I have often stated that games have pushed the envelope and technology of computers. Word processors and spreadsheets have not required faster CPU speed like 800 MHz or 2 GHz computers, nor have they demanded 32-bit color palettes or massive storage devices like CDs and DVDs. The players’ desire for faster, prettier, and more realistic games has created today’s environment. Games have created the markets for quality sound cards and speakers as well as 3D accelerator cards.
Sports games, in order to satisfy their fans’ needs, have pushed the realism of gaming in terms of the graphics (3D polygons and skins or “textures”), the game’s physics (from the movements of the players and the motion of the ball to the natural effects of gravity, weather, and bouncing off surfaces), and real-world statistics. Some sports games like football have options to link into the U.S. Weather Bureau site to download the current weather and wind conditions for all stadium venues.
A baseball team consists of nine main players, which include the pitcher, catcher, infielders (first baseman, second baseman, third baseman, and shortstop), and the outfielders (left fielder, center fielder, and right fielder).
The baseball game lasts nine innings, unless a tie exists; then it continues until one side has outscored its opponent. An inning consists of each team playing until they have three outs by a strikeout, pop-out, or tag out. If a batter has been thrown four pitches outside the strike zone, that player advances or walks to first base (called a “BB” or “base on balls”). A strike occurs when a pitch is swung at and missed, hit in foul territory on the first two strike counts, or called a strike by the umpire. Three strikes and the player is out (called a strikeout or “SO”). Three outs retires the side (half of an inning). A “fielder’s choice” is when a batter pops the ball into the infield, which becomes an automatic out regardless of whether the ball is caught or not. A “double play” is when two outs occur in one play. A “triple play” is when three outs occur in one play. A doubleheader is two baseball games with the same teams back to back.
The infield, or diamond, has a home plate and three bases that are 90 feet apart with 15-square-inch bases. The pitcher’s mound is 60.5 feet from home plate and is raised ten inches above the field.
The pitcher’s arsenal consists of the fast ball (an up-spin pitch), a curve ball (a down-spin pitch), a change-up (slower to fast curve ball), a slider (a side spinner), or the breaking ball (change of direction ball). The pitches can fly over the plate from 50 to 100 mph.
A “foul ball” is a ball batted that lands in foul territory, an area behind home plate, the area left of the left foul line, or the area right of the right foul line. A foul ball cannot be the third strike. A “fair ball” is a ball batted that lands in the outfield or anywhere between the first base foul line and the third base foul line (including over the outfield wall). On either side of home plate is the “batter’s box,” which is six feet long by four feet wide. A “run” is when a player advances around the bases and safely touches home plate. A “steal” occurs when a player advances to the next base without the ball being hit. Stealing usually occurs when the ball is being pitched.
Umpires judge pitches that the batter hasn’t swung at and determines if they are within the strike zone or not (they are ruled as a “strike” or a “ball”). A swung-at ball is always a strike or a hit. A tap (usually light) of the ball is called a “bunt.”
A baseball is 9 to 9.25 inches in circumference. The bat (wood or metal) can be up to 42 inches long and 2.75 inches in diameter. Fielders (all nine of them) wear padded leather gloves on their non-throwing hand. The catcher and first baseman wear special gloves. The catcher also wears a face mask, shin guards, and a chest-protecting pad.
In Major League baseball there are two leagues, the American and National League. The baseball season starts in April and ends in October. The best teams win their conference championship (two divisions in each league) and play the World Series. The All-Star game is played by players who are voted on by fans to play on their league’s team, either the National League or American League team. The All-Star managers are the previous year’s championship team’s managers who select their All-Star team’s pitchers.
The first and oldest rule in research is “check and recheck your facts.” Never assume that the data given to you by a reputable source is accurate and complete. Check other reliable statistics sources like CBS sports or ESPN web sites.
When I received the data for General Mills’ All-Star Baseball, the data was missing important statistic fields and individual player statistics, had inaccurate or jumbled statistics (like 367 was 376), and needed significant checking to verify the given data and supply the missing data needed.
Baseball data was divided into two major groups: team data and player data. Team data included the team name, team graphics (logo, 3D stadium, team uniform for home and away games, and so on), stadium location, franchise facts, ticket prices, and club owner. The player data was categorized by player bio, graphics, all batting information, fielding information, and pitching info (if the player is a pitcher).
