Inside Pulse » MLB A pop culture mega-site with Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games coverage for diehards, including news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary. Thu, 24 Jul 2014 03:50:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 A pop culture mega-site with Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games coverage for diehards, including news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary. Inside Pulse no A pop culture mega-site with Movies, TV, Music, Sports, Comics, Video Games coverage for diehards, including news, reviews, live event coverage, audio podcasts, exclusive interviews and commentary. Inside Pulse » MLB 10 Thoughts: The New Baseball Season Wed, 09 Apr 2014 19:02:08 +0000 We’re into the second week of the baseball season; here’s 10 thoughts on what we’ve seen so far. Injuries, leave, and player thoughts.

  1. Tommy John’s impact on the game: No player’s name has had more of an impact on the game than Tommy John’s…since everyone knows about Tommy John Surgery. It seems as if there have been more players going down to the procedure this year than in recent memory. Matt Moore of the Rays looks to be the newest victim to the UCL reconstruction; he joins the Braves trio of Kris Medlen, Brandon Beachy, and Cory Gearrin, Diamondback pitchers Patrick Corbin and David Hernandez, Athletics’ starter Jarrod Parker, Padres rehabbing starter Cory Luebke, Tigers’ reliever Bruce Rondon, Royals’ setup man Luke Hochevar, and Met’s closer Bobby Parnell as pitchers having the surgery. Prospects aren’t exempt either; future Pirate ace Jameson Taillon and Twins’ infield prospect Miguel Sano just had the surgery too.
  2. You’re a man, you don’t need paternity leave: There has been a lot of attention given to players leaving their team to attend the birth of their children…but I don’t understand why? When my 3 children were born, I was out of work for 2 weeks to be with them and my wife; why should ball players be any different? Pat Neshek of the Cardinals missed a few days when his son was born; the team excused him even though he was fighting for a roster spot. Neshek even went as far as driving 3 hours per day to be able to stay with his family (driving from Orlando to Jupiter everyday). Then Dan Murphy missed opening day to be at the birth of his first child…and the New York media took exception to it. Boomer Esiason said Murphy needed to “get his a$$ back to work.” What a joke. Jimmy Rollins is the latest to take time away to see the birth of a child; surprisingly, the Philadelphia media has been pretty kind to him so far.
  3. Instant Replay: While many expected a fiasco with the introduction of instant replay, there really hasn’t been anything. Sure, a few replays here and there, but no extended delays watching plays or questions over how it worked. The biggest issue was an overturned call on an Ian Desmond inside the park homer that was overruled as a double; this was due to the ball being stuck under the wall and not a challenged ruling. I’m sure we’ll see some issues this season, but it’s surprising it hasn’t happened yet.
  4. The MLB Network is a thing of beauty: This will be my first full season with the MLB network as part of my satellite package, and I love it. I’ve watched more baseball this year than I have all of last season. Spring games were always on, there are recaps of the days action at any time, and their original programming (outside of Chris Rose and Kevin Millar) is informative. Plus any channel that has Bob Costas calling games is a winner.
  5. Costas for Commissioner: Speaking of Costas, he was on ESPN Radio opening day and it was mentioned that Bud Selig is done soon and Costas’ name was thrown in the mix. While he doesn’t want the job, he’d be a good choice. He spoke of a few changes he’d like to see, specifically around the playoffs. He wants the Wild Card round to be a 3 game series, all at the better team’s home; he said the second wild card is lucky to be there and they should have to work to make it past the better wild card. It would also allow the division winners a little longer break to set their rotations. Secondly, the winner of the Wild Card round should play all of the NLDS games on the road; again, the Wild Card is playing the best team in their league and should be at a disadvantage. Finally, the NLCS should move back to a best of 5 format; he said that the MLB playoffs suffer from being a month long affair and this could shorten the amount of time it takes to get to the World Series. He also said that it could off-set the added games to the Wild Card round.
  6. Josh Hamilton is not done yet: Many thought Hamilton was on his last leg after a poor 2013 and an injury shortened spring training; then he was the AL player of the week. He started the season going 12 for 27 with 2 homers and 6 RBIs; he’s getting on base more than 50% of his plate appearances. Granted, he did hurt his thumb sliding into first base; maybe I should wait to see what happens there before claiming he’s back.
  7. You can’t steal first: That’s become one of the most annoying sayings this year, especially when Billy Hamilton is up to bat. The outfielder is probably the fastest player I’ve ever seen (between yesterday and today, I’ve watched him get a double on a grounder to right field and a triple on a line drive to right center). This Hamilton is hitting .222 with 1 stolen base (which happened as this was written), but he can’t swipe a bag if he can’t get on base. Based of his skill set, he’ll have trouble getting hits, unless he focuses on getting infield singles.
  8. The Cardinals’ Hall of Fame is legit: The St. Louis Cardinals opened their Hall of Fame on Monday and it’s amazing. I had the opportunity to be there for the grand opening as a member of the press and was truly impressed. The museum has anything you could think of – memorabilia, history, videos. It’s not only the Cardinals, but also the St. Louis Browns and the St. Louis Stars. If you go to St. Louis (or currently live here), it’s worth checking out.
  9. Opening day should be a holiday: Sure, there’s a petition to get the first day of the season as a National Holiday; it practically is in St. Louis. The pre-game festivities are a sight to be seen…the players being brought in on cars, the living Hall of Famers on the field, players from all eras coming back, the Clydesdales. I get goosebumps every year watching it.
  10. Fantasy baseball can be very annoying: This is coming from someone that started playing fantasy sports in 1999; I get so annoyed with Fantasy Baseball. I love playing (specifically drafting and finding diamonds in the rough), it’s watching live scoring on faulty systems and hearing about other peoples team. No offense to my wife, but she’s continually watching her team and talking about issues she’s facing. I’ve told her it’s only the second week; there is a lot of time to play. She doesn’t care though…all players should be at midseason form in her mind. I shouldn’t knock her though. She’s won the only league she’s played in.

