I’ve never really tried to play in any of the Diamond Dynasty events in MLB The Show 17 before, but I decided on a whim to give this Advantage: Pitchers event a shot and take on the quest for the Holy Grail of starting pitchers, the 99 OVR Jake Arrieta. To not embark on a journey like this would be both cowardly and foolish. I owed it to the Operation Sports and MLB The Show communities, to Arrieta and, most importantly, to myself. As The Office’s Michael Scott once said that Wayne Gretzky said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”
I also made the decision to also try to grind the Felix Hernandez Program while playing in the event, just for an added little bonus.
For the event, here is the rotation I was rolling out for my squad, the Costa Rica 3-Toed Sloths:
Jordan Zimmermann, Ervin Santana, Michael Wacha, Patrick Corbin, Shelby Miller
And my lineup of vision-impaired warriors that I vowed not to alter throughout the lengthy battle, no matter how badly anyone performed, was this:
Jhonny Peralta SS, Ben Gamel LF, Giancarlo Stanton RF, George Springer CF, Gary Sanchez C, Brandon Belt 1B, Mark Reynolds 3B, Sean Rodriguez 2B and the Pitcher spot.
The following are excerpts from a running diary I kept while playing the event for a week and a half:
Friday, July 28th
Opponent has an 11-131 Ranked Seasons record. I throw him a slider outside of the zone to start the game. He swings just as I had hoped and misses badly. He promptly quits. I’ve never seen one slider break someone so easily. I’m undefeated and feeling good about my chances of going on a 12-0 run. Getting to 40 wins might be easier than I thought. Win total: 1
This opponent is 15-1 in Ranked Seasons play and proudly displays a 12-0 nameplate. I’m kind of intimidated but try to remain confident. 5 homers and 10 runs later, I’m no longer so confident. I suppose I was bound to lose at least one game. That’s all the time I have to play today as I have plans with my girlfriend. At least I’ve got my first taste of event action and that important first win. Win total: 1
Saturday, July 29th and Sunday, July 30th
The weekend comes and goes without any games getting played. Between family events and quality time with the better half, sometimes life just gets in the way I guess. But how long will I really need to get to 40 wins anyway? There’s still soooo much time!
Monday, July 31st
I manage to find a few hours to get some games in before bed. While in the midst of a tough losing skid, my newest opponent informs me that he is just one win away from Arrieta. Not one to deny someone else the final step towards their ultimate reward, I concede immediately and offer them a hearty congratulations. Win total: 3
Tuesday, August 1st
I realize that I will need to start devoting more time to the event if I am going to be able to get to 40 wins. I tell my girlfriend, Andrea, that we can’t go out to a movie tonight because I’m “chasing my destiny.” She rolls her eyes hard at that one, but deep down, I think she understands.
Game freezes in the third inning with me up 3-2. I wait things out for a bit but when my opponent messages me to say he can and will wait all day if needed, I quit and take the loss. Win total: 4
I fall behind 3-0 early (thanks for nothing, Corbin!) and am having trouble hitting Severino. My opponent pinch hits for the pitcher the first time through the order though and when Papelbon comes in for relief, Sanchez hits a grand slam. Down just 4-3 in the second inning, my opponent still chooses to quit. I have absolutely no problem with that. Win total: 7
Wednesday, August 2nd
Andrea’s a little upset when I tell her I will need to spend most of the night grinding some wins, as I still have a long way to go to reach my goal. She goes to bed early and I tell her not to wait up for me. She grumbles something about me always playing that stupid game. I take this as clumsily phrased words of encouragement and continue my quest for Jake.
The titular pitcher’s advantage is becoming more and more apparent, as my opponent and I play into extra innings with the score still tied 0-0. Finally, in the tenth, my opponent hits a home run and we lose 1-0. I contemplate the futility of existence, wonder if perhaps I’ve scored the last run I ever will, and seriously consider never playing this game ever again. After a few frustrated minutes, the feeling passes. Win total: 9
Stanton hits a home run in the first to stake me to an early 2-0 lead. Opponent proceeds to throw at the heads of the next four batters, then decides he has worked out his anger enough and quits. Win total: 12
Thursday, August 3rd
Starting to feel the pressure mounting, I call in sick to work to have more time to accumulate wins. My boss is angry and when he presses me for more information, I panic and pretend to vomit before quickly hanging up. I ignore his calls for the rest of the day. The girlfriend asks me if I’d like to go out for dinner later. I agree and set out to get in as many games as possible before then.
