It's that time of year again. The I-70 Series. And what better way to honor it than to play a mock version of it on a video game that came out twenty-three years ago?
I've updated the game for 2008 with current rosters and it is available to download, if you'd like a copy of it. Remember, you need a good NES emulator to play the game.
So here we go!
The I-70 Series!
The Rockies start Jeff Francis and the Royals will go with Gil Meche.
I'm just kidding. Nobody cares about that I-70 Series.
We're talking Royals-Cards.
First some brief explanations.
1) The Royals may be the home team, but to play the computer on this game, you have to be the away team. The technology wasn't quite up to letting the human player be home field.
2) There is no DH. Again, technology.
3) Because of this, I'm going to be a jerk for this first game and not let the Cards start Albert Pujols. He's coming back from injury for real tonight, but will probably be the DH, so nuts to him. If he does start in the field, well, nuts to him anyway. I want to win the first one at least.
In Game One, the Royals will start Gil Meche vs. the Cardinals' Todd Wellemeyer.
Remember him? People in KC used to call him Smellemeyer? Well, he smells no more. He's been a pretty good pitcher since going to the National League, but as the Royals have proven this season, the National League is pretty terrible.
So let's get going!
Oh, how I'd missed that beautiful music.
Dun-dun-dun-dun-duh Dun-dun-dun-dun-duh Dun-duh!
David DeJesus leads off, swinging at two outside pitches like a damned fool. Wellemeyer comes inside on his third pitch and DeJesus dumps it into left field. When Schumaker throws to second, DeJesus decides to take third, just to be a jerk. Leadoff triple and this game is looking good already.
Next up is Mike Aviles. First pitch swinging and he takes a fastball over the lights in left field. Royals up 2-0 after four pitches by Wellemeyer.
Alex Gordon gets down 0-2 and then shoots one into the right field corner for a stand up double.
Then Jose Guillen's up and he hits a line drive just over the wall in left to put the Royals up 4-0.
Perhaps when I programmed Wellemeyer I was a little too vindictive about his success after leaving KC. Maybe I should scrap this version, make him a little better and start all over.
Eh, you know what?
I don't care.
With the way the Royals are playing right now, this isn't all that improbable. Fourth Place, baby!
Mark Grudzielanek comes up and hits a grounder past shortstop Cesar Izturis. Grudz tries to stretch a double into a triple and he's meat at third. First out.
Of course, Mark Teahen hits a triple just after, meaning that running error costs KC a run.
Wellemeyer finally figures out how to pitch (or perhaps forgets how to entirely) and Miguel Olivo swings at three straight pitches in the dirt. Grudz's blunder really does cost the team when Gload flies out to left. Inning over.
Skip Schumaker leads off the bottom of the first.
Anyway, he grounds out to first where Gload takes it to the base unassisted. I'll be honest; I was fully prepared to see him throw it into the stands, but he managed to do the right thing.
Next, Aaron Miles hits a slow roller to Aviles and beats the throw for an infield hit.
Then, Ryan Ludwick hits a blooper to left. Miles was dragging ass to second and Guillen gets the assist.
Batting cleanup, Rick Ankiel! Yeeeeeeeeahhhhh, booooooyyyy!
Meche leads off the second and somehow gets a dribbler between Miles and Chris Duncan on the right side for a single.
On the first pitch to DeJesus, Meche takes off for second and is in! Meche steals a base! And he isn't wearing the lame windbreaker like most pitchers!
Of course, he tries to take third on the next pitch and is out by a mile. Then, DeJesus hits a triple and Meche just cost himself a run.
Aviles up next and he drives one to left. It looks gone!
But it isn't. It's caught. And there's DeJesus standing on home plate. For some reason, nothing, not a thing in the world, can get him off of home. He won't run back to third. Or even back to the dugout. He just stands there while Schumaker throws it to third for the easy double play. Inning over.
Meche gets a 1-2-3 second. The inning ends with Cesar Izturis popping out to Meche. The second Meche catches the ball, Izturis disappears. Just vanishes off the face of the earth.
Gordon leads off the third with a homer just inside the right foul pole to put the Royals up 5-0.
After the next two hitters get out, Teahen comes up and bunts. Wellemeyer chases it all the way to the outfield, and Ryan Ludwick in right decides to run away from the ball and into the wall. When the ball eventually gets to Ludwick, Teahen has already scored on an inside-the-park home run.
That should make it on TWIB.
Meche gets another 1-2-3 in the third, striking out two, one of those being Wellemeyer, who La Russa inexplicaply lets bat, even with Pujols on the bench.