Player bio information included the player’s birthday, hometown, position (manager, coach, pitcher, catcher, infielder, or outfielder), salary, height, weight, and so on. The graphics included the player’s face texture or skin file name, the player’s uniform (including the number and special patches worn), and so on. The player’s batting information included batting statistics, batting side right, left, or switch hitter, special batting stance, batting swing and running to base animations, and so on. The fielding information included catches right- or left-handed, fielding statistics, special running and catching animations, and so on. The pitching information included the pitch type thrown, pitching statistics, pitching specialty (like relief pitcher or starting pitcher), and so on.
I wanted the player’s personal data (like birth date) to tell gamers interesting facts when they played the game, like “Today is the following player’s birthday.” This feature becomes an easy one by reading the computer’s internal clock (date and time) and reading all of the players’ birthdays from the database that you’ve created and modified. Like baseball trading cards, I wanted to supply the players’ height, weight, and hometown for announcers to add to their colorful commentary or as a statistic used along with the players’ thumbnail photo as they’re coming to bat. The player’s hitting statistics are needed to properly compute the results of the game’s hitting “eye and hand” twitch skills used in sports games. A home run hitter would more often strike out or hit triples and home runs over hitting singles and doubles. Pitchers, on the other hand, generally strike out or hit singles. Given the exact same swing data (the same pitch type and strike zone location, the same hit type like a “power swing,” and the same connection timing of the bat with the ball), you would expect the real world results to vary greatly if the batter was a home run hitter rather than a pitcher.
One rule I decided early on in the data gathering process was to be consistent and able to explain my decisions to a hardcore fan. One such example of this was with American League pitchers who do not bat, except in certain games in the World Series. The first data I used was the last year the pitcher had a valid batting statistic. Then I would use that pitcher’s lifetime statistics for batting. Lastly I used any minor league or previous (to becoming a professional pitcher) batting statistic I could find. Generally, I found most of the statistics I needed.
One hard-to-find statistic was running and throwing speeds for all players to accurately calculate base running and field throwing to tag a runner out. I tried to find a 100-yard dash timing statistic to grade players into several speed categories (for both running, stealing, and throwing).
Let’s examine the real world of baseball versus the computer, statistic-based AI we need to design. The situation to examine is a runner on first base when the batter hits the ball into center field. The experienced center fielder picks up the ball and throws it to the second baseman. This is an every-game, real-life situation. How can the computer accurately recreate this scenario?
Based on the twitch indicators and that batter’s real-world batting statistics, the resulting hit or strike can be calculated. The twitch indicators include the type of pitch, the selected “aimed at” strike zone location, the type of batting power, and the “bat-to-ball” connection timing. The batter’s real-world batting statistics are percentages for a strike, a single, a double, a triple, a homerun, and a pop out. The ball’s trajectory and speed can be accurately computed, including weather, wind, and gravity factors.
Now that the ball’s flight and expected landing position are known (through calculations), each player in the field calculates, based on his present location and running speed, who can get to the ball the fastest (in this case, the answer is probably the center fielder). The center fielder runs toward the ball’s final location, which was already calculated. Upon picking up the ball (our calculations determined that a catch couldn’t be made in time), he looks at the runner on first base. The first calculation needed is the distance from the first base runner’s current position (he might have been leading off the base) to second base multiplied by his standard base running time (remember that 100-yard dash statistic!). Then the same calculation is made for the batter running from home plate to first base. A calculation is made for the center fielder, knowing the distance from his position to first base and his position to second base and his throwing speed statistic. Each calculated scenario is compared: (1) the center fielder’s throw to first base time versus the batter’s running to first base time and (2) the center fielder’s throwing time to second base versus the first base runner’s time to second base.
Obviously, whichever scenario is quicker for the center fielder to execute is the outcome of this play. In this case, the center fielder will throw to the second base player who (calculated as being closest to the goal of stopping or tagging out the runner who was on first base) is closest to that position. This is a simple description of simulating in AI the real-world thinking and spontaneous actions that we see every day.
The current selection of top baseball games are published by the majors including Interplay (recently halted a new version of baseball), Microsoft, Acclaim, and 3DO and Electronic Arts.
