like a fastball, you can use the sinker in almost any pitching
situation, but I don't recommend using it if the enemy hitters are hitting
sharp ground balls because those things tend to go for base hits. On grass
fields, the sinker is absolutely ideal for getting double play balls, as my
Mets team can attest: I once turned SIX double plays in a nine-inning game
with Al Leiter (sinker rating 81) as my starter.
WHEN NOT TO USE IT: As mentioned above, sharp ground balls can go through for
hits, and also if you're going to use this, make sure your pitcher is getting
it down because a sinker that doesn't sink...well, do the math. It ain't
pretty, and it's why on my Mets team, Bobby Jones gives up an average of 1.8
gopher balls per start, by far the highest on my staff, but his ERA is only
3.17 as of this writing so it's not too bad. Don't let the computer players
get too used to it either, because your changeup will be less effective.
HOW TO USE IT: This is easy as 1-2-3. 1) Power it up to max. 2) Aim it low.
3) Use Aftertouch to keep it low. If it tends to go too low and get called
for a ball, just change your timing a little bit, starting the downward push a
HOW TO HIT IT: Your faster runners can pounce on this one, hit a long hard low
line drive or grounder into the gap in left or right-center, and run it out
for a triple. This pitch tends to lead to the most doubles and triples out of
any that you'll see.
|6G. SPLITFINGERED FASTBALL (SPLITTER OR FORKBALL)|
Most people just call this a splitter, but as a guy who used to throw one
myself I felt it necessary to clarify that. It's also known as a "forkball",
especially when it's used the way a low changeup is used.
WHEN TO USE IT: Use it the same way you use a sinker, and in the same type of
situation. With the power down at minimum, you can use it as a changeup. If
your pitcher has a good splitter, it can be one of the most useful, multi-
purpose pitches in your arsenal.
WHEN NOT TO USE IT: If your pitcher is tired, even a good splitter um...won't
split, hanging up in the zone for an "adios, amigo" 500-foot towering homer.
I actually lost a game over one of those once...and I'm still bitter about it.
HOW TO USE IT: If you power it up all the way, use it the same way you would
use a sinker. If you power it up only a notch or two, use it the same way you
would a two-strike changeup. It's essentially the same pitch, and as such you
can literally use it any way you want...just watch out for the forkballs that
HOW TO HIT IT: The computer pitchers have a bad habit of starting this one up
too high, so if you time it right, you'll be able to destroy it. However, the
downside to this is that if you decide to swing at a high splitter and it
stays up there, you'll pop up the pitch and the catcher won't have to move any
further than home plate. Note that if you're lucky, you'll pop it straight up
and the pitcher will run up to cover home (why, I have no idea) and do a Pete
Rose right into the catcher, causing them to sprawl out and the ball to drop
in harmlessly for an unexpected base hit.
WHEN TO USE IT: Any time you want to hear Jim Hughson say "Screwball". No,
seriously, the best time to use this pitch is if you're facing a batter with
the same hand as your pitcher, at which point you run it in on him like a
slider. John Franco of the Mets throws a mean one, and it can really cross
up lefthanded hitters because it comes in looking like a sweeping curveball
then does an about-face and runs in on them.
WHEN NOT TO USE IT: Don't use it when you're behind in the count and don't
use it too often because this pitch relies heavily on the element of surprise
in order to maintain its effectiveness. Also don't use it if you're trying to
keep runners off base because when it runs in it tends to run in too far, and
you can hit quite a few batters with it.
HOW TO USE IT: Use it like a slider on hitters of the same hand...also use it
like a curveball, or use it anytime you want to throw the hitter off, but
don't start it in on a righthanded hitter because it'll run back out and end
up out over the plate with a ribbon and a bow on it...in other words, gift
HOW TO HIT IT: Man...It's hard to give advice on hitting a pitch that does so
much to refute my faith in the laws of physics. The best thing to do is
advance scout the pitcher and if he throws a screwball to lay off anything
that curves if there are less than two strikes and pray otherwise, unless it
hangs up (which bad curves tend to do) in which case you can seize the moment
and pound that sucker like a tough steak. Luckily very few pitchers have
mastered this evil spawn of the baseball demons.