In the fourth, keeping the exhausted Wellemeyer in the game has paid off, as he strikes out both Gload and Meche with 51 mph fastballs. But DeJesus can handle the slow pitches, and he takes one down the left field line for a double. When Wellemeyer goes to an offspeed pitch (39 mph) to start off Aviles, DeJesus steals third easily.
On the next pitch, Aviles hits a double, making it 7-0 KC.
Wellemeyer gets even slower. Here he is with a 35 mph fastball to Gordon. Gordon lays off, but gets the timing down.
On the next pitch, he hammers it out of the stadium for a two-run homer. Royals 9, Wellemeyer 0.
In the bottom of the fourth, Meche is still bringing the heat with 82 mph fastballs. He strikes out Ankiel for the second time.
Then he gets into trouble. With a runner on, he walks Troy Glaus. The next batter pops up to short center and Aviles heads out to get it. Just before he does, everyone disappears. The players, the ball the field. It's all just green. Like the stadium has turned back into the cow pasture it used to be.
When everything comes back, Kyle Lohse is pitching for the Cards against Ross Gload, and I have no idea what the hell happened. I guess Aviles made the catch, because it is still 9-0 Royals.
Lohse is pitching faster, but not doing any better. Gload gets a double and then Meche (Gil Freaking Meche!) triples, making it 10-0 Royals. I'm starting to think the Royals should just get rid of the DH.
Next up is David DeJesus, who hits an inside-the-park home run when the outfielder throws to third instead of home. It wasn't even close.
Lohse gets himself together and strikes out Aviles and Gordon to end the inning.
Meche is getting tired. He walks Izturis and gives up a single to Lohse. Miles drives in a run on an infield single. I wonder if this small ball strategy is gonna work for the Cards. They are only down by eleven now.
Then, disaster strikes. Ludwick pops up to second, Grudz overruns it, and chaos ensues. A three-run inside-the-park job, and suddenly this isn't so funny anymore.
To make it worse, the Royals do nothing in the top of the sixth. It's time to take Meche out, and Bannister comes in to start the bottom half of the inning. He proceeds to strike out Glaus on a breaking ball in the dirt and get the next two men on ground outs.
Bannister comes up to bat to lead off the seventh and grounds out himself. DeJesus drives a pitch to the wall, but Schumaker makes a spectacular catch using only the back of his freaking head.
In the bottom of the inning, La Russa finally gets wise and has Pujols hit for Lohse.
He immediately doubles.
Luckily, the next two hitters are NOT Albert Pujols, and they both strike out.
Looper comes in and the Royals go down 1-2-3 in the eighth.
Bannister does Looper even better in the bottom half, getting the Cards 1-2-3 and striking out the side, throwing nothing but junk pitches.
That's five straight K's for Bannister.
In the ninth, Isringhausen comes in. He gets pinch hitter John Buck on a fly ball. But then Gload triples. Bannister is up next, but Gathright pinch hits instead. It looks bad when he hits it right to Schumaker. But this one hits him in the face. Apparently that doesn't catch balls as easily as the back of his head. Gload almost scores, but turns around and runs back to the third when it looks like the ball will be caught. Gathright ends up on second.
On the next pitch, DeJesus triples for the third time in the game, and the Royals get some insurance runs. KC 14, St. Louis 4.
Then Aviles grounds out and DeJesus scores to make it 15-4.
Soria comes in to close it out, but the first hitter reaches when Grudz bobbles a ground and then throws to third base for some reason.
After a strikeout, La Russa does the unthinkable. He brings in Jason La Rue to pinch hit! You gotta wonder if Tony has started his post game drinking binge a little early tonight.
But it works... Soria is so rattled by Jason Larue that he walks him.
It's up to Isringhausen to hit an eleven run homer and tie this game.
He doesn't do that, but he does he a blooper to right, loading the bases for Schumaker. Soria apparently doesn't know how to perform in a non-save situation. Time to go to Greinke.
Schumaker hits a sac fly to right to make it 15-5. And now the Royals are just one out from the win.
And he strikes out Miles to end the game!
Just look at these totals.
How many of those strikeouts were Rick Ankiel?
Game One of the 8-bit series goes to the Kan City Royals! Let's hope the real Royals can do it tonight.
I'll be back tomorrow with Game Two. I'll go ahead and make Pujols a regular, because this wasn't competitive at all.
And if you find this boring or stupid, well then the hell with you.
Come back tomorrow anyway because I'll have a 1985 version of the game with the Royals available to download, and on Sunday I'll have a 1980 version of the game available to download. Consider them a worthwhile bonus for putting up with these worthless posts.
Go Royals! You're The Best!