Welcome to The Show
In the beginning, there was Strat-O-Matic.
Growing up, I would play the popular sports simulation board game for hours, rolling dice and vividly conjuring the exhilarating results on the lush playing fields of my mind. I had their releases of all the major sports, but the baseball facsimile always seemed to be the favorite, inspiring me to label many on my Little League team as “4-e48”-- or, for the uninitiated, horrendous fielders.
Video games further upped the ante, offering choppy graphics and absolute control of my squad. Realism, sadly, fell by the wayside, and it frustrated the purist to have an outfielder miss a lazy fly ball because, thanks to awful game design, I had no idea where it would land.
It seemed impossible to have a perfect marriage between these two worlds.
Then along came The Show.
My relationship with the series dates back to SCE San Diego’s second offering in 2007 on PS2. Each year the intention, or obsession, if you prefer, is to attempt to take my team- the Toronto Blue Jays- and play its entire 162 game schedule along with the real-life counterpart. It may not surprise to learn that life often has a way of interfering with this plan.
“Hey, we’re going camping for three days in June. You want to come along?”
The wheels begin to spin. Wait- what weekend is it? Oh no, the Jays have a series against the Orioles. I’ll have to finish those three games ahead of the camping trip if I don’t want to fall behind. In the end, I’m left desperately playing catch-up, telling myself, “It’s fine, I can do it. If I just play three games tomorrow and four on Sunday, I’ll be right back on schedule again.”Continued on the next page