MLB 15 The Show's best improvement is revenge


A dish best served with my bat

Sony San Diego’s MLB The Show series has a mode where players can live out fantasies of being a professional baseball player. In “Road to the Show” players can design their own avatars and take them on the long journey from the amateur draft to the big leagues.

It’s easily my favorite aspect of the game, marrying my love for baseball with an RPG progression system. Every successful hit or defensive play turns into experience which can then be spent on improving your character’s athletic ability and various other facets of his game.

This system creates an addicting feedback loop. As time marches on, you get better and better. You’ll want to see if that extra speed boost helps you leg out a bunt single or if more power allows you to swat dingers at the same clip asMark McGwire orBarry Bonds.

It’s why I’ve poured countless hours into this series, in which time I’ve seen plenty of weird things. Baseball is a game of infinite possibilities. Just Google “Randy Johnson bird” for evidence of that.

While not quite as astounding as an exploding creature, I witnessed something pretty bizarre last month in MLB 14 The Show. Two in-game years ago virtual Kyle MacGregor was carrying a lousy Oakland A’s team that missed the playoffs by one game. That was a heart-breaker, but there was one moment in that frustrating, soul-rending season that stands out in my memory above any other.

In my first at-bat against the rival Seattle Mariners, I smoked a baseball right into the pitcher’s foot, from where it ricocheted high into the air. Seemingly unfazed by the scorching missile that just collided with his flesh, the hurler bounded across the infield to make an unbelievable catch.

I was pissed. Or dumbstruck. Actually, I might have laughed. It was a totally unrealistic moment in a game that prides itself on being so true to life. Oh well, it’s a one in a million goof, I thought.

Then just a few weeks later, I did it again! This time in the newly released MLB 15 The Show, I smacked a groundball into a New York Mets relief pitcher’s shin. It wasn’t quite the same thing, but it sure felt good roughing up an opposing pitcher’s lower extremity and reaching base safely.

I was morbidly ecstatic to hear the sound of the ball slamming into the reliever’s shin. I loved watching him limp and hobble around the mound before doubling over in pain. Nothing was broken, the game said, but he was pulled from the game and required a couple days to recover.

I’m not sure if I could perfectly recreate that first moment again in MLB 15 to see if the folks at San Diego Studio tweaked the physics to make these types of collisions more realistic in the new game, but I’m just going to assume they did and attribute my sweet revenge to them. Bless you.