Interplay published VR Baseball, which was last published as Interplay Sports Baseball 2000. Microsoft’s offering is MS Baseball 2001 for Windows. EA Sports, which proclaimed “We are Sports,” has their studio 3DO and its head, Trip Hawkins, publishing High Heat Baseball 2002 for Windows, the PlayStation 2 (High Heat Baseball 2003 for PSX 2 E), and Gameboy Advance (both in 2002 and 2003 versions). EA’s predecessor baseball offering was Triple Play Baseball. Acclaim has their All Star Baseball for 2002 and 2003 for the Game Cube, PSX 2, and Microsoft’s Xbox.
Interplay Sports Baseball 2000
Interplay VR Baseball 2000 Windows CD $9.95
Interplay Sports Baseball 2000 Windows $29.95
Microsoft’s Baseball 2001
MS Baseball 2000 CD Sports $18.95
MS Baseball Slugfest XBOX Sports $49.95
EA Triple Play Baseball
Triple Play Baseball CD Sports $24.95
EA/3DO High Heat Baseball 2002 and 2003
High Heat Baseball 2002 W95 CD Sports $24.95
High Heat Baseball 2002 PSX 2 T Sports $29.95
High Heat Baseball 2002 PSX 2 E Sports $29.95
High Heat Baseball 2002 Gameboy Advance E Sports $39.95
High Heat Baseball 2003 PSX 2 E Sports $49.95
High Heat Baseball 2003 Gameboy Advance Sports $39.95
Acclaim All Star Baseball 2002 and 2003
All Star Baseball 2002 Game Cube E Sports $49.95
All Star Baseball 2002 PSX 2 E Sports $48.95
All Star Baseball 2003 Game Cube Sports $49.95
All Star Baseball 2003 PSX 2 Sports $49.95
All Star Baseball 2003 Xbox Sports $49.95
Let’s examine Interplay’s Baseball 2000 in terms of its good aspects, bad aspects, and suggested improvements.
Good: Baseball 2000 has good AI that focuses on pitches that the batter will want to hit and will intentionally walk a batter. The fielding option is very good, and the program controls the fielder until the camera has the fielder in full view and then the player takes control. The game player has no need for exactness when fielding a ball or throwing to a base. Fielding a ball requires a general area click on a player, and the ball jumps into the glove. The pitching and batting interface is easy to use and has an optional strike zone and an option after the throw to display where the ball was pitched.
This version has better graphics than last year (not as good as Triple Play and MLB 2000), including numerous batting animations, real-time shadows when players move/stand, detailed jerseys with patches and correct team logos, and player numbers (including the correct number font). With good collision detection and display when fielders and runners collide, the AI makes Baseball 2000 a better game than the previous version, VR Baseball 99.
The pitching interface is great. When a pitch is selected, a strike zone region is determined and slightly adjusted as the ball is pitched (same interface in Triple Play). In Interplay Baseball 2000, pitch speed can also be selected, which will determine the energy used by the pitcher. Pitchers must be warmed up before they enter the game. Another good feature is that auto base running and slides can be head first or feet first. There are many new features, like different replay camera angles and camera zooms, including “ball cam,” and all 30 stadiums are detailed in 3D; 700 new fully animated scenes were added including feet-first sliding, diving catches, jumping throws, kneeling throws, over-the-shoulder catches, outfield fence climb catches, numerous first baseman catches, and team rosters complete from the 1999 season with the ability to trade and create players.
Bad: The graphics issues include seams in the field, players whose facial hair is inconsistent, the same blank stare on faces, no home run celebration, and slow frame rate. The stadiums are only half filled by fans. The baseball is represented by a white dot and not a rotating, seamed ball. Sound issues include no umpire shouting and animating called balls and strikes (play-by-play announcer calls them), the play-by-play announcer gets redundant quickly, and the previous version had better crowd noises, better sound effects like hecklers and vendors, and the crowd’s roar was better. Also, the sound options are not saved.
Other issues include no user records, no career mode, incorrect 1999 schedule, all fielders run at the same rate, throwing to a player has one rate (should have player-defined throwing rates and rates for normal or aggressive throws), and loading the season (and saving it) is slow. Also there are no selectable camera angles (although replay has them all available).
Improvements: Pitching improvements include adding passed balls and wild pitches, and the pitcher is less accurate as he tires. Adding options for automating base running, pitching, hitting, throwing, and fielding. Modifying the color commentary and having better play-by-play variations.