WHEN TO USE IT: Since most knuckleball pitchers throw it at the exclusion of
other pitches (Tim Wakefield of the Red Sox, Phil Niekro and Jim Bouton and
Hoyt Wilhelm from baseball history), you're not going to have much of a choice
in most cases as to what pitch to throw. Luckily, if you're playing a human
opponent, you'll tie him up in knots and make him exhaust his vocabulary of
WHEN NOT TO USE IT: On 3-0, you may want to come back with another pitch to be
sure and get a strike, but other than that, you'll probably live and die with
this. If your knuckleball pitcher has another pitch that he has good command
of, use that to throw off the hitter's rhythm.
HOW TO USE IT: The "wobbly floaty whoop-de-doo ball" (as an old friend of mine
once termed it) defies conventional pitching wisdom. The best way to use it
is to spot it in a bunch of different places and never put it in the same
location twice, because eventually you'll confound the hitter, or he'll think
the ball's going to float outside and it will dive right down the middle for a
strike. Against a human opponent you can use this pitch literally any way you
HOW TO HIT IT: Treat it like it's a changeup and use changeup timing. In most
cases you'll at least foul the pitch off, so the pitcher will have to work a
lot harder. The game doesn't give knuckleball pitchers the benefit of tiring
any more slowly than any other pitchers, so a knuckleball-throwing starter can
be knocked out of the box and a more conventional-type pitcher will take his
place, at which point you can mount an offensive charge. Unfortunately, the
umpires call such a huge strike zone in this game that you won't draw too many
walks like hitters against this pitch do in real life.
|6J. DRIVING YOUR FRIENDS CRAZY IN THREE EASY STEPS|
There isn't much better in sports video games than making your friends go
completely insane when you pitch to them. Here are three easy ways to get
your friends to get so flustered that they're liable to start playing the game
foolishly and handing you free opportunities:
·STEP 1. THROW YOUR FRIENDS KNUCKLEBALLS.
See the "Knuckleball" lesson in Chapter 6A. This one works like a charm
because your friends will hate having to guess where that freaking pitch will
end up. When they come out to pitch to your guys they'll be so shaken from
the whole knuckleball adventure they'll pitch with a note of frustration...and
a mental edge on a friend is worth its weight in gold.
·STEP 2. SPLITTERS DOWN OUT OF THE STRIKE ZONE CAUSE CONTROLLERS TO BE THROWN.
This trick is so dirty your friends will probably make you outlaw it. Throw a
Splitter and start it low in the strike zone, then push it towards the dirt.
Unlike a changeup, which starts low and can be picked up as a low pitch, the
splitter starts up high enough that it looks initially like a fastball that
can be turned around on for a home run...until it drops off the table and
appears to "dodge" the hitter's bat like it has a mind of its own. I've had
a controller thrown at me more than once. I've also had a punch thrown at me.
A dirty, nasty trick, and one that will definitely start a fight if you do it
after your friends say to outlaw it.
·STEP 3. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF A GUY WITH A QUICK TRIGGER FINGER BY PITCHING OUT.
The "pitchout" (hold down and press the square button) is most often used
either to catch a baserunner attempting to steal (because the catcher comes up
in perfect position to make a good throw) or to issue an intentional walk.
However, it has one other, more sinister use.
Do you have a friend who anticipates every pitch and is always ready to pounce
on a fastball or times his swings perfectly so you can't get anything by him?
Keep him on edge by working a two-strike count on him with borderline curves
and inside sliders, then pitch out. Nine times out of ten Mr. Nervous Trigger
Finger will be so hell bent on hitting a fastball that it won't occur to him
that the fastball is about four feet outside. Not only that, but as mad as he
gets, a room full of people will ALWAYS laugh hysterically at him if you can
strike him out by this method, so he'll be rattled and he'll be putty in your
hands the rest of the way out.
|7. STUPID STAT TRICKS|
The game's statistics compiler has a couple of glitches in it which can be
exploited to your advantage. In particular, whenever you pinch-hit for your
pitcher while tied or behind and take the lead in the bottom half of the
inning, your #1 starter becomes the pitcher of record and can pick up a real
cheap win (on my Mets team Mike Hampton is 10-0 despite only having pitched in
nine ballgames, having won all nine of his starts plus a tenth game before I
learned a way around this problem).
As far as getting around this problem is concerned, simply substitute in the
new pitcher as soon as the pinch hitter either gets his hit or is out.