I’ll be back next week with more baseball goodness.

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Vladimir Guerrero to Retire Tue, 01 Apr 2014 01:58:31 +0000 According to Alden Gonzalez of the, Vladimir Guerrero will be signing a 1-day contract with the Angels and officially retire from baseball.

Vladimir GuerreroThe 2004 AL MVP played with the Angels from 2004 to 2009; he also played with the Montreal Expos, Texas Rangers, and Baltimore Orioles.

Guerrero, known for destroying mistake pitches, played for 16 seasons, making 9 All Star teams and winning 8 Silver Sluggers. He finished his career with .318/.379/.553 slash stats, 449 home runs, 1496 RBIs, and a 59.3 WAR.

It’ll be interesting to see how much Hall of Fame support Guerrero will receive. While not being tied to PEDs, he was one of the better players during the PED era; players like Larry Walker have publicly stated that it’s being held against players of this time period. Guerrero has some great stats, but I don’t know how they compare to others already inducted (future article on this).

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New York Yankees and Baltimore O’s Tied For First Place Sun, 30 Sep 2012 10:38:06 +0000 Arguably, the most overachieving team in the MLB this year is now tied for first. Not too long ago, the Yankees was 10.5 games on top of the division. If it wasn’t for the Red Sox epic collapse last year, the Yankees, if they don’t pull this off, might have went down as the worst one of the last two decades.

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Cincinnati Reds’ Homer Bailey Throws No-Hitter Versus The Pirates Sat, 29 Sep 2012 19:50:11 +0000 Bailey went into the game hoping for a good performance. He must have exceeded his expectations as he threw the 7th no-hitter this year. “I looked up at the scoreboard (after the fifth inning) to see if I had hit 200 and saw a couple of zeros,” Bailey said. “That’s when I knew I had a chance at a no-hitter. It’s not something you think about doing.”, said Bailey.

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Images of McFarlane SportsPicks Series 30 Released (Brian Wilson, Albert Pujols, Justin Verlander & More) Tue, 01 May 2012 19:20:19 +0000 From

MLB Series 30 comes out swinging with familiar faces in new places…And we have the images to back it up! This off season was a wild ride as the top two free agents available switched teams, tilting the balance of power in the NL and AL.

Albert Pujols, the 3-time MVP, and 2-time World Series ® Champion, took his talents to the golden state and can be seen with a new pose in his Angels uniform.

The other monster free agent, Prince Fielder, followed in his father’s footsteps to Detroit Rock City. One of the most prolific home run hitters in the game today is featured in his brand new Tigers jersey swinging for the fences.

MLB 30 also brings back two boppers from the north east with all new poses. Jacoby Ellsbury is featured for the second time after he posted a fantastic 2011 season for the Red Sox which saw him bat .321, with 32 home runs, 105 RBI’s, and 39 stolen bases.

Curtis Granderson, the Yankees All-Star Center Fielder, turned in the best season of his career in 2011, slamming 41 home runs and knocking in 119 RBI’s.

No line would be complete without some flamethrowers, and MLB 30 features two of the best: Justin Verlander , the 2011 AL Cy Young and MVP award winner is featured in an all new pose.

And then there’s Brian ‘The Beard’ Wilson, one of the best closers, and quirkiest players, in MLB. ‘The Beard’s’ Sports Pick Debut can be seen in his signature save celebration: arms crossed, looking towards the sky.

