A Long Time Ago, In a Baseball League Far, Far Away

The recent release of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story” has rekindled interest in all things Star Wars. Sean Teague, who runs the website Geek Earth, was inspired by the latest movie too when he created his Out of the Park Baseball league based on the franchise.

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“I was trying to create content on Geek Earth that would catch the eye of people who like to watch gaming streams,” Teague says. “With Rogue One coming out, it seemed like a natural pick. I’m also a Star Wars fan, so it all fit together.”

Teague posts box scores from the league on the Geek Earth site and streams those match-ups on Twitch. The streams are available on the Geek Earth YouTube channel for later viewing. He also streams card games, such as Star Realms, Ascension, and Dominion, with plans to add Magic: The Gathering to the mix at some point.

“We’re trying to get exposure for the lesser-streamed games,” he explains. “OOTP Baseball is probably the most-streamed game we broadcast.”

Herding Nerfs in the Star Wars Baseball League

The Star Wars Baseball League, whose logo humorously parodies the MLB logo with Darth Vader swinging his lightsaber at a severed hand, is still early in its inaugural season, but Teague has seen a few interesting events. Asked for specifics, he cites a recent contest between the Corellia Nerf Herders and the Hoth Wampas. (He manages the Nerf Herders and lets the computer run the rest of the teams.)

“The Nerf Herders were doing well until the seventh inning,” he recalls. “I got through the top of the seventh and kept going. OOTP usually plays ‘Take Me Out to the Ball Game’ for the seventh inning stretch, but I must have clicked somewhere without realizing that it nixed the song.

“About a batter into the bottom of the seventh, I realized there was no seventh inning stretch, so I stopped and I played the version of ‘Take Me Out…’ that I have. Well, I have a feeling I must have angered the baseball gods because the Wampas put a 10-spot on the Nerf Herders in the remainder of their part of the seventh and eventually crushed them, 13-2.”

While many of the players in the league have names randomly generated by OOTP, Teague has put some Star Wars characters in the mix, including Corellia’s first baseman, Han Solo, and the Coruscant Emperors’ manager, Palpatine. His team, the Nerf Herders, are in second place in the Lucas League’s Core Division, behind the Jakku Luggabeasts.

OOTP: Bridging baseball and gaming

Teague has been a Star Wars fan since seeing the original movie in the theaters as a child (“One way or the other, the Force keeps me interested in Star Wars,” he says), and he’s been a baseball fan just as long. (He’s a fan of the Cardinals and the Mariners.) OOTP has been part of his life for over a decade.

“I remember my dad and a friend of his playing a tabletop baseball game,” Teague remembers when asked about his history of playing baseball sims, both digital and non-digital. “Sometime later I got into Statis Pro Baseball. I just seemed to like the decision-making process: strategy in baseball is better when gaming as opposed to the ‘playing’ of a physical game in a video game format. If I wanted to hit a ball, I’d rather go play for real.”

He adds: “I even played some Universal Baseball Association version of tabletop baseball. When computer versions of baseball sims came around, I was all over that. I played one or two before I stumbled upon OOTP. OOTP simply had a depth of detail that the other games didn’t have and more options (historical leagues, create your own league options out the wazoo, customization option out the wazoo as well). OOTP simply blew the competition out of the water.”

Teague continues to play OOTP because “gaming is a hobby of mine and I love baseball, so OOTP bridges those interests,” he says.

Baseball memories: The Macarena, stormtroopers, and Scout Night

Asked for some real world baseball anecdotes to close out the interview, Teague summons a couple of them. “I lived overseas for the first couple of years of my career,” he recalls. “At that time, there was about a six-month delay for anything happening in American culture to cross the Atlantic. On the second or third night after I got back, I’m at a Mariners game. During the seventh inning stretch, they played a different song than is tradition.  Can you imagine seeing 30,000 people dance to the Macarena if you’ve never heard the song or seen the dance before?”

He adds: “The most recent game I went to was to our local minor league team on Scout Night. Although my son was grumbling as the game went into extras, it turned out to be a cool baseball memory. It also happened to be Star Wars night as well. We found out that Boba Fett and a couple of stormtroopers who were in attendance were Eagle Scouts. My son and I had shirts with a stormtrooper on them and were doing the Scout sign.

“When Boba Fett (perhaps a member of the 501st Legion or Mandalorian Mercs) asked where we got them, he then mentioned he was an Eagle Scout. Then the stormtroopers saw the shirts as well and a couple of them also mentioned they were Eagle Scouts. Got a picture of my son with the stormtroopers behind him giving the Scout sign.

“Then the games ended up going into extra innings. The game was won in the bottom of the 13th on a run-scoring single to centerfield. As is normal, once they saw they weren’t going to get to the ball, the outfielders let the ball go and jogged into their dugout. Game over.

“However, at minor league parks on Scout nights, many teams allow the Scouts to camp on the field overnight, which was what we did. As a dad, I try to craft memories for my kids that they’ll cherish into adulthood. So, knowing we were going to be camping on the field and seeing that the outfielders had left the ball on the field, I was eyeballing that ball. Problem was, we had never been to that stadium before, so I couldn’t figure out where they were going to let us onto the field so I could try to get the ball. I also didn’t know the post-game rituals of the grounds crew.

“Once they announced that the Scouts should make their way to the field, we briskly made our way to the car and drove around to the side of the stadium where they had it opened to get access to the field. As I pulled into a spot, I could see some Scouts already on the field, but I could also see a little white speck with no one around it. I told my son to hurry up and we started running toward that little white speck. I let him take the lead so he could grab it. That was pretty cool.”

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