Animation improvements include adding umpire animations and involvement (motioning and speaking), having working and animated base coaches, filling the stadium with a variety of fans, having various home run celebrations, coming to bat rituals, and on-deck animations, having pitches without a long canned animation, and after a strikeout or a first base out, optionally throwing the ball around the infield. Improving the AI to compete with High Heat Baseball (intentional walks), having optional hitting and pitching cursors, and forcing base runners to go on a two outs and a full count.
Microsoft’s Baseball 2001 has a major addition—the Baseball Mogul’s technology as the brains “under its hood.” Players can build and develop a team just like a Major League baseball general manager, simulate a schedule over days, weeks, months, and seasons and team and player statistics over seasons, and develop minor league players and teams. Game players can trade players with computer sophisticated AI that can accept a trade or reject one with a counter-offer.
Baseball 2001 is a full baseball simulation, including franchise factors like tracking players’ salaries, farm system and scouting budgets, and other bottom line decisions. The general manager mode has features like career mode, where the player can have control over the managers and coaches, manage finances, sign and release free agents, and make trades. Winning the World Series is important for revenue success (filling the stadium and paying for a winning team). The commissioner mode has the ability to create new players as well as manage the entire league (all teams). The financial aspects include base revenue, winning percentages, fan attendance and support, good team decisions, scouting costs, and farm system operation.
Baseball 2001 is licensed by Major League baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association with all 30 teams and over 1,200 players and 35 stadiums, including Milwaukee, Houston, San Francisco, and Detroit.
The game includes commentary by Arizona Diamondbacks announcer Thom Brennaman and is endorsed by the Boston Red Sox All-Star shortstop and American League Rookie of the Year, Nomar Garciaparra.
Microsoft’s sports is a worthy challenge to Electronic Arts (sports champion “We are Sports”). The game features a floating indicator (cursor) that is used for pitching and batting, which differs from the twitch timing method utilized by Triple Play and EA/3DO’s High Heat.
The 1999 season’s actual statistics are used as well as tracking statistics, such as longest home run and pitcher’s statistics, like number of pitches versus number of outs. Based on the batter’s statistics, he can attempt one of three swings: a power, contact, or normal swing. A normal swing provides a large indicator for a larger swing radius but with less hitting power. The power swing provides a smaller indicator defining a smaller swing radius but more power in his hit. Pitchers utilize the same indicator method as hitters, where the pitching statistics are correlated to the desired pitch type and speed.
Good: Great detailed player movements from extensive motion captured actor sessions, 3D realistic stadiums, high resolution, and multi-polygonal player models. Players animate and move more fluidly with high-resolution digital imaging of player’s faces and individual player posturing and trademark movements. Comprehensive statistics tabulate individual player and team game and season statistics with analysis.
System requirements are the Pentium 166, 32 MB RAM, Win 95/98, DirectX 7, 3D accelerator card with 4 MB RAM.
EA’s Triple Play 2000 is an “arcade-style” or “offensive” baseball game, and fans and critics prefer a more realistic simulation experience in sports games. For the PC Windows market and the PlayStation, Triple Play was the best-selling baseball game.
Triple Play features stadium flyovers, was the first game with the now common two-man announcing team, and has on-the-fly commentary based on the player’s season. Smooth, well-animated graphics are apparent in Triple Play 2000 in the player’s movements, like swinging, pitching, or sliding, which all look sharp and detailed. The realistic polygonal models look natural, and the days of blocky and stiff 3D models are long gone. The stadiums are graphically impressive from Kansas City’s waterfalls and Boston Fenway’s “green monster” outfield to Baltimore Camden Yards’ right field brick building. Shadows based on the time of day as well as weather are just one of the realistic details present in Triple Play 2000.
The “Jumbotron” screen depicts batting and running players as a screen within a screen action. Other detailed graphic features include dust clouds when a player slides into a base or off the player’s cleats when the bat taps the footwear before entering the batter’s box. Even the clouds across the sky or the orange-red sunset shows the graphic detail achievements. Players have facial animations and realistic expressions. The ball in motion has a slight comet-tail visual showing a fast moving ball. Broadcast-quality camera angles and perspectives with zooming and panning are so seamless you begin to think that a cameraman is controlling the viewing. Numerous home run animations depict visuals like a swing from four different angles, instant replay montages, and animations where the ball flies out of the stadium while another one shows the ball’s flight from its POV.
Triple Play 2000’s audio continues its predecessor’s features by having a real-time game announcer commenting play information in seamless speech, including the team and its players’ names (the speech sounds even, rather than strung or patched together).