This line also contains a special chase figure of Jose Bautista. This is the Sports Pick Debut for Bautista, the hard hitting Toronto Blue Jay, who led the league in home runs for 2 consecutive years. That marked the first time this feat has been accomplished since Mark McGwire did so in 1998-1999. Bautista also set the all-time Major League record for the most All-Star votes received by a single player through fan balloting, surpassing the previous record set by Seattle’s Ken Griffey, Jr.

Be sure to be on the lookout for special Collector Level pieces of Granderson in his ’09 Tigers jersey, Pujols in his Cardinals uniform, and Wilson in his Giants orange jersey.

Also included in the images below is the Blue jersey Jose Bautista, which will be exclusive to McFarlane Collector’s Club Store×120.jpg

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Review: Nickelodeon Nicktoons MLB 3D (Nintendo 3DS) Sat, 17 Mar 2012 01:50:48 +0000 Nickelodeon Nicktoons MLB 3D
Developer: Black Lantern Studios, Inc.
Publisher: 2K Play
Genre: Arcade Sports
Release Date: 03/06/2012

March 6th is a pretty big day for gamers. For some, it’s Mass Effect 3 day. For others it’s Street Fighter X Tekken day. But for a lot of other gamers – it’s Baseball day. It’s the day MLB: The Show ’12 hits for the Sony Playstation 3 and Playstation Vita. It’s also the day 2K Sports releases MLB 2k12 for the PS2, PSP, Nintendo DS, Wii, Xbox 360 and the PS3. However between both those games, one major system is overlooked. That’s right – the Nintendo 3DS. Why 2K Games decided to give the PS2 (in fact MLB 2k12 is the last official release for the venerable system) and PSP versions, but not the 3DS (ESPECIALLY with a DS version) is beyond me. Don’t worry though baseball fans, where 2K Sports lets 3DS owners down, 2K Play saves the day with Nickelodeon Nicktoons MLB 3D. This double licensed arcade baseball game is the first North American baseball game for the Nintendo 3DS. Sure, some gamers might shudder at the idea of using Ren Hoek or Jimmy Neutron in their starting lineup instead of real baseball players, but true baseball fans still hold games like Baseball Stars, Base Wars and Baseball Simulator 1.000 as some of the best baseball titles ever – and they were far from SERIOUS BUSINESS. Hell, none of them even had the MLB license… which this game does. So is the pairing of Nicktoons characters and Major League Baseball a surprisingly entertaining matchup, or is the end result a weird game that will appeal to neither prospective audience?

Let’s Review

1. Modes

Despite the inclusion of Nicktoons characters, this is a pretty straightforward baseball game. Here’s a list of all the modes.

1. Quick Play. This automatically starts up a game with random teams for both sides, a random ballpark and random settings.

2. Single Game. This is similar to the above, but you choose everything. No randomness at all.

3. Season. You play through a full MLB season with your chosen team.

4. Tournament. This is a bracket tournament similar to the ALCS/NLCS playoffs at the end of the season. You can set it up to be a best of 3, 5 or 7 game series.

5. Showdown. Here you create and play as either an all-star MLB team or an all Nicktoons team in a face off to see which is the best

6. Mini Games. You have three possible mini games. The first is “Distance Derby” which is a home run derby. The second is “Rock ‘N Roll” where you hit baseballs into boulders to protect some brick walls. It sounds weird, but it’s a cute way to practice aiming your hits. Finally, there is “Frosty Freeze Toss” which requires the use of an AR card that comes with the package. This game has you huck a ball at a stack of cups. You get three tries per level to knock all the cups down. Again, a cute little mini-game to let you do something other than traditional baseball.

Besides all of this, you can collect “cards” based on actions you take, such as pitching a perfect inning, getting thirty home runs, picking off five runners, things like that. The cards don’t do anything in particular, but it’s cute to have.

All in all, Nicktoons MLB 3D offers a lot of the same modes that you would expect to find in a more straight-laced baseball game. It doesn’t keep track of season stats, batting averages, or even how a player has done in the current game, but what’s here is pretty decent. I’d have liked for the season mode to be a little more robust and the ability to keep track of stats. I could do it in other arcade baseball titles since the NES, so I know it was possible to do it here. All in all, though, I’m fine with what’s here. Could it have been better? Sure, but it has the most important modes and that’s what is important.

Modes Rating: Decent

2. Graphics

Nicktoons MLB 3D is pretty much a straight port of the DS version of the game that came out in September 2011. As such, the graphics aren’t that great. Character models tend to be a bit jaggy and/or pixilated, and there does seem to be the occasional burst of slowdown. At least all the Nickelodeon based characters look like they should, and children will be able to recognize their favorites. It’s cute to see Stimpson J. Cat or Aang from Avatar in baseball uniforms. The animation of all these very different looking characters is pretty nice, and although the game doesn’t really push the 3DS’ graphical capabilities, the Nicktoons will make kids of all ages happy.

