Baseball Is A Real Life RPG


A Role Playing Game is a form of entertainment, played either electronically or with pen and paper.  In this genre of gaming, players take up the mantle of their character, whose role they are playing.  The allure of these games is the chance to experience something not found in everyday life, to be transported into a new world, and to be immersed into a gripping story.  From Dungeons and Dragons, to Mass Effect 3, RPGs have been a staple in the realm of gaming.  Within this genre, we can see similarities between these games and baseball.

1. Stats Reveal Ability

In an RPG, statistics like Hit Points, Strength, Dexterity and Constitution determine the attributes and value of a character.  Players with more Strength than Dexterity will be considered a warrior-type-class.  The one who shoots first and asks questions later. Conversely, the inverse will produce a sneaky thief.  The one who uses their speed and wit to achieve their goal.  The best party is constructed with characters championing a variety of abilities.  These statistics help shape the identity of the character, and thus, shapes the way the player interacts with the world.

Likewise, in baseball,  there are key statistics that reveal the potential of a player.  A five-tool-player is considered to be the apex player.  The one who can do it all.  These five tools are: hitting for Power, hitting for Contact, ability to Throw, ability in Defense, and Speed.  On-base percentage displays how well a player is at not making an out, the Speed.  ISO displays how well a player hits for extras bases, thus, the Power.  Currently the trend is that Power is valued over all other attributes.  However, Power should not be held in higher regard than Speed, because having each type of player is critical to building a winning franchise.  Each ability is important to building a ball-club; however, if one finds the five-tool player, one should not let them go.

2. They Level Up

The class-change was first introduced in Final Fantasy.  To unlock a greater, hidden power within your character, you had to go through a trial in which you traversed an ancient castle, battled a fierce dragon, and collected a rat tail.  At the end of this journey, your character’s powers are augmented, and their class changes, say from a Fighter to a Knight, or a Thief to a Ninja.  The class-change brings awakening to character as they are thrust into a new world.  These promotions are crucial to the completion of the game.

In order to reach the Major Leagues, a ball-player must be promoted through different classes: ranging from rookie ball to Triple-A.  When the circumstances are right, said player will be promoted to the Big Leagues, and thus completes their class change.  Upon reaching this milestone, they are greeted with a bevy of fortune and the highest-grade equipment.  Their transportation also receives a class-change, transforming from a bus to an airplane.  However, several factors can revert the class-change, such as injury and poor performance.

3. It’s Turn Based

Unlike the Real Time Strategy genre, where the action takes place as time progresses in the real world, some RPGs use a turn-based-system.  This system weighs actions against a queue, and depending on the action, determines your place in the event.  For example, a simple “fight” command will weigh less than a “revive all” spell, and thus will be performed sooner.  Similarly, baseball uses a preordained at-bat-order, where the position in the lineup is static, save for special situations.  The lineup is usually determined by many factors.  Traditionally, however, lineups are structured with Speed first, then Power, and finally Contact.  Because of this formula, baseball has no time constraints in regards to game length, which may produce undesirable results.

4. There Are Random Battles

5. The Adventure Is What You Make It

In RPGs, the game is all about choice.  How you play your character, how you level up, and ultimately, the fate of that character.  Although we cannot control the outcomes of baseball games, we can control our attitudes, opinions, and beliefs.  I started blogging about the Seattle Mariners not because they are an amazing team, not because they have the biggest names in the majors-but because they’re my team.  They may not have the biggest hitters, sexiest pitchers or most revered history, but they’re still the team I grew up watching.  I believe it’s even more important to pay attention to them now because you’ll be able to say “I knew them when”.  116 wins, or 101 losses, it’s up to us to make the decision to follow-or not follow-your favorite baseball team.

My name is Adam Wong, and I’m ready to write.

Follow: @adamhwong