First of all, thanks to everyone who shared on Facebook, retweeted and talked about yesterday’s initial Backyard Baseball Trade Rankings post. (Though, of course, nobody physically talks to anyone anymore.) Yesterday was the most-read day in the history of this blog, and today’s already been close – without me posting anything new as of yet. Pretty, pretty good.
So now that I have everyone’s attention, at least pay attention for two more sentences, if you wouldn’t mind. There should be a little “Follow” box on the bottom right-hand corner of the screen (or up top, if you’re a Word Press user). If you want to follow the blog, click “Follow” and enter your email address, so all the posts will go right to you. I will personally give anyone who follows the blog a dollar when I make it big in a few years. Thank you. Sorry for all the bold text.
The preshur’s onn now too not spel things rong since lot of peopel will bee reading tihs bolg 2day. Mayb eye can rite good!
Anyway, back to reality (gravity? Hey, anyone seen gravity?)…it’s somewhat nice to know that I wasn’t the only one who played Backyard Baseball religiously as a kid. It’s also somewhat disturbing to know that every other person between the ages of 18 and 30 on the planet Earth did. But hey, score one for mass consumerism! (Shut up, Chad Kroeger – I see you over there in the corner.)
A quick refresher…I’m ranking, from worst to best, the most valuable characters in Backyard Baseball. In this scenario, we have to imagine that players can be traded for each other. For example, if Jocinda Smith was #10 and Stephanie Morgan was #11, a team would trade Stephanie for Jocinda, but not Jocinda for Stephanie. Yesterday I looked at players 31 through 21. Today, we’ll rank numbers 20 through 11. A quick FAQ before I start, once again:
This is the best thing you’ve ever written. Thank you. Also, that’s not a question.
Why is this a three-part piece? Because if Peter Jackson can milk The Hobbit for all it’s worth, I can similarly milk Backyard Baseball.
Why did you rank Dimitri Petrovich so low? Oh, get off your bespectacled high horse.
Group E: Demand A Refund, Eat A Bagel
20. Sally Dobbs (2 Hitting, 3 Running, 2 Pitching, 3 Fielding)
When you hear the nickname “The Boss”, you may think of Bruce Springsteen. You may think of George Steinbrenner. You may even think of the Lonely Island. But I think of Backyard Baseball’s Sally “The Boss” Dobbs.
(THAT LAST SENTENCE IS NOT TRUE PLEASE DON’T READ INTO IT TOO MUCH IT JUST WEAVES IN SEAMLESSLY WITH THE NARRATIVE OK MOVE ALONG PLEASE DON’T JUDGE ME I LOVE BRUCE)
Sally is one of the oldest players in Backyard Sports – four years older than her younger brother/person Ronny, according to Wikipedia. That age factor would bump her down a few more spaces, but there’s no franchise mode in Backyard Baseball. (Sadly.) Sally’s a much better option than Ronny, thanks to much better speed and a strong arm, along with a similar bet. If you’re going with one Dobbs, pick Greg. Two, pick Lou. Three, go for Sally.
Group F: Well, You Could Do Worse
19. Amir Khan (3-2-3-2)
Achmed’s younger brother, Amir gets a Backyard boost from his last name. But peel back the facade and there’s not a ton here. The 3 hitting ranking is Amir’s best attribute, but a long and inconsistent swing make him no more than a back-of-the-order option. That 3 rating as a pitcher is artificially boosted, as well.
18. Ricky Johnson (2-3-3-2)
Truth be told, this may be a little low for Ricky. He’s got a mean left hook and some solid speed, although he’ll often throw one-hoppers across the diamond if you play him on the left side of the infield. Truth be told, Ricky just needs to want it more. Where’s the desire? Where’s the will to win? You’re one of the tallest and fastest kids out there, Rick! NOW SHOW ‘EM WHAT YOU’RE MADE OF!