The actual MLB players are a different story. Everyone looks exactly alike, with only the color of the uniform changing based on what team you are playing as. There’s no height or stance difference on any of them. It’s odd that the actual MLB players are an afterthought, which has me wondering why they didn’t just make a pure Nicktoons arcade baseball game. Black Lantern didn’t skimp on the stadiums though. Each authentic MLB stadium looks as it should (for a handheld game that is) and you can definitely tell them apart. The game even throws in some made up “Nicktoons” style stadiums as well, which is a cute idea.

All in all, while Nicktoons MLB 3D isn’t visually impressive for a 3DS game, you can still make out all the characters and the game looks like a baseball title, which is all one really needs. I can tell where the ball is, who my players are and what stadium I am in. Much like the modes, Black Lantern could have easily done more, but instead they decided to play it safe with a straight port.

Graphics Rating: Below Average

3. Sound

All of the Nicktoons have voice acting. You’ll hear clips when they come to bat, hit a home run or strike out. Unfortunately, not all of the actors in the game are the original voice actors. Ren & Stimpy are played by completely different actors, and it’s pretty obvious. What’s odd is that they did this when they could have just taken clips from the actual cartoon that were appropriate like, “I’m so angry!” for Ren. I bring this up because it’s exactly what they did for GiR from Invader Zim, who is your co-announcer for play by play (although he only talks in-between and at the end of innings). Rosearik Rikki Simons doesn’t have any new lines of dialogue recorded for the game – it’s just classic GiR bits – so why they didn’t do that for some of the other characters where they couldn’t get the real voice actors is beyond me.

Perch Perkins from Spongebob Squarepants is the main play by play announcer for the game. The voice actor does a good job, but there’s just not enough dialogue recorded for him. Because of that, he gets annoying fast. If Gir gave a few lines in-game or Perch had a few more lines recorded, it would have been a lot better. After only two games I had heard all Perch had to say. Partway through a tournament, I had to turn him off.

The actual baseball sounds are spot on. The crack of the bat, the sliding into home, the roar of the crowd and more are all exactly what you’d want from a baseball game. They help Nicktoons MLB 3D to come alive and really feel like there’s a baseball game going on.

Like much of Nicktoons MLB 3D, you know that Black Lantern could have done more with the aural aspect. They could have recorded some more lines and they could have used clips of the actual characters they weren’t able to get similar to what they did with GiR. All in all, fans of the cartoons will be really happy with the voice acting while those that don’t know the characters will find the repetition gets old fast.

Sound Rating: Decent

4. Control and Gameplay

I have to admit, I tend to prefer the arcade baseball games to the current incarnations of The Show and MLB 2k12. I’d rather play something like MLB Power Pros that has arcade speed, yet still keeps track of stats and how you are doing. In this regard, I was really happy with Nicktoons MLB 3D, as it played like a classic arcade baseball game from the 8 or 16 bit era and gave me exactly what I needed. There weren’t any weird shenanigans going on like in Mario Baseball. It was just straight up baseball.

When on offensive, you have a button for regular hitting, power hitting and bunting. You use the d-pad to help aim the shot. On defense, each button corresponds to a different pitch. Once you pick your pitch you hold the button down to raise the power meter of the pitch. The higher the meter, the faster and more accurate the pitch. When fielding, each of the four buttons corresponds to a base. As the buttons on the 3DS are laid out like a baseball field, it’s pretty instinctual what button you press to throw where. It’s all very nicely done.

When you pick a team, half the players are real MLB players and the other half are Nicktoons characters you pick from twenty-five playable characters. The MLB characters are set in stone, as are what positions must be filled by a Nicktoon. So for example, the Phillies will always need a Nicktoon pitcher. This may annoy some purists that can’t have a full team of one or the other, but then that’s what “Showdown” mode is for.

Teams and players are rated in four categories on a scale from 1 to 4, with four being the best. The categories are pitching/throwing speed, fielding, hitting and running. You’ll be able to see the team quality when you pick them and each individual Nicktoon when you look at them, but there isn’t a way to see each MLB player until your lineup shows up. While this isn’t the best way to do things, the MLB players are set in stone so it’s not like you have much control over them anyway.

One thing I’ve noticed you can’t do in Nicktoons MLB 3D is make substitutions with pitchers, base runners and hitters. I’m fine with that, as its arcade baseball and so there’s not fatigue to any or you players (or injuries!), but it is something a lot of gamers will probably wish was here.

