Friday, February 4, 2011

Super Bowl XLV Simulation

It's two days to the Super Bowl. Big game, well aware. But remember, in the end it's just a football game. Win or lose, the world's got other issues to sort out, chief among them the general political upheaval in the Middle East and northern Africa- Egypt, Tunisia, Sudan, Yemen, Jordan, Israel's growing sense of unease, and it appears Syria made a run at being added to the list but the attempt fizzled quickly. Not to mention Iraq, of course.

So keep some perspective. Don't be the man who, as Bob Fenster wrote in Well, Duh! Our Stupid World, and Welcome to It, called an Arizona newspaper on December 7, 1941, while the Pearl Harbor attack was underway, asking for the score of a game between the Chicago Bears and then-Chicago Cardinals, saying "Aren't you getting anything besides that war stuff?" (For the record, the Bears won, 34-24.)

In that spirit, something I do every year before the Super Bowl is run a pregame simulation. Most people, for this purpose, use Madden. I consider this cliche, and so I pick something else.

This year, I've chosen The Bigs 2, with 2009 rosters.

'But Aaron', you are asking, 'the Super Bowl is football. The Bigs is a baseball game.' To that I say: shut your fool mouth. You are also saying 'Green Bay doesn't have a baseball team.' The Packers, for many decades, used to play home games in Milwaukee as well, three a season. So using Milwaukee as a substitute is perfectly valid.

Since the Packers are nominally the "home" team, the matchup is thus Pirates at Brewers, but since the game's in Arlington, Texas, the setting is the Rangers Ballpark at Arlington. Standard length is 5 innings, but today we're doing 9.

Starting lineups:

1- Nyjer Morgan, LF
2- Freddy Sanchez, 2B
3- Nate McLouth, CF
4- Ryan Doumit, C
5- Adam LaRoche, 1B
6- Andy Laroche, 3B
7- Brandon Moss, RF
8- Jack Wilson, SS
9- Paul Maholm, P

1- Rickie Weeks, 2B
2- Corey Hart, RF
3- Ryan Braun, LF
4- Prince Fielder, 1B
5- J.J. Hardy, SS
6- Mike Cameron, CF
7- Bill Hall, 3B
8- Jason Kendall, C
9- Yovani Gallardo, P

TOP 1ST: Morgan beats out a grounder to short, Sanchez isn't so lucky, though he advances Morgan to second. McLouth grounds to third. Doumit tags the first pitch and Hardy can't hang onto it, but Gallardo grabs the rebound and throws to first, beating Doumit to the bag and retiring the side.

BOTTOM 1ST: Weeks slaps one to left-center for a double. Hart strikes out, but on the third strike Weeks takes off for third and barely beats out the tag. Braun drives a deep fly ball to center, only to see McLouth rob him of a home run; however, he still sacrifices Weeks home. Brewers lead 1-0. Fielder also gives the ball a ride to center, but McLouth robs him too for the third out.

TOP 2ND: Adam Laroche decides he wants to try to play Home Run Derby too, and Mike Cameron decides he wants to play Home Run Killjoy too.

Commentator Damon Bruce: "Hahahahahaha. Wwwwwelcometothebigs!"

Andy grounds to second, Moss to first. Three up, three down, still 1-0 Milwaukee.

BOTTOM 2ND: Hardy starts with a worm-scorcher to left for a single. After an unsuccessful pickoff attempt, Maholm gives up a double to Cameron, putting two in scoring position. Hall makes the attempt to score them, but Wilson comes up with a big catch at short. Kendall grounds out to first, but moves the runners up and scores Hardy in the process, making it 2-0. Gallardo actually hits one to the warning track in left, but Nyjer Morgan gets under it and ends the inning.

TOP 3RD: Wilson hits one to the gap, or at least he would have had Cameron not closed said gap. Maholm grounds weakly to first, Morgan to second, end of inning.

BOTTOM 3RD: Rickie Weeks hits a chopper to second and Freddy Sanchez beats him on the throw to first. Hart smacks a ground ball to center for a single. Braun makes another excursion into deep center, only for Nate McLouth to be waiting to make the catch again. Fielder once again has a potential home run robbed, this time by Morgan. It remains 2-0 Brewers.

TOP 4TH: Sanchez puts a single into the left-field corner. McLouth hits one to right, but Hart gets under it in time. Ryan Doumit, seeing the game slipping away early and wanting to put things right while there's still time, activates the Big Slam.

