I originally hail from a small town in Mid-Michigan named Clio. On my profile I have my town listed as Detroit but thats a little premature. I will be living in Detroit in about six weeks as I get ready to attend law school at Wayne State, but presently Im stuck in my hometown...........and I hate it. There is nothing to do here, and ninety eight percent of the population are hicks, I cant wait to move from here, hopefully for good. The only thing in Clio that keeps me entertained is force feeding my dog the crust of my chocolate fudge Pop-Tarts. Anyways when I move away I hope Detroit will offer me the chance to live a more interesting life, even if my social life doesnt pick up I can at least look forward to getting my car broken into/stolen or see bums fight over the privledge to sleep on a soiled mattress. Oh well, enough complaining about that.
I am going to break down one of the top five greatest games in the history of NES tonight, and probably over the course of the next couple of posts. The game of course is R.B.I. baseball. I was always a big fan of RBI 3 for NES and my friend Kevin and I would play this game for hours a day every day, especially during the summer, until we graduated from high school. Then one day he ruined everything by getting a job and a girlfriend and having "responsibilities." What a loser. Well this put me in a predicament because none of my friends necessarily cared for RBI 3, and I was so far advanced in the game, having played thousands of them, that I had a decided advantage over anyone who tried to challenge me, also playing the computer was out of the question because playing them, even on difficult, is the equivalent of playing a dog, or a retarded person. For anybody offended by the last remark, where I compared a dog to a retarded person, Im sorry, and you probably dont want to get me started on my feelings regarding wheelchair "basketball", and yes the quotes are there for a reason. My friends Josh and Bill simultaneously clued me in on the magnificence of the original RBI, a game I had owned for quite some time but had never really played because I hated the fat players, I mean couldnt they show some self control and not eat so much, and the fact that you couldnt dive for ground balls, an important feature in RBI 3 because it allowed you to rub every ground ball out into your opponents face by making unnecessary dives, resulting in an automatic instant replay. However after a few games of the original RBI I was hooked, and now me and Josh play regularly as Kevin is stuck in his own private hell known as a Relationship. Anyways even though I am a relative newcomer to the original, I believe I have played enough to have the authority to write a comprehensive guide breaking down the important parts of the game. First off let it be known that Josh Bill and I play by the normal rules of baseball, not the common feed everything straight down the middle and mash rule, therefore pitchers and light hitters with wheels are valued as much as Tony Armas.
Boston: RBI came out in 1987 for NES and contained the 1986 rosters and stats for each team on the game, including the ill-fated 86 Red Sox team, which Im sure made the game extraordinarily popular in the New England area as Boston fans got to rejoice over the fact that they could play with this team and enjoy there self loathing in perpetuem thanks to this game. One day I will write about how insufferable Red Sox fans were during the past eighty plus years, while their equally suffering Chicago brethren have taken losing so admirably and in stride.
1. Marty Barrett. I have no idea how good Marty Barrett is on RBI because no one ever plays with him. Even though he was a solid player in real life Bostons bench on RBI is so incredible that he is immediately removed from the lineup to make room for Ellis Burks or Dave Henderson. In real life 1986 was Barrett salad days, especially the post season, where he won the ALCS and was equally hot in the World Series, where he probably would have won MVP had the Sox won. The only thing I can consciously remember about Marty Barrett was being about five or six and watching baseball highlights on ESPN the day his knee exploded running to first base. Apparently it was pretty serious because when he came back the next year Jody Reed took his spot, a man who sucked for the 1997 Tigers along with the rest of the team.
Effectiveness rating (ER): unknown, never plays.
2. Bill Buckner I like Buckner on RBI, because I prefer hitting with lefties, but my friend Josh cant stand him and he usually pulls him out of the lineup for either Burks or Hendu. Buckner is slow as hell as is the rest of the Red Sox team. Rumored to have played a small part in Bostons World Series collapse in 86.
3. Wade Boggs Wade Boggs is one of my favorite players ever. He did everything,hit for average, played good D at third, got on base a ton, had an affair, admitted to being a sex addict to Barbara Walters, (but really who isnt I want to know what constitutes being a sex addict), was run over by his wife in a car, twisted his back putting on cowboy boots after being caught having an affair, rumored to have drank over 60 beers on a cross country flight, and then threatened to fight the flight attendant after she refused to serve him more, it seems like she would have cut him off oh i dont know maybe 60 BEERS before hand. And to top it off he won a World Series with the Yankees after leaving Boston. How cool was this guy. Also threw a knuckleball. In RBI hes good for doubles and the occasional homerun even though he doesnt have great power numbers. However he will occasionally go into prolonged slumps, often inciting "stinkbag" comments from Josh.