Alternately, you can wait until you're in a position to tie up the ballgame
and make the substitution then.
This has one other added advantage. If you pinch-hit for a starter with a
lead of three runs or less, be sure to substitute in the reliever if you
intend to have him finish the game. The game will treat the save situation as
being alive at the moment the reliever came into the game. Also, you don't
have to warm the guy up because he will "warm up" while your team is at bat
and be good to go when he has to pitch. This can be worth 10-20 cheap saves a
season if you do it right. It also works in the American League, and has the
added advantage of not being reliant on the pitcher being up at bat.
Oh, and in National League play, don't "double-switch" (substitute a pitcher
and a position player to rig the batting order, a common strategy among NL
managers) because some reliever (and you can never quite tell which one) will
be inexplicably credited with a complete game (I got one for Billy Taylor, who
I happen to be using as my closer!)
|7A. GETTING YOUR GUYS ON THE ALL-STAR TEAM|
Want to get guys on the All-Star team? If you've been following every one of
my strategies in this FAQ it should be no problem. Pitchers get into the All-
Star Game more or less solely based on their strikeout totals with stuff like
ERA and opponents' batting average used as tiebreakers, and wins and innings
pitched playing a smaller role.
For position players, home runs and stolen bases are the Big Two, although you
can really submarine your player's chances if he's frequently caught stealing.
Other good ways to get a guy on the All-Star team include strong performances
with runners in scoring position, lots of putouts and assists for shortstops
and second basemen, not striking out, hitting lots of doubles and triples, and
(to a lesser extent) being a "popular player" (guys like Jeter and Nomar have
natural biases built in to their All-Star voting, at least from what I've seen
as I've played). You should be able to get at least six players to start the
All-Star Game for your league.
|7B. MILKING ANOTHER K FROM A PITCHER|
This is going to seem really obvious. If there's a one-strike count and the
opposing batter pops a foul ball down the line, your fielder will go after it
and try to make the catch for the out. Unless you're in a situation where you
NEED a pop-fly out (there's a runner on third and less than two outs), then
push the D-pad in the direction opposite the one which leads to the ball. The
ball will drop harmlessly for a foul ball, bringing up strike two, which you
can then convert into a strikeout opportunity with the dying changeup
technique. A couple of extra K's go a long way toward deciding stuff like
All-Star balloting and the Cy Young award, so by all means milk this for all
|7C. BLOWING A SAVE IN THREE EASY STEPS|
I learned this one the hard way. The computer has a certain degree of sense
as far as when you're "rigging the stats". I'll take the (humiliating)
example I encountered and hold myself up as a model not to be followed. On my
Mets squad, I signed Rocky Coppinger as a free agent largely because he bites
and can be used to spell my aces (Wendell, Franco, and Taylor) giving them an
extra day of rest.
I took a 6-2 lead over Florida into the bottom of the 9th and brought Rocky in
to try and intentionally give up a run while Benitez warmed up in the bullpen
to come in and pick up the cheap save. Well, while Benitez was warming up,
Coppinger pitched like stinking horse crap and let the Marlins back into the
game. It was 6-4 with the bases loaded when Benitez was finally ready to come
in. He gave up a sac fly to make it 6-5, and then the game's sacred tenet of
swinging for the fences with runners on base caused Preston Wilson to jump on
a splitter that didn't split, smacking it off the Jumbotron in left-center.
Eight-six, game over, and ample supplies of curse words spewing from my maw as
I learned the sacred truth about life: Hubris is always, ALWAYS punished no
matter how good you think you are. Learn a lesson from this, friends.
|7D. SIMULATING INJURIES (THEY CAN'T ALL BE IRON MEN, CAN THEY?)|
You've probably noticed by now that you can't get injured in a game, even in
Season mode. Well, that just doesn't seem right, does it? Of course, you can
play the season and have all of your regulars play 162 games and all of your
pitchers have 32 (or more) starts, but here's an idea that I think will prove
more challenging and may add to the fun factor of the game.
