Eighteen years ago, out in the middle of the Indian Ocean, a baseball prodigy entered the mortal plane. Zippy Dachemlow, born a proper son of Cthulhu, was reared in the hull of the USS Jimmy Carter with the sole purpose of taking over Major League Baseball. Armed with a small satchel of beef jerky and vague instructions from his government, Zippy arrived at the MLB Topps Showcase to enter the 2018 draft. However, there was one issue: no one on board the Carter knew anything about baseball. Using MLB: The Show 18 for the PS4, let’s take a journey with baseball’s most confused prospect and discover “Life without a Fastball.”
Standing at a 6’10” 180 pounds, Zippy Dachemlow is already a unique sight to behold on the ball field. But lanky beanpole status aside, Zippy has another strange baseball trait: he doesn’t know how to throw a fastball. Apparently the documents on board the government’s secret submarine didn’t include an old Spalding’s Guide to Baseball so Zippy’s got his work cut out for him. After quickly reading through a discarded scorebook and instructional guide in the scouting office’s restroom, Zippy settled on his three pitch repertoire.
MLB 18’s “Road to Show” career mode went under a much needed overhaul for this season. Blasting each of the player’s attributes to 99 with micro-transactions is no longer encouraged nor even possible. This year thankfully, more attention needs to be given to the play on the field, and your decisions to attributes are more narrow. This will suit Zippy just fine, as he’s going to need to take the first few seasons to learn the game as it is. After meeting with the scouts for the first time, Zippy reluctantly chose his play style.
All of that out of the way, Zippy is finally ready to take the field. Being born “at sea” apparently makes you part of the “International” region following MLB’s rules, so now it’s Zippy’s turn to take a few practice pitches. Doing his best impression of what he’s seen in the other boys, Zippy stands tall, winds his right arm into a windmill and hurls what he hopes is an acceptable pitch. The scouts all huddle around the speed guns, knowing that a 6’10” frame could produce some serious velocity. Before their eyes the gun flashes: “69 mph.” As Zippy confidently walks off the field, the veteran scouts are all left scratching their heads. All that remains are the two Topps Prospect games before draft week.
Somehow, Mr. Dachemlow is giving a starting role in both his prospect game appearances, despite never having seen a ball field in his life. With a poorly fitting uniform and a borrowed glove from another prospect, Zippy takes to the mound for his first start. After his catcher turns Zippy to face the correct direction to home plate, the first pitch is called for and delivered. As the softly tossed balls float to Home Plate, the young opposing prospects make solid contact, quickly giving up Zippy’s first base-hit, and then another. Zippy seems pleased with the outcome so far, sharing a smile with the opposing players as they celebrate getting on base. His catcher meets him on the mound, yelling profanities the likes of which he never heard on board the Carter. With this exchange Zippy has learned his first and most important lesson, “don’t let the other boys stand on the white squares.” With a new competitive edge, Zippy starts to notice his catcher point to where he wants the ball thrown, and tries his best to comply. After a rough first inning, Zippy rallies and even records a strikeout in his first (unofficial) game of work. Maybe this baseball thing is easy after-all.
In Zippy’s second and final prospect game, one of his Forkballs is met with a stunning crack of the bat, and the ball sails up and away in a manner Zippy finds quite curious. Before the batter reaches first base, the tiny white dot clears the scoreboard and the batter trots and swaggers with an even more curious bravado. Zippy is confused at this ritual, and attempts his own offering to this supposed rite of baseball.
After another solitary earned run outing over 3 innings played, Zippy heads back to his hotel room and awaits for news from his scouts regarding his future. On day two of the draft, during the 23rd round, Zippy receives a correspondence from a group of baseballers living in an unheard of land called “Canada.”
How will Zippy perform when the games count and the grandstands are full? Check back with us next time as we investigate “Life Without a Fastball.”
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