Feature Article
Splinters From The Pine (3-12-03)

The Sports Gamers’ Opening Day

Today, two of the most-highly anticipated baseball titles will be released to the public:
Sega’s World Series Baseball 2K3, and EA Sports’ MVP Baseball 2003.
Joined by the already-released High Heat Baseball 2004 by 3DO, and All-Star Baseball 2004 by Acclaim, baseball’s digital version of Opening Day is already upon sports gamers – a few weeks in advance of the real McCoy.

One of the most wonderful things about the game of baseball is that it engenders so much discussion – fans comparing the relative strengths of their favorite players, reminiscing about great memories at the ballpark, or thinking up new ways to make their favorite game just a little bit better.

So it is with baseball video games, as well – gamers compare their title of choice to the other contenders, fondly remember their favorite old games and the times spent with friends playing them, and thinking of new ways to make them all even better in the future.

There’s even more to tie the two together. “Fanboys” spend their time berating other titles; in the hope that it will make their favorite somehow look better in the eyes of another. Here at Operation Sports, “fanboys” are the equivalent of the Red Sox fan who screams, “Yankees suck” at the top of their lungs at every game – even at the ones in which the Yankees aren’t playing. Never mind that the Sox haven’t won a World Series in ages – the insanely screaming fan simply feels better about his squad while he’s making fun of the other one. Our forum moderators are simply the ushers asking you to forgo wearing the T-shirts…

The age-old tradition of Opening Day “hooky” happens in gaming, too.
While the truant officer, co-worker or boss may not be able to see you at the ballpark to blow your cover; you’re still skipping out to catch some hardball – only this time, it’s in front of a television screen – and it’s probably to catch a lot more than nine innings, to boot…

(NOTE – OperationSports.com does not recommend skipping school, work, jury duty, emergency surgery, or Federal extradition hearings to play video games, and if you choose to do so despite this warning, the above author will disavow all knowledge of your activities…)

So grab a dog with everything, a cold one (only if you’re 21, kiddies!), and a La-Z-Boy with a view; because Spring Training’s over for gamers – let’s PLAY BALL!

…Oh, and remember what I said about that whole “skipping work” thing? Good – now you know why this column’s so short this week. First pitch is in a few, and I’ve got to go. I won’t tell if you won’t…