Welcome back Scoopers. I wanna start off by saying how grateful I am for the support you guys all showed on my last blog about what is possibly the greatest console baseball experience of all time, MLB Slugfest 20-03, and how it really separated the men from the boys on the Mount Rushmore of baseball gaming immortality. The love ya’ll have shown to me and the rest of T3S has been phenomenal, and I can’t thank you all enough.
This week, we take a break from the fiery extravagance that gave us baseball guys our first dose of chest hair, and turn our attention to the point and click game that captured the hearts of everyone born when the home run record was still held by Hammerin’ Hank. *RIP*
In the late 90’s, a company by the name of Humongous Entertainment launched a series they called Backyard Sports. They released Backyard Soccer, Backyard Football, and Backyard Baseball to relate to a younger audience who struggled to get behind the current sport sims that were on the bump at the time. It was easy to play, cheap to purchase, and ran on almost any computer that could throat a floppy disk. *lol pause*
Now don’t get me wrong, those OG games were a blast to play, but they were missing something. Something that major gaming corporations hold monopolies on in the modern age *talking to you EA/SDS*
Thankfully, the players associations back then didn’t have much knowledge of how big games were, and gave player likenesses up like hot dog vendors would toss glizzies towards the Babe back in the good ol’ days.
And in 2001, they blessed the people with one of the greatest games any of us lumberjacks have experienced.
In the words of Future from 8 Mile, “DJ, SPIN THAT SHIT“
Ohhhhhhhh baby does that give me goosebumps.
Bonds, Griffey, Jeter, the Bash Brothers, ARod, The Big Unit, The Bigot (Schilling), and so many more studs were shrunk into children and available for selection in this one. The steroid era at it’s finest ladies and gentleman. And it was GLORIOUS.
Each MLB guy had a baseball card that you could look through on their selection screen, as well as little tidbits about their childhood. Simplistic realism to the MAX *eat shit SDS*. Like did you know Chipper Jones’ real name is Larry? And that he FUCKING hates being called Larry? Or that McGwire always wanted to be a pitcher before he became Injector Gadget?
Players could be played anywhere, and if you threw them on their actual team, their stats would get boosted by Canseco behind a tree. *IYKYK*
This was like crack for a young diamond dreamer like me, and it’s only the tip of the iceberg.
Alongside these mini pros, Backyard Sports brought back their lineup of awesome ballparks that were all like a mini version of the sandlot but in random spots *Steele Stadium still the GOAT*. Also brought in was the gang of Backyard heroes (who looking back on it were kinda messed up versions of various outdated stereotypes) that would go on to star as multi-sport athletes for years to come.
Pete Wheeler, a very fast but intellectually slow ballplayer who didn’t own a pair of shoes or a real vocabulary. They definitely found him behind a barn having his way with a goat or something and just threw him out there for a body.
Achmed Khan, who had “explosive” power and an annoying little brother that hated being on his team. (Sean can relate)
The Webber Twins, who we all simped for as kids but sucked at everything unless they played on a pretty pink team.
Kenny Kawaguchi, a wheelchair bound child who honestly was only picked if you felt bad for him. *They shoulda gave this kid max stats across the board*
And then of course, there was one more kid I wanna highlight. A kid from a mystical land with powers beyond our wildest dreams. A child that could not be tamed even with a shirt that didn’t fit, and the inability to get on any rollercoaster on the planet with a height limit. The greatest player in the history of sports. Everyone, I present to you, Pablo Sanchez.
The stats speak for themselves people. This guy is the undisputed GOAT of sports. Hearing his music after a dinger was more repetitive than Sunny Day and Vinnie The Gooch on the mic. It was legitimately hard to not hit an absolute missile with this guy every time he stepped up to the plate and he was a MUST pick any time you selected a lineup.
When it came to the actual game between the lines, the fun never stopped, and me and Sean would spend days on end trying to take a team to the Backyard Championship. On days where the Jersey weather wouldn’t permit us to play wiffle ball out back, this game came to our rescue.
IF you weren’t soft, you played on hard difficulty with pitch locator on, and got right to work. Power ups made the game even more enjoyable as they added more fuel to the childlike fire.
Things like crazy bunt that made the ball dance like a Danny Hemmerling ground ball in Anaheim, wild dancing pitches that would cause an umpire today to do a cavity check on a hurler for foreign substances, Aluminum Power that would pretty much turn your lumber into a 2007 Easton Stealth. This game really tickled our fancy back then, and still does to this day. You just don’t see fun anymore in sports games, period.
In 2003, they pretty much repackaged this game but with updated rosters and a few more fields to play at, and it was STILL incredible.
Unfortunately, by 2005, 3D graphics had taken over, and essentially ruined the game that we came to love. Nothing lasts forever, but thankfully 2005 had much bigger aspirations for baseball gamers *hint hint next blog*
Although the new games stunk, I still go back and run 01 on my PC all the time, and it’s a true testament to the cultural value of it that people still turn to it for some good ol’ backyard baseball shenanigans.
To end things, I wanna share what in my opinion is the best lineup to use in the game, and is my go to any time I boot up the ol’ program.
Scoop’s Mighty Bombers
- Derek Jeter SS
- Pete Wheeler LF
- Ken Griffey Jr. CF
- Pablo Sanchez C
- Mark McGwire 1B
- Achmed Khan 2B
- Barry Bonds LF
- Sammy Sosa 3B
- Frank Thomas P (I still hate that he doesn’t rake, but it’s better than having an auto out if you choose Randy Johnson)
Let me know in the comments what your go-to lineups are. Or Tweet at us @thethreespot to debate with us!