The only gimmick to the gameplay is the turbo meter. This slowly fills up as you play from doing things like hitting a home run, stealing a base, catching a fly ball, getting a double or triple play and more. Once you’ve filled the meter, you can activate turbo. Turbo while hitting gives you a guaranteed home run if you connect with the ball, while turbo on a pitch gives you a guaranteed strike out. This is optional, and I’m glad of that, so if you want a more realistic baseball game, you don’t have to use it. As well, if you’re playing a multiplayer game and one player is much better than the other, the better player can give a gentleman’s agreement not to use turbo and let the other player use it to help them out. See also: parents vs. their kids.

Overall, Nicktoons MLB 3D is a lot of fun to play. As my ONLY baseball option for the 3DS, I’m fine with what’s here. It’s a decent little game and the controls are solid. At only $29.99, it’s not a bad buy for those hungry for baseball. Plus hey, Powdered Toast Man in 3D.

Control and Gameplay Rating: Good

5. Replayability

With the full lineup of MLB teams, the ability to play an entire season of baseball AND the ability to customize your team with twenty-seven Nicktoons characters means you can spend a lot of time with this game if you want to. Sure, it should probably have a few more Nicktoons, ESPECIALLY for season mode, but hey, this version has two exclusive characters when compared to the 360, Wii and DS versions of the game. You get Jimmy Neutron and Hiro Mightypaw. The latter is from some Nickelodeon MMO. Why they didn’t include a Rugrat, Doug or someone from Hey, Arnold is beyond me. Maybe even someone more recent that kids would know as well?

I’ve played a lot of games on Nicktoons MLB 3D so far, including exhibitions, tournaments and even a few season games. I can honestly see myself playing this somewhat regularly. The novelty of the Nicktoons hasn’t worn off yet and it’s close enough to something like RBI Baseball that I can enjoy it for what it is, even while the critic part of me knows the game is a little content light. Still, Nicktoons MLB 3D is going to remain in my 3DS on and off for some time. After all it’s your only baseball option for the system.

Replayability Rating: Good

6. Balance

Nicktoons MLB 3D offers three difficulty settings: Rookie, Pro and All-Star, and believe me, there is a world of difference between all three. On Rookie my closest game was 12-0 and my highest was 32-0. On Pro I still never lost but the CPU managed to score on me. On All-Star, games were close. Now I’ve been playing baseball games since the days of the 2600, so arcade style baseball games are pretty easy to me. Still, I was impressed by how different the CPU played with each difficulty setting, and younger or less experienced gamers will probably have a field day with this.

You have a great deal of control over where you put the ball, both in regards to pitching and hitting. I also love that the L trigger automatically moves you to the player closest to the ball when you are on defense. About the only thing I don’t like is if you try to steal with more than one man on base, all the base runners will try. That’s a little weird.

If you’re looking for a solid arcade baseball title, Nicktoons MLB 3D really isn’t a bad choice, especially if you’re looking for a portable MLB licensed game, or more specifically, a baseball title of any kind for your 3DS. It might not give vets of the genre a challenge, but you will have to adjust your style for each difficulty setting.

Balance Rating: Good

7. Originality

Arcade baseball games are a dime a dozen, and Nicktoons MLB 3D is no exception. It also doesn’t help that this game is a port of the regular DS version that came out roughly six months ago. That doesn’t mean there aren’t some new things. We have two new Nicktoons characters in the game, as well as an added AR Mini-game. Nicktoons MLB 3D is also the first baseball game for the 3DS and the only one I can think of in 3D. I did a quick check to see if any of the ones for the PS3 were in 3D, but nope, Nicktoons MLB 3D gets to claim that crown.

So in some ways,Nicktoons MLB 3D is innovative and the first to do a few things, while in others, it’s just one in a long line of arcade baseball titles that look and play quite similar to each other. Let’s call it a push here.

Originality Rating: Mediocre

8. Addictiveness

I’m not really a fan of “Nicktoons” per say. I liked Ren & Stimpy when I was in high school, but that was nearly twenty years ago. Invader Zim was cute, but highly overrated, and the goth community just beat that horse to death, raised it to undeath and then beat it back down again. That said, I really enjoyed my time with this game. Sure, it’s not the best arcade baseball game ever, and it’s a bit bare bones, but it’s still fun and it’s definitely sated my desire for a new baseball game after watching Spring Training games on MLB.TV

Nicktoons MLB 3D is a nice straight forward baseball game that’s fun to play. It didn’t need the MLB license, but as 2K had it, it makes sense to get all they can out of it, especially since they’ve talked about not renewing it. I enjoyed using real players and parks alongside cartoon characters. I’m a sucker for the surreal, and it was a lot of fun seeing Invader Zim as a master base stealer, even if he wasn’t very good at taking over the Earth. Like most baseball games, you can’t really play several games in a row without getting burned out and trying to do nothing but a season mode without any other games to break things up is sheer madness, but what’s here is fun and that’s what matters.