Ah yes. The Big Slam, one of The Bigs 2's features. Here, the next four batters get one swing each, though Pittsburgh might only get three as Sanchez is already on base. Make contact with the ball and you hit it. Anyone that cannot theoretically come up with the bases loaded is looking for a single and, if they miss, won't count as an out for some reason that developer Blue Castle Games and publisher 2K Sports never bothered to explain. Whoever comes up after that is swinging for the fences.

Doumit swings and misses. Adam LaRoche misses too. Andy LaRoche, though, puts one in the luxury box, tying us at 2.

Moss flies weakly to Hart, and Wilson grounds to Hall.

BOTTOM 4TH: Hardy hits a double to right-center. Cameron strikes out on three pitches. Hall grounds out to Adam LaRoche. Kendall hits a frozen rope to center, scoring Hardy. 3-2 Brewers. Gallardo grounds to third for the final out, stranding Kendall.

TOP 5TH: Bill Hall snags a pitential base hit by Maholm out of the air. Prince Fielder takes a routine grounder by Morgan, but can't hold on to a line drive by Sanchez, leaving Corey Hart to field it for him. Since errors aren't scored in The Bigs, that gives Sanchez his second hit of the day. McLouth flies out to center, ending the inning.

BOTTOM 5TH: Weeks whiffs on a 104-mph Paul Maholm fastball, which he threw despite the fact that not even in an unrealistic videogame should Paul Maholm be able to do that without jaw-dropping quantities of steroids, but then rips one to center and gets a triple out of it. Hart grounds out, but easily scores Weeks. Braun hits a lazy chopper to Sanchez. Fielder, with the Brewers up 4-2 with two out, powers up the Big Slam with the bases empty. Fielder connects. Hardy connects. Cameron misses. Hall, with the assistance of dramatic slow-motion cutscenes, deposits his pitch three luxury boxes to the left of where Andy LaRoche went with his. 7-2.

Damon Bruce: "Well, luckily, most people who sit in luxury boxes can afford plastic surgery."

Kendall rearranges Wilson's face on a line drive, but Andy LaRoche picks up the ball and records the third out.

TOP 6TH: Hardy dives on a Doumit grounder and beats him with a throw to first. Adam LaRoche hits a comebacker to Gallardo, handled ably. Andy hits a fly ball to Braun, but Braun muffs it and gives up a triple. Moss can't score him, though, grounding out to Hall.

BOTTOM 6TH: Gallardo grounds to Wilson. Weeks takes an 0-2 pitch and sends it screaming to the left-centerfield gap. Hart goes to the same place, scoring a triple and Weeks. 8-2. Braun strikes out. Fielder hits a seeing-eye single to the right side, scoring Hart and making it 9-2 Milwaukee. Sanchez fields a Hardy grounder.

TOP 7TH: Wilson goes for the fences, but Cameron intercepts him at the warning track, and then dives to catch a Maholm fly ball to right. Nyjer Morgan hits one down the left-field line for a single. Hardy beats Sanchez on a throw to first, and the inning is over.

BOTTOM 7TH: Maholm's day is done, as Tyler Yates comes on to pitch in relief. Cameron grounds to first. Hall strikes out. Wilson ably fields a Braun grounder, and that's the inning.

TOP 8TH: David Riske comes in to relieve Gallardo. Always a Riske decision there. What's more risky is Braun, who again fumbles a fly ball, this time from McLouth; it allows a double. Doumit hits a screamer to J.J. Hardy, who shows Braun how people actually catch balls in The Bigs. Adam LaRoche sacrifices McLouth to third. Andy becomes another victim of Hardy's glove, and McLouth is stranded at third.

BOTTOM 8TH: Andy LaRoche bobbles a Riske hit, but picks it back up in time to throw him out at first. Weeks strikes out. Hart hits a solid double to left-center; he tries to take off for third, but Braun fouls the pitch off, because Ryan Braun can't do anything right. And then Braun hits the third out to Freddy Sanchez, making him 0-4 on the day. You suck, Ryan Braun.


Trevor Time.

Moss lines out to Weeks. Hoffman activates Big Heat, which gives a huge boost to whatever it is he's throwing. As if Pittsburgh needed anything more to worry about. Wilson is duly blown away. The Pirates send in Eric Hinske as a pinch-hitter, which Trevor Hoffman responds to by... activating Big Heat again. Hinske never stands a chance.

That's the ballgame. Milwaukee-- I mean, Green Bay 9, Pittsburgh 2.

Which is a theoretical football score.

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