Erstwhile infield rival Chase “Frenchie” D’Arnaud got promoted alongside me, up to the Triple-A Indianapolis Indians. I know we had our beef, but it’s cool now, honestly. He’s playing shortstop over on that side of the bag, and I’m over here playing second base. Hell, I might even turn the fielding back on for a little while so we can turn some double plays together. And here’s the kicker: Chase D’Arnaud is a real life dude! Goes to show you what I know.
After the jump, random hearts
Monsieur D’Arnaud was born in 1987, plays guitar, counts Curb Your Enthusiasm as among his favorite shows, and loves to eat cereal! My deepest apologies to you, Chase. I thought you were a randomized collection of parts, put in the game specifically to antagonize me. I did not know you were the actual son of Lance and Marita D’Arnaud, not to mention six-foot-three, two-hundred pounds and likely able to crush me like a grape. God bless you and best of luck in your real-life career with the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Road to the Show, in practice, breaks down to roughly 70% frustration and failure (in the form of strikeouts, pop-ups, weak ground balls and getting picked off or thrown out trying to steal), 20% relief (I manage a hit and stem the tide of my declining average for the time being), 5% elation (the rare big hit, a bases clearing double, homeruns of both the over-the-fence and inside-the-park variety) and 5% brain-tickle from doling out accrued points towards my character’s development. One of my most invigorating moments thus far, however, came as I was simply navigating menus, and happened to come across some dim text in a box alerting me to potential competition for my position within the organization. Turns out there’s a hot new second baseman down in Double-A Altoona. His name?
Now, I’m used to the game’s randomizer creating mashups of existing major leaguer names so that the announcers can reference fictional players fully in-game (you’re likely to run across a Jose Pujols in your travels, for example) but never considered that they’d thrown the fan submitted surnames into the hat as well. Was this just chance that they’ve granted me an imaginary brother with a handle fit for a porn star? If so, what sweet fortune! I’m fully dreaming of a day where we make it to the bigs together. I’ll even ask for a position change to accomodate him if it comes to that. Now, he’s a bit older than I am, 23 to my current 19, and after poking around in his attributes I see that his overall potential caps out at a B to my own A, but that’s still totally viable. He can be the Beau Bridges to my Jeff.
The Show’s penchant for creating players willy-nilly used to drive me nuts when it came to pitchers, as all possible pitch types seemed to have equal chance of ending up in a player’s arsenal. This meant that your trip through the minors in Road to the Show featured regular at-bats against pitchers who just happened to pair a 56-mph knuckler with a 95-mph fastball, an absolutely insane speed differential seldom (if ever) seen in nature. It’s a phenomenon they largely seem to have eradicated, thankfully, and the game’s inner workings have now given me something I never had in real life; an older brother!
Speaking of brothers, Chase D’Arnaud has a younger one named Travis, two years his junior and a catcher in the Toronto Blue Jay organization. Apparently there were rumors over the winter of young Travis coming to my New York Metropolitans by way of a trade, a transaction that would have meant little to me before now. Videogame sports have an odd capacity to inject you with feelings towards real-life individuals you previously didn’t even know existed.
Up next, the art of fielding…
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Seth Berkowitz is a film restorationist and musician living and working in New York City. He makes music with his wife and friends in the band Lucky Ghost, wakes up early to watch Japanese baseball, and is constantly reminding his cats to be patient because it’s not time to eat yet.