Addictiveness Rating: Enjoyable

9. Appeal Factor

I’m a bit curious about what the character selection process was for this game. I get Avatar and Spongebob Squarepants, as they’re still popular with really young kids and even some adults. Danny Phantom and Jimmy Neutron make sense along the same lines, albeit to a lesser extent. I’ve never heard of T.U.F.F. Puppy, Monkey Quest Fanboy & Chum Chum and Planet Sheen, and I’m pretty much on the pulse of what kids today find hip thanks to my interest in Pokemon, Bakugan and the like. I did a quick look of what is currently considered a Nicktoon and wow. They have Voltron, Dragon Ball Z, Iron Man, Monsumo and more as Nicktoons. They really should have used some of those characters. That would have helped the game get more attention as well as sell a few more copies. Seriously, I’d take Lance, Pidge or Tony Stark over whoever Dudley Puppy is supposed to be any day. I also get why they put in characters from Ren & Stimpy and Invader Zim, even though they haven’t been “Nicktoons” for a loooong time. It’s so that parents or older gamers have the classic Nicktoon characters they grew up with. So little Sally or Billy can use the characters from their generation while their parent can use the Nicktoons that were around when they were kids.

The question that remains, though, is… who is the target audience for this? When the 360/Wii/DS version of the game was released, it was all but ignored by gaming journalism. I still haven’t found a review of the Wii version ANYWHERE. Part of me honestly is curious as to whether 2K made the game simply because they had both licenses lying around and they wanted to get some more money out of them. Granted, the game plays very well, but the original release of the game didn’t do very well, and this new 3DS version is hitting the same day as MLB 2k12 and The Show. It’s going to be missed all over again… or will it? After all, it’s the only baseball game for the 3DS, and I noticed it enough to ask 2K Play to send me a review copy (which they happily supplied), so there definitely has to be an audience out there for it. Is it one willing to pay $29.99 when the DS version is only $9.99 new right now? I’m not sure. Two new characters and an AR Mini games aren’t exactly going to get some parents to pay for a 3D version when they see a regular version for twenty bucks less.

Baseball is popular; there’s no denying that. Nicktoons are popular as well. The two together though? I’m not so sure. At least Nicktoons MLB 3D has a monopoly on the baseball genre for at least a year, so that’s definitely going to help drive people to the game, even if they could care less about Avatar or Ren & Stimpy. Let’s call it a thumb’s in the middle here as I’m actually very intrigued about how this game will do.

Appeal Factor: Mediocre

10. Miscellaneous

So if you’ve made it this far, you’re probably curious about what Nicktoons characters are available to use. Here’s a rundown for you.

From Avatar: The Last Airbender: Aang, Katara, Toph and Zuko.

From Danny Phantom: Danny Phantom.

From Fanboy & Chum Chum: Fanboy & Chum Chum.

From Invader Zim: Zim and Gaz.

From Jimmy Neutron Jimmy Neutron.

From Monkey Quest: Hiro Mightypaw.

From Planet Sheen: Sheen Estevez, Ultra Lord and Mr. Nesmith.

From Spongebob Squarepants: Spongebob Squarepants, the Flying Dutchman, Larry the Lobster, Sandy Cheeks and Patrick Star.

From Ren & Stimpy: Ren Hoek, Stimpson J. Cat, Powdered Toast Man and a Yak.

From T.U.F.F. Puppy: Duddley Puppy & Kitty Katswell.

All in all, twenty-seven characters from ten cartoons isn’t bad. I’m still a bit surprised there are four characters from Ren & Stimpy since it’s been off Nickelodeon for well over a decade, but as I loved the characters as a kid, I’m not complaining.

Overall, you’ve got a good cast here, and I’m glad to see the 3DS FINALLY get a baseball game. I am a bit worried that the DS version’s current price tag of only $9.99 and releasing the game on the same day as The Show and MLB 2k12 is going to be too much of an uphill battle for Nicktoons MLB 3D, but it really is a fun arcade baseball game. Even if you do go for the DS version instead, you might find the overall product lacking a few options that other arcade baseball games might have, but you’ll still have fun with the game as it sports a pretty solid baseball engine.

Miscellaneous Rating: Decent

The Scores:
Modes: Decent
Graphics: Below Average
Sound: Decent
Control and Gameplay: Good
Replayability: Good
Balance: Good
Originality: Mediocre
Addictiveness: Enjoyable
Appeal Factor: Mediocre
Miscellaneous: Decent
FINAL SCORE: Above Average Game!