In 1998 Triple Play introduced the two-man announcing team, where the duo not only describe the action but chat during idle moments and tell stories of players and specific places. Even information about the current season being played is mentioned. The crowd sounds and reaction to the game are improved, from the vendors selling beverages like lemonade or food to the crack of the bat, the stadium announcer paging people, and music to get the fans yelling.
The menus in Triple Play 2000 have been streamlined for ease of use and faster gameplay. The batting interface allows for the traditional timing-based bat-to-ball hitting system to a “zone cursor” that makes you target the strike zone. Batting allows for a normal swing, a power swing, a check swing, and a bunt.
The pitching interface (although still awkward) allows for a pitch type and a pitch area (strike zone or just outside the strike zone), and after the ball leaves the pitcher’s hand, an adjustment control can be used to more accurately move the ball along its intended path (called the “aftertouch”). An arrow indicates the location of the ball (as a help feature).
Triple Play 2000 has a rookie level for extremely easy play, a pro level, and an “All-Star level.” The player can customize each setting to a particular level.
High Heat Baseball previously predicted that the New York Yankees would win the 1998 World Series (Correct—New York Yankees sweep the San Diego Padres) and the 1999 World Series (Correct—Yankees’ 4-1 victory over the Braves) and then announced that after an 82-year drought the Boston Red Sox would win the 2000 World Series (Incorrect—New York Yankees beat New York Mets for third straight World Series).
The High Heat Baseball development team is headed by 3DO CEO Trip Hawkins, who leads a group of die-hard baseball fans. Hawkins was the visionary behind High Heat’s predecessor, Earl Weaver Baseball, the legendary award-winning sports title considered the best baseball simulation ever.
High Heat was thoroughly researched for over four years through seeing games as a spectator in every ballpark and analyzing the other baseball games and evaluating new innovative concepts.
Good: High Heat has the most accurate and realistic pitcher-against-batter statistics, true-to-life base running, fielding, managing, and pitching (wild pitches, pick-off base runners, manager visits to the mound, dropped third strikes, and passed balls). There are multiple camera POVs and an action-cam for close-ups in the action POV. All 30 MLB stadiums for 2001, including PNC Park and Miller Park (over 10,000 polygons per stadium), and historic ballparks like Baker Bowl and Shibe Park. Realistic texturing includes high resolution, high color, alpha blending and mip-mapped technology, and real-time shadowing based on the current sun position or night game lights.
An intelligent crowd features more responsiveness in graphics, sound, and animated vendors. Players have realistic motions on their 6,000 polygon plus models with detailed uniforms (team logos, decals, striping, and piping), actual face maps of over 120 players, true-to-life player motions, and over 1,300 animations and 300 signature animations of pitchers and batters. There are TV-style graphics and menus. In-game animations include arguing with an umpire, base coaches that interact with the base runners, manager visits to the mound, managers able to signal to the bullpen for a new pitcher, and Jumbotron instant replay.
Other features include multiple team rosters for current and all previous seasons with over 750 players, All-Star team selections from current year and previous year, tremendous statistics including historical statistics per player for each year, and batting practice mode with a training mode. There is Internet/LAN play of exhibition, season, and playoff games. Also included is the ability to customize leagues where you define the teams, the schedule, and playoffs.
There are modes to perform multiplayer trades, free-agent pools, aging curves, a three-tiered minor league system, scouting profiles, full-featured draft setup, complete news, updates, and detailed career information tracking. Special modes include manage-only mode and one-pitch mode, batting practice mode, exhibition mode, season mode, career mode, home run derby mode, and playoffs mode.
Game commentary is by San Francisco Giants announcer Ted Robinson.
Without a 3D Card
With a 3D Card
Pentium 200 MMX
32 MB RAM
32 MB RAM
110 MB disk drive
250 MB disk space
2 MB SVGA video card
4 MB Direct3D accelerator with a 800x600, 16 bit
DirectX7.0 sound card, 16-bit
3D sound card, 8-bit DirectSound
28.8 or greater modem TCP/IP
28.8 or greater modem TCP/IP
or IPX (network play)
or IPX (network play)
Computer Gaming World’s Top Ten Games of All Time. Gamepen’s Best PC Sports Game of 2000.