Certain players have a reputation as being "130-game guys", people like Larry
Walker of the Rockies, for example. Well, what I'm proposing is that every
few games or so, you give your stars a day off. Make your backup catcher a
"personal catcher" to a certain starting pitcher. Get your other guys in
there during a meaningless game or one against a weak opponent. Late in games
you can take your players out if you're way ahead or put in a "defensive
substitution" if you have a guy on your bench who's a better fielder or has a
stronger arm than someone out in the field. Experiment with it. See if you
can set a record for most different guys on the same team with more than ten
home runs or fifty RBI. You can also "platoon" guys if you've got a lefty and
a righty on the same team at the same position...just advance scout the team
you're about to play and find out who's pitching. Have some fun, and don't
take the game too seriously.
|8. HOW TO USE THE TEAM GUIDES|
The upcoming section, "Team Guides", includes rosters and statistical info for
all teams included in the game. The best way to use this is to take this FAQ,
load it into the word processor of your choice, insert a page break in between
the individual team sections, then print it out. That way, each team will
have its own individual page, and by the use of a three-hole punch and a three
ring binder, you'll have a binder full of relevant team information.
To use this information, you'll need to "advance scout" much like actual
baseball managers do. Find out who your next opponent is, then use the game's
"Pitching Rotation" (it's under Team Management on the Season screen) to find
out who's going to be pitching for your opponent. Create a lineup that hits
well against the pitcher's hand (good lefthanded hitters versus a righty, good
righthanded hitters versus a lefty, you get the idea), and plow them into the
fray. Also, you'll get an idea of who you can pitch cheap stuff to and who
you'll have to be a little bit more careful against, who might steal a base
(so your catcher will be ready to jump up and throw the guy out), and other
useful information. It's probably a little bit deep for a video game, maybe a
little bit of overkill, but if it helps you to win a ballgame or two, or
decide for whom to trade or who to sign as a free agent, well, that's why I'm
Pay attention to the player ratings on the opposing team. Players with a good
"Eye" rating will be less likely to swing at your dying changeup, while
players with a good "Clutch" rating will be more likely to be swinging for the
fences with runners on late in the game. Outfielders with good arms will be
tough to run on (obviously) while an outfield full of guys with crappy "Arm"
ratings will give up a lot of doubles and triples to aggressive baserunners
(that means you, Charlie Brown).
Guys with strong ratings in most categories but a disproportionately low
"Overall" rating can be the subject of bargain-basement trades if you trade
your overrated player for the other guy's underrated one. However, overall
ratings do change as the season goes on based on the player's performance and
any upgrades purchased.
|8A. WHERE ARE MY FAVORITE PLAYERS?|
There are seventeen players currently active in Major League Baseball who
served as "replacement" players during the labor dispute of 1994-95. For
their lack of solidarity, they were expelled from the Players' Association and
have been banned from appearing in any MLBPA-licensed product. Forced to heed
this regulation, EA Sports had to leave out these players, notably Rick Reed
and Benny Agbayani of the Mets and Kerry Lightenberg of the Braves. The other
names will appear in a future revision of this FAQ as soon as I get my hands
on a complete list.
|8B. ABOUT THE DESIGNATED HITTER RULE AS IT RELATES TO THESE GUIDES|
You may notice that I've included in the American League team guides a slot in
the Starting Lineup for the DH, a slot that does not exist in my National
League guides. This is, of course, done for obvious reasons, but remember, in
interleague play, the National League teams will have to use the DH in
American League parks, and American League pitchers will have to hit for
themselves when their teams travel to cities on the Senior Circuit.
If you are playing as an NL team, choose a player off your bench to either be
the DH, or sub in the field for a player who would then become the DH, and
adjust your lineup accordingly. For example, when my Mets team plays in AL
cities, I use Todd Pratt as my catcher and make Mike Piazza the DH. Pratt
hits eighth, and Rey Ordoñez is bumped down to the ninth spot in the batting
order. I've also bought a running and hitting enhancement for Pratt in the
If you're playing as an American League squad, remember to adjust your lineup
if you want your DH in the batting order while playing in NL parks...for
example, you may wish to have José Canseco play right field for the Devil Rays
while playing in NL parks, but have him as the DH and use Dave Martinez or
Bubba Trammell as your right fielder against AL teams.