Short Attention Span Summary
Nickelodeon Nicktoons MLB 3D is a surprisingly fun mashup of classic Nickelodeon cartoon characters and the MLB license. The engine is a very solid one and it plays like most arcade baseball titles. The graphics are a little weak, as it’s mostly a straight port of the DS version, and the commentary can get annoying, as there is very little voice acting recorded for it, but if you’re looking for a nice little baseball title for your 3DS, you’ve got one right here. Of course, it’s the only option for the system, so it’s a good thing the game is a decently made one. Baseball purists might be mad that you have to have Nicktoons on your team and that only about half of each MLB team’s roster is in the game, but then that’s not the target market here. I myself would have liked to had the ability to track stats and make lineup changes once the game is in session, but what’s here should sate baseball fans until something better finally comes along for the system.×120.jpg

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Tattoos & Touchdowns [Podcast]: From Pujols to LinSanity (Albert Pujols, Jeremy Lin, NY Knicks, Anaheim Angels) Mon, 27 Feb 2012 07:23:34 +0000

Welcome to the Tattoos & Touchdowns podcast!

In this week’s episode, the issues of Albert Pujols in California and the Jeremy LinSANITY in New York are the top topics.

Check it out now!×120.jpg

]]> 0 Albert Pujols,Basketball,MLB,New York Knicks In this week's episode, the issues of Albert Pujols in California and the Jeremy LinSANITY in New York are the top topics. In this week's episode, the issues of Albert Pujols in California and the Jeremy LinSANITY in New York are the top topics. Inside Pulse no 25:39
TOY FAIR 2012: McFarlane SportsPicks Tue, 14 Feb 2012 01:38:55 +0000 Check out the SportsPicks gallery below from Toy Fair!

The only new figures shown were MLB 29. Plenty of playmakers were also shown, along with the current wave of NFL, NHL & NBA.

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Recent Baseball Deaths—Part III Sat, 26 Nov 2011 17:00:44 +0000 Here’s the final installment, for now, of my Recent Baseball Deaths series, chronicling those Major League Baseball passings that have occurred within the past couple months. See here for Part I and here for Part II.

Jesse Jefferson – Died September 8, aged 62
Position: Pitcher
Teams: Baltimore Orioles (1973-1975), Chicago White Sox (1975-1976), Toronto Blue Jays (1977-1980), Pittsburgh Pirates (1980), California Angels (1981)
Notes: Went 39-81 with a 4.81 ERA in nine-year career…best season was 1981—in 77 innings, he had a 3.62 ERA…completed nine games in 1978…won 40 games at minor league level

Bill Taylor – Died September 15, aged 81
Position: Outfielder
New York Giants (1954-1957), Detroit Tigers (1957-1958)
Hit .237 with seven home runs and 26 RBI in five-year career…slugged .516 for Giants in 1955…hit .348 for Tigers in 1957 and .375 for Tigers in 1958…hit .311 with 186 home runs in minors

Danny Litwhiler – Died September 23, aged 95
Position: Leftfielder
Teams: Philadelphia Phillies (1940-1943), St. Louis Cardinals (1944, 1946), Boston Braves (1946-1948), Cincinnati Reds (1948-1951)
Notes: Hit .281 with 107 home runs and 451 RBI in 11-year career…1942 All-Star…oldest former Red and Philadelphia Blue Jay at the time of his passing…fought in World War II…first big league outfielder to play 150-plus games without an error

Eddie Bockman – Died September 29, aged 91
Position: Third baseman
Teams: New York Yankees (1946), Cleveland Indians (1947), Pittsburgh Pirates (1948-1949)
Notes: Hit .230 with 11 home runs and 56 RBI in four-year career…traded for Dutch Meyer in 1946…managed in minor leagues for four years…scouted for Philadelphia Phillies, signing Bob Boone and Larry Bowa

Johnny Schmitz – Died October 1, aged 90
Position: Pitcher
Chicago Cubs (1941-1942, 1946-1951), Brooklyn Dodgers (1951-1952), New York Yankees (1952, 1953), Cincinnati Reds (1952), Washington Senators (1953-1955), Boston Red Sox (1956), Baltimore Orioles (1956)
Notes: Went 93-114 with a 3.55 ERA in 13-year career…All-Star in 1946 and 1948…won at least 10 games six times, at least 15 games once…threw only one pitch in major league debut…wore a single-digit number in 1941, a rarity for a pitcher