4. Jim Rice Rice is another decent player, actually the whole Red Sox lineup is decent and capable of hitting one out of the park and Rice is no exception. He is however remarkably slow even for the Red Sox. Josh tends to enjoy relatively good success with Rice. Of course all Red Sox fans will insanely argue that this man deserves to go to the Hall of Fame. He might but I hope he never does in spite of Red Sox fans. Also I believe I read somewhere that this guy was a complete asshole.
5. Don Baylor Baylor is also effective and is inexplicably the fastest Red Sox even though in the real world he hadnt been a legitimate base stealing threat in nearly a decade. This however will not be the only occurrence of the real world and RBI world not being alike. The real Don Baylor was good at getting hit by pitches and was completely overmatched as a manager, especially with the Cubs. RBI Don Baylor can mash especially if you try busting him inside or accidentally swinging a pitch across the plate to soon.
6. Dwight Evans For some reason neither me nor Josh can ever play good with this guy. He was a good player in real life but that does not translate to NES life, only reason he stays in the lineup is that theres no one better on the bench after all of the necessary substitutions. I also own about 5,000 Dwight Evans 1991 Upper Deck cards with him in his Baltimore Orioles jersey, priceless, I wonder how many people foolishly bought one of those, and if you know anyone tell me because I would like to purchase it.
7. Rich Gedman This guy sucks too, always a threat to get pulled, instead of Buckner, when Josh plays, he is unbelievably slow and has an incredibly weak arm so if youve got St. Louis you can run all day. I dont know much about him in real life because by the time I started following baseball closely he was bouncing around the league. He will hit the occasional homerun, maybe once or twice in a lifetime. Worthless.
8. Spike Owen Poor Spike never gets any love in any RBI game Ive played. Hes always taken out so I have no idea what he can do. In RBI 2 and 3 he is taken out before the games even begin, but in the original he at least gets to play a couple of innings in the field before his turn in the order. If its any consolation I always liked his name, especially the fact that his given name is Spike.
Ellis Burks Ellis is really good, and arguably the best player on the Red Sox as it seems to me he has the most speed and can hit for power. Josh usually bats him leadoff where he is pretty effective. I always thought Ellis would be the last active player from RBI, but I was wrong as his career ended last season with the Sox. I always like Ellis in real life, for no real reason, and always considered him to be somewhat underrated.
Dave Henderson Dave as he is known to me and my friends, so he would not be confused with Ricky on the RBI 3 A's team, is usually subbed in for Buckner or Gedman by Josh. He is a pretty dangerous hitter, especially inside fastballs. However whatever ability he has on this game is absent in the RBI 3 version as he is easily one of the most disappointing and frustrating players on that A's team.
Tony Armas. In real life this guy could crush the ball, and that was about it as his average and OBP would even make Rob Deer and Steve Balboni blush. On RBI however he sucks despite his 43 homeruns. If you pitch him outside its a guaranteed ground ball to third base. Hes so lowly regarded that Josh bats him 8th in the order in place of Spike.
ER 2/10 so low because his stats make you think he might actually be good.
Marc Sullivan In real life this guy was atrocious, and statistically the worst player in the game. He was however the grandson of the guy who owned the team so that may have had something to do with him playing five years with the Sox despite his career .186 average. In RBI he is not to be taken lightly. I used to throw him down the middle as I would a pitcher but he made me pay by depositing a couple over the other side of the fence. He is the total opposite of Armas in the fact that he performs surprisingly well despite his numbers.
Pitching: Roger Clemens. Roger is, of course one of the final four remaining active players from the RBI game and my new odds on favorite to be the last player from the game to retire. Clemens is one of the top 3 pitchers on the game and has a devastating fastball. In real life though Clemens is one of my least favorite players ever. Although he did have one of my favorite moments in baseball history with his meltdown in the ALCS against Oakland, where he came out with the war paint on his face and the brightly colored shoelaces before getting ejected early in the game for arguing balls and strikes. Also I like the fact that his son Koby Clemens has Pete Rose Jr. potential, in the fact that in twenty years when you go to type in Clemens on baseball-reference.com youll see these career numbers for Koby. BA .170 HR. 1 RBI 6 over about 45 games in parts of three seasons with the Astros.
Bruce Hurst: Surprisingly effective second starter. In games between me and Josh since we pitch all over the place we usually burn through the whole staff during the course of a game and Hurst can be counted on for three solid innings and is a good change of pace from Clemens because hes left handed and throws curve balls well. However he is sucepitble to giving up the occasional huge 4 or 5 run inning, which effectively puts the game out of reach.
Calvin Schiraldi: Schiraldi is to be avoided at all costs. Even though he had a 1.41 ERA in 1986 he blew two games in the World Series and is equally unreliable in RBI. Do not use him for more than a batter or two and never when hlding on to a one run laed.
Bob Stanley: Stanley is a good reliever and has a pretty wicked wiggler pitch with tons of movement. He is a pretty good closer but should only be used for an inning. I have nothing else to add about Stanley, because I hardly remember him as a real player. In the game he has been known to give up the occasional long ball but is pretty steady.