Electronic Arts decided to hire a new developer (Pandemic) to design and produce Triple Play 2002. The new version features numerous new motion capture animations, photo-realistic player head scans, and a TV-style look. The game has 500 animations with 40 signature animations and 160 star player face scans with each player consisting of 4,800 polygons. The commentators are Bob Costas and Harold Reynolds. Triple Play offers the 2002 schedule and previous year statistics tracking over 50 items. Fantasy draft, “End of Season” awards, and create a player (over 30 traits to modify) are also included.
On the consoles, 3DO High Heat Baseball competes with EA’s Triple Play 2002. High Heat has new fielding animations and smooth batting animations. They’ve added the ability to draft and create a player. For the batter, there are now hot and cold batting zones. For the pitcher, fatigue is now calculated.
The game has 1,500 animations with 200 signature animations and 350 star player face scans with each player consisting of 6,000 polygons. The commentators are Dave O’Brien and Chuck Valencia. High Heat offers the 2002 schedule and previous year statistics tracking 78 (splits to 150) items. Franchise mode, fantasy draft, “End of Season” awards, and create a player (33 traits to modify) are also included. The game features wild pitches and passed balls, dropped third strikes, injuries, on-field managers and coaches, and home plate collisions.
Four-time World Series Champion and 2000 All-Star Game MVP Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter endorsed and is featured in this game. All 30 Major League teams and over 700 players with realistic face textures. Players can select the Cooperstown Hall of Fame team with roster including Reggie Jackson, Mike Schmidt, and Nolan Ryan. Game commentary is by Arizona Diamondbacks announcers Bob Brenly and Thom Brennaman. All 30 MBL stadiums with active dugouts (with real, recognizable players sitting in them), bullpens, real outfield advertisements, real-time scoreboards and Jumbotron (that show each player as he approaches the plate), and stadium features like the Kauffman Stadium (Kansas City, MO) waterfalls, 2001 All-Star Safeco Field, Puerto Rico Stadium, PNC Park, Miller Park, and Oakland Coliseum.
The game has animated team mascots, 130 varying player batting stances, 50 pitching animations, and over 1,500 player animations based on motion capture sessions. There are classic uniforms from historic teams. There are seven camera angle views based on television broadcast positions. Season awards like the MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, and Golden Glove.
General manager mode for trading players, signing free agents, and drafting players, setting lineups, defining the pitching staffs, and viewing statistics for hitting and pitching in 44 categories. Each pitcher has six different pitch types, including circle change-up, two-seam fastball, knuckle curveball, and spit ball.
Game modes include quick play, exhibition, season (162 games), World Series, All-Star Game, home run derby, and batting practice. Options include disabling interleague play, balanced play (play teams with same record), unbalanced play (play within your division) for half a season, full season, three-game round robin, and user-defined number of games.
Also customizable are options like game time (day, night, twilight), weather (rain, snow, clear), and game level (rookie, veteran, and All-Star). Players can create up to 25 players, defining their abilities and appearance. Fielding can be automatic (computer controls everything including throwing) or manual (throwing to a base can be selected before the ball is obtained). Designed for fans of the arcade-style baseball game as well as the simulation-style game.
This game has received the following awards:
IGN Editor’s Choice Award: All-Star Baseball 2001 and 2002, EGM Editor’s Choice Award: All-Star Baseball 2000 and 2001, GamePro Baseball Game of the Year: All-Star Baseball 1999
Since the previous versions are of high quality, this game expanded its features and options. The fielding mechanics are improved, giving a much smoother look. TV-style presentation in high detail, team mascots cheering on the dugout, on-screen Donruss trading cards, and a trivia minigame are all included in this new version. They’ve even added broken bats, erratic throws, and wild pitches, as well as a completely redesigned career mode, allowing up to 20 continuous seasons (3,000 games). All-Star has added an expansion mode to create a new team and over 50 Hall of Fame players to select.
The game has 1,900 animations with 200 signature animations and 400 star player face scans with each player consisting of 5,000 polygons. The three commentators (yes, there are three) are Thom Brennaman, Steve Lyons, and Bob Brenly. All-Star offers the 2002 schedule and previous year statistics tracking 67 items. Historic players (52), classic team uniforms (two per team), franchise mode, fantasy draft, “End of Season” awards, create a team, and create a player (over 30 traits to modify) are also included. The game features wild pitches and passed balls, dropped third strikes, injuries, on-field managers and coaches, and home plate collisions.