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Thursday, March 7, 2013
'MLB 13' captures little things in a big way

By Jon Robinson

Buster Posey
Buster Posey and the San Francisco Giants played for the World Series in our "MLB 13" simulation.
Santiago Casilla throws a wicked two-seam fastball that’s smacked back up the middle. Casilla, who falls toward first base after his pitch, rotates his glove behind his back, catches it, and then spins completely around to make the throw to first.

Did I mention the bases were loaded with two outs in Game 1 of the World Series?

This is “MLB 13: The Show” in a nutshell, a game that provides some of the greatest moments I can remember in virtual baseball history.

I’m playing as the Giants through the game’s new Postseason mode -- a feature that jumps you straight into the playoffs, even enabling you to customize the teams and number of games you want to play per series -- and the variety of hits and hops I’ve already seen has been simply staggering.

I saw Lance Berkman dive to snare a wicked one-hopper in the gap between first and second, roll on his back and flip the ball to the pitcher who was running to cover the bag.

I attempted to drag a bunt down the third base line while stealing third, and the computer pitcher fielded the bunt, faked the throw to first, then threw back to third, catching me completely off guard rounding the base, and I was tagged out diving back to third by a brilliant sweep tag.

Later, trying to stretch a double into a triple, the throw from the outfield came in high and off the bag to Adrian Beltre, but Beltre made an incredible jumping catch, then staggered back to the base, making a crazy diving tag that just nipped the head-first slide of Brandon Crawford.

I’ve also seen some awesome trademark D from the likes of the Reds’ Brandon Phillips, who backhanded a ball up the middle, leapt into the air and threw the ball across his body to gun the runner out at first on one play. Then, he helped turn an incredible double play a few innings later, again going up the middle, flipping the ball back out of his glove to the shortstop who then threw to first to complete the play.

Needless to say, I’m addicted, and it just shows the great lengths Sony goes to capture all of the little things that make for a truly memorable gaming experience.

The Show cover
"MLB 13: The Show" hit shelves on Tuesday.
Tim Lincecum took a laser line drive off his shin with a runner at third, and the ball ricocheted back toward the plate. Lincecum picked up the ball and gunned it to Buster Posey just in time to get the diving runner at home. The camera then focused in on Timmy (with short hair) as he limped around the mound with a goofy look on his face, like, “Yeah, I know I’m a video game character, but even I know that was pretty sweet.”

I gave up a home run to the Reds, and then decided to take out my frustration on Joey Votto with a little chin music. I missed his dome, but virtual Votto was so mad, he started pointing at Matt Cain, which caused Posey to get in the middle and play peacekeeper, even catching a little shove for his efforts.

Speaking of Cain, I hit a home run with the big right-hander to help pull out the NLCS (there are a lot more home runs in the game this year), a crazy game that featured -- you guessed it -- another crazy defensive play.

Up by two with runners on first and third and one out, a high hopper was hit to Pablo Sandoval. I rushed my throw to second in hopes of getting the double play, but the throw was off target, causing Crawford to make an incredible jumping catch to save the ball from flying into the outfield. After making the catch, Crawford still attempted to beat the runner to second, stepping on the base, then leaping over the sliding runner while firing the ball to first. Everyone was safe, but it was an awesome attempt nonetheless.

Crawford was also involved in one of the clinching plays of the World Series against the Rangers. In Game 7, I executed a suicide squeeze with the game tied at three. Hunter Pence was on third and came charging down the line as Crawford dropped down a perfect bunt. The pitcher got to the ball, but it was too late to get Pence, and by the time the computer player threw back to first, the play appeared to be a tie with Crawford touching the bag just as the ball hit Berkman’s glove. The umpire hesitated for a second, and Crawford started making the safe sign as he continued to run down the line. The umpire agreed, the San Francisco crowd exploded in cheers, and the Giants went on to win their third World Series in four seasons, thanks to “The Show.”

Sergio Romo closed things out for San Francisco, who celebrated the win by pumping his fists (no Gangnam Style, sorry), then Posey not only jumped on Romo, he straight up did a flying tackle of the closer, with the rest of the Giants piling on in celebration. A few seconds later, Gregor Blanco is shown celebrating with the World Series trophy and holding it high over his head (Blanco was a terror on the bases and hit .475 in the Series, in case you were wondering why he’s the one holding the hardware).

Awesome finish to a truly awesome game.