|8C. LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS|
POS: Player Position (S/R: Starter/Reliever/Closer)
AVG/HR/RBI/ERA/W-L/SV: 1999 Player Stats
CON: Contact, CTC: Clutch, RXN: Reaction, others self-explanatory
PITCHES: FS: Fastball, CH: Change, SL: Slider, CV: Curve, SK: Sinker,
SP: Splitter, SC: Screwball, KN: Knuckleball
CT: Clutch (Pitchers), EN: Endurance
|9. NATIONAL LEAGUE EASTERN DIVISION TEAM GUIDES|
To win the NL East, you'll need to either play as the Braves, learn how to
beat the Braves, or play for the wild-card...but if you're using all the other
strategies laid out in this guide, you'll go 162-0 anyway.
|9A. ATLANTA BRAVES|
STRENGTHS: This team's starting pitching is the reason they've been THE team
to beat in the National League for an entire decade. This team
also hits for solid power, and they run better than most. They're
also one of the few teams to actually carry a pure "pinch runner"
(Otis Nixon) on their bench, part of a monster second unit that
could probably win a few games by itself if you gave them another
couple of outfielders to field a team.
WEAKNESSES: The bullpen is iffy at best, which is the prime reason why they've
only won one World Series despite their dominance of the NL. Aside
from that, there are no glaring flaws in this team's makeup.
|STARTING LINEUP | | | | | | | | | | | | | | |
|POS|PLAYER NAME |T/B|OVR|AVG.|HR|RBI|CON|PWR|SPD|EYE|CTC|RXN|FLD|ARM|AGE|
| C |Javy Lopez |R/R| 64|.317|11| 45| 86| 75| 48| 87| 83| 25| 71| 46| 29|
| 1B|Andres Galarraga|R/R| 81| N/A|NA|N/A| 81| 85| 65| 78| 79| 73| 64| 73| 38|
| 2B|Quilvio Veras |R/S| 71|.280| 6| 41| 74| 64| 61| 87| 64| 68| 76| 42| 28|
| 3B|Chipper Jones |R/S| 93|.319|45|110| 87| 80| 72| 95| 99| 85| 79| 73| 27|
| SS|Walt Weiss |R/S| 61|.225| 2| 29| 59| 62| 60| 83| 67| 59| 71| 72| 36|
| LF|Reggie Sanders |R/R| 79|.284|26| 72| 76| 73| 78| 84| 65| 59| 64| 59| 32|
| CF|Andruw Jones |R/R| 79|.275|26| 84| 73| 74| 84| 87| 80| 71| 99| 99| 22|
| RF|Brian Jordan |R/R| 85|.282|23|115| 84| 74| 66| 87| 77| 68| 79| 85| 32|
|BENCH:POSITION PLAYERS | | | | | | | | | | | | | |
| C |Eddie Perez |R/R| 59|.249| 7| 30| 66| 65| 42| 84| 53| 25| 75| 55| 31|
| 1B|Wally Joyner |L/L| 59|.247| 5| 43| 66| 72| 42| 87| 68| 71| 87| 48| 37|
| 1B|Randall Simon |L/L| 59|.316| 5| 25| 86| 71| 48| 91| 56| 75| 83| 38| 24|
| 2B|Keith Lockhart |R/L| 58|.260| 1| 21| 69| 64| 52| 87| 64| 79| 90| 71| 35|
| SS|Ozzie Guillen |R/L| 60|.241| 1| 20| 64| 66| 62| 87| 60| 57| 72| 83| 36|
| CF|Otis Nixon |R/S| 62|.205| 0| 8| 53| 47| 96| 87| 56| 83| 78| 50| 41|
|PITCHERS | | | | | | | | | | | | | |
|S/R|PITCHER NAME |T/B|OVR|W-L |SV|ERA |BEST|2ND |3RD |4TH |ARM|CT|EN|AGE|
|SP1|Greg Maddux |R/R| 87|19- 9| 0|3.57|CV90|CH89|SL81|FS68| 78|90|85| 33|
|SP2|Kevin Millwood |R/R| 98|18- 7| 0|2.68|FS72|SL68|CV63|CH50| 80|92|90| 25|
|SP3|John Smoltz |R/R| 84|11- 8| 0|3.19|FS87|SP74|CV62|SL62| 91|74|86| 32|
|SP4|Tom Glavine |L/L| 79|14-11| 0|4.12|CH85|CV68|FS65|SL64| 76|83|93| 33|
|SP5|Odalis Perez |L/L| 76| 4- 6| 0|6.00|SL50|FS48|CH4