John Romonosky – Died October 2, aged 82
Position: Pitcher
Teams: St. Louis Cardinals (1953), Washington Senators (1958-1959)
Notes: Went 3-4 with 5.15 ERA in 32 big league games…decent hitter, posted .231 batting average…best year was 1959—he went 1-0 with a 3.29 ERA in 12 games…fought in Korean War

Ralph Hodgin – Died October 4, aged 96
Position: Outfielder/third baseman
Boston Braves (1939), Chicago White Sox (1943-1944, 1946-1948)
Hit .285 with four home runs and 188 RBI in six-year career…White Sox’ starting third baseman in 1943 and 1944…struck out only 63 times in 1,689 at-bats (26.8 AB/K)…played in minors for 16 seasons, hitting .307 with 2,148 hits

Cy Buker – Died October 11, aged 92
Position: Pitcher
Brooklyn Dodgers (1945)
Went 7-2 with a 3.30 ERA in 42 games in only big league season…won 42 games at minor league level…played eight years in minors…served in American military during World War II, but was discharged due to asthma

Don Williams – Died October 16, aged 80
Position: Pitcher
Teams: Pittsburgh Pirates (1958-1959), Kansas City Athletics (1962)
Went 0-0 with a 7.20 ERA in 11 big league games…identical twin brother Dewie played in minor leagues…fought during Korean War…went 66-45 in nine minor league seasons

Merritt Ranew – Died October 18, aged 73
Position: Catcher
Houston Colt .45s (1962), Chicago Cubs (1963-1964), Milwaukee Braves (1964), California Angels (1965), Seattle Pilots (1969)
Notes: Hit .247 with eight home runs and 54 RBI in five-year career…hit .338 in 78 games in 1963…spent 14 years in minors, hitting .286 with 915 hits…hit .340 or better twice at minor league level

Roy Smalley – Died October 22, aged 85
Chicago Cubs (1948-1953), Milwaukee Braves (1954), Philadelphia Phillies (1955-1958)
Notes: Hit .227 with 61 home runs and 305 RBI in 11-year career…slugged 21 dingers for Cubs in 1950…traded for pitcher Dave Cole in 1954…replaced by Hall of Fame shortstop Ernie Banks…managed in the minors

Bert Cueto – Died October 25, aged 74
Position: Pitcher
Teams: Minnesota Twins (1961)
Notes: Went 1-3 with 7.17 ERA in seven games…first four batters he faced were all studs: Luis Aparicio, Nellie Fox, Minnie Minoso and Roy Sievers in that order…first six batters he faced were all All-Stars at one point

Dave Cole – Died October 26, aged 81
Position: Pitcher
Teams: Boston Braves (1950-1952), Milwaukee Braves (1953), Chicago Cubs (1954), Philadelphia Phillies (1955)
Went 6-18 with a 4.93 ERA in six-year career…posted 1.13 ERA in first big league stint… hit .230 with three home runs in 61 at-bats…pitched six years in minors, winning 32 games

Ricky Adams – Died October 28, aged 52
Position: Infielder
Teams: California Angels (1982-1983), San Francisco Giants (1985)
Notes: Hit .215 with four home runs and 16 RBI in 120 games…best year was arguably 1983, when he hit .250 in 58 games…spent 11 years in the minors, hitting .276…hit over .300 at minor league level three times

Mickey Scott – Died October 30, aged 64
Position: Relief pitcher
Teams: Baltimore Orioles (1972-1973), Montreal Expos (1973), California Angels (1975-1977)
Notes: Went 8-7 with a 3.72 ERA in 133 appearances…never started a game at big league level…posted 2.74 ERA in first season, 3.27 mark between 1975 and 1976…spent nine years in minors, going 60-32 with a 3.20 ERA

Houston Astros prospect Dustin Kellogg, All-American Girls Professional League player Joan Jaykowski, Cincinnati Reds owner Carl Lindner and Negro Leaguers Bill “Ready” Cash and Sonny Smith passed away recently as well.

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Major League Baseball & Union Agree To Five-Year Deal Tue, 22 Nov 2011 21:55:18 +0000 Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association have reached a preliminary agreement on a new Basic Agreement. The five-year deal was officially announced on Tuesday afternoon at a news conference.

The new deal through the 2016 season gives MLB a span of 21 years of labor peace since the strike-shortened 1994 season and delayed start of the ’95 season. The current CBA, which was signed without any rancor in 2006, was set to expire on Dec. 11. The new agreement needs to be formalized in writing and ratified independently by the players and owners.

“I am thrilled for the fans that the clubs and the players of Major League Baseball, together, have the opportunity to further build on our game’s unprecedented popularity,” Commissioner Bud Selig said. “Labor peace has proven essential to the best interests of baseball and its millions of fans, who have attended our ballparks in historic numbers over the last eight years.

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