17. Mikey Thomas (4-1-2-3)
The lowest ranked hitter with a 4 rating on this list, Mikey just doesn’t bring much to the table. See how that 4 rating holds up against a hook inside, for instance. And if Mikey gets on base without hitting a home run, congratulations! You’ve got the equivalent of Jeremy Giambi with Jason Giambi on his back as a base runner! Yesterday, I ran around the bases in approximately 48 seconds with Billy Jean Blackwood after her fourth at-bat…and Mikey is a full speed rating slower. You could literally listen to the Black Keys’ entire El Camino album in the time it takes Mikey Thomas to score.
Group G: The Gold Glovers
16. Annie Frazier (3-3-1-3)
15. Ernie Steele (2-2-3-4)
I’m not sure why I never picked Annie “Flipper” Frazier, who’s right on the borderline of the game’s top two tiers. She’s a three-category 3, and she’s a dynamite fielder anywhere you put her. Maybe it’s that general peaceful attitude and lack of desire for competitive sports. Call it the Ricky Johnson principle. Boy, if I had only grouped them together for the sake of the narrative.
Meanwhile, Ernie’s one of just four fielders with a 4 rating in the game, and since two of those are as tall as E.T., he’s basically one of two fielders with a 4 rating. He’s not a great hitter, sure, but he’ll give you a few solid innings on the mound a strong performance anywhere in the field. Bonus points for his namesake field, Steele Stadium, which features a center-field wall a mere 180 feet from home plate.
(Side note: You know what would be a fun post? A ranking of the Backyard Baseball stadiums. Hmmm…)
Group H: Sister Act
14 & 13. Ashley and Sidney Webber (2-3-3-2)
The most sneaky-good combination in the game, there’s no doubt that Ashley and Sidney play way above their talent levels – if you put them together. Of course, when you’re playing a pickup game and you draft one, the CPU decides to draft the other immediately afterward. IF THEY CAN’T BE HAPPY, YOU CAN’T HAPPY!
Ash and Sid (yeah, we’re on a half-first-name basis) are aces on the mound, carving up hitters with hooks both left and right. They’re fast and solid gap hitters to stash at the back of the lineup as well. However, they each go by the nickname of “Little Smokey”. That’s right…two identical twins go by the exact same nickname. Nice job, parents.
(Side note 2: We’re told that the Webbers’ dad is a self-made multi-millionaire – yes, we’re actually told this in the game – so I like to pretend that it’s Chris Webber, and that he keeps hitting that “Time Out” stop-sign button in the bottom right-hand corner of the screen. I’m a strange individual. Let’s move on.)
Group I: The Hall Of Very Good
12. Dante Robinson (2-4-2-3)
11. Tony Delvecchio (3-2-2-3)
We’re just outside the top 10 now, and we’ve got a pair of players on the precipice of greatness, but with some fatal flaws. First up, it’s Dante, who eats more than Brad Pitt in Ocean’s 11. If Dante focused less on tossing popcorn into his mouth and more on recognizing a slowball, he’d easily be top-1o material. Instead, you’ll have to settle for someone who’s getting on base if he keeps the ball on the ground, but doesn’t have much pop.
On the other side of the close-but-no-cigar spectrum is Tony, who was the product of a late-night gangster-movie marathon. After watching Goodfellas, Scarface and the entire Godfather trilogy back-to-back, Tony, an Italian greaseball from Staten Island, was conceived. Heck, I even thought he was smoking the first time I played the game as a kid, only to discover that the white stick in his mouth was actually a lollipop. Phew.
Tony can wallop the ball and play a mean first base – but that’s about it. He’s a liability almost anywhere else on the field and a liability on the basepaths. He’ll be a middle-of-the-order hitter if you select him, but you’ve got better all-around options.
That’s all for the Backyard Baseball Trade Rankings: Electric Boogaloo. Tomorrow, we’ll reveal the top 10, and then the blog will likely end as we know it. Bicker amongst yourselves in the comments if you’d like. Until tomorrow, au revoir.