Opponent messages me to advise me that he has won 11 in a row and is just one win away from acquiring the 92 OVR Braun. I reluctantly agree to concede, though I do find it a little suspicious that I keep being matched up with people who are just one win away from such substantial rewards. Win total: 14
I strike out the side in the first inning and my opponent quits. He proceeds to berate me over messages for “not throwing strikes.” I ask if he’s ever watched the game of baseball before. He calls me a long stream of explicit names, and I can begin to feel my grip on both civility and sanity loosening ever so slightly. I also suddenly realize that I have forgotten my dinner date with Andrea and check my phone to find that I have missed several messages and calls from her. When she gets home, she is not pleased and screams at me in a way I wish I could scream at Jhonny Peralta and his sub-.100 average. Win total: 17
Friday, August 4th
I call in sick to work again because the Arrieta situation is looking more and more dire. I tell my boss that I have a rather serious stomach flu. He says if I don’t come in today then don’t bother coming in on Monday. I thank him for that extra day off (because I’ll probably need it) and then hang up.
Following a nice string of wins, my next opponent messages me to say he needs only eight walks for his career missions and then he will concede. I am wary of this proposal but agree to give him the walks anyway. Then, he does not concede. As the apparent victim of some clever ruse, I choose to concede instead and vow never to make this same mistake again. On a related note, the development of my newfound hatred for all of humanity continues. Win total: 21
Corbin gives up another couple of home runs in the first inning and I have never been more certain that he’s the absolute worst. When Andrea gets home from work, she says we “need to talk.” I ask if we can do that while I play baseball. She packs some things and leaves immediately, so I guess we can’t? Win total: 23
Saturday, August 5th
Andrea has still not returned nor has she answered my concerned text message of “You okay?” that proves I’m a caring and attentive boyfriend. It occurs to me that I haven’t showered in the last few days and though I smell awfully rank, I decide to put hygiene on the back burner for the time being and get back to grinding.
Some lying liar tries to tell me that he is just one win away from Arrieta. I respond with the middle finger emoji. I hit a home run in the second and he quits. It feels amazing. I barely notice that I have accumulated the necessary wins for the 93 OVR Eddie Murray. Win total: 25
Oh, you need walks? Well you’re barking up the wrong tree, pal, because I see right through your little plan. Try selling that garbage somewhere else. Win total: 29
I wake up with a start to find that it’s 3:30 a.m. and I must have fallen asleep in the middle of a game. Apparently I lost 11-0 and yet don’t remember any of it. Corbin, of course. Probably time to call it quits for now. Win total: 31
Sunday, August 6th
Time is running out. Today is the last full day to get the remaining nine wins that I need, and I’m so close that I can practically taste Arrieta. Wait, that doesn’t sound right. You know what I mean. I may not have a girlfriend or maybe even a job anymore, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to lose Arrieta now too.
Jhonny Peralta grounds into a double play to end a rally in the bottom of the sixth and I lose 3-2. Nothing means anything anymore. Life is pain. Win total: 32
Opponent hits a homer in the third and a 1-0 lead suddenly seems insurmountable. I quit immediately. I haven’t scored a run in the last five games. I have a vague memory of a guy crossing a plate once but that was a long time ago. Win total: 32
I have concluded that Patrick Corbin is almost certainly the devil, or at the very least, a demon sent from the depths of hell. I eat a mayonnaise sandwich for dinner to follow up the crackers and mustard I had for lunch. It’s fine. Everything is fine. Win total: 33
Stanton hits a walk-off homer to win it for me in the bottom of the sixth. I laugh uncontrollably for 15 minutes before briefly passing out. Win total: 35
It’s very late. Or early, depending on how you look at it. I’m convinced I may actually be inside the baseball game at this point. I hit three homers in the first and my opponent quits. So this is what they call “the zone.” Win total: 37
Blag stator gjkpj hohp Corbin. Bjhoh huo Peralta. Blergh! Win total: 37
Monday August 7th
I wake up late and find a message from my boss saying I’m fired. I don’t even care anymore. Only two hours to get the three wins I still need for Arrieta. It’s now or never.
Jhonny Peralta hits an RBI double in the fifth and I hang on to win 1-0. I love that man and always have! Win total: 38
Corbin pitches a gem and we win 3-0. He may not be the devil after all. False alarm! Win total: 39
I message my opponent and tell him I am one win away from Arrieta, hoping he will concede. He does not. Instead, hits two homers in the first. I quit. Win total: 39
The game freezes in the fourth with us Sloths up 4-2. Opponent messages to tell me that it’s still playing fine for him and he just mercy ruled me. I am not in the mood for these games. I do not have time for this. Not now. I counter his obvious lie with a lie of my own. I tell him I have stepped out for a few hours and left the game on, so it’s no concern to me that he has mercy ruled me. I hear nothing back for a few minutes. With just 20 minutes left until the event ends, I am about to quit and try to get in one last game when just before I push the button, he quits. I’ve done it! Win total: 40
Some might think it was foolish of me to throw away a well paying job and wonderful girlfriend all for one measly Diamond Dynasty card. But when I got Arrieta and saw that precious reward in my collection, I knew that I wouldn’t trade it for anything. I may no longer have such overrated things in my life as love or a steady income, but one thing’s for sure: I do not lack for an ace in my Diamond Dynasty rotation. Oh, and I also notice that I have completed the Felix Hernandez Program, as if I needed any more convincing that this last week and a half was completely worth it. These events are the greatest!