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    FAQ by cairo140

    Version: 0.65 | Updated: 02/07/04 | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

    Microsoft Windows (Released 2003) (North America)
    Strategy Guide
    Written my Steven (cairo140) Xu. cairo140@rogers.com.
    Document Copyright 2003 Steven Xu. All Rights Reserved.
    1 - Introduction
         1a - Opening Words
         1b - What I'm Not Going To Talk About
    2 - Controller Configurations
    3 - Basic Knowledge
         3a - Objective of Baseball
         3b - Positions
         3c - 10 Basic Rules
         3d - MLB Scheduele
         3e - Summary
    4 - Basic In-Game Gameplay
         4a - Pitching
         4b - Hitting
         4c - Baserunning
         4d - Fielding and Throwing
    5 - The Philosophy of Point Differential
         5a - When You're Behind
         5b - When It's Tied
         5c - When You're Ahead
         5d - When You're In Extras
    6 - Advanced In-Game Gameplay
         6a - Pitching
              6a1 - Pitch Selection
              6a2 - Pickoffs
              6a3 - Dealing With Fatigue
              6a4 - The Bullpen
         6b - Hitting
              6b1 - Full Swing Control
              6b2 - Timing
              6b3 - Situtational Hitting
              6b4 - The Hit-and-Run
         6c - Baserunning
              6c1 - The Hit-and-Run
              6c2 - Tagging Up
              6c3 - Specific Timing Plays
              6c4 - When to Let The CPU Take Over
              6c5 - Rundowns
         6d - Fielding and Throwing
              6d1 - Tagging Up
              6d2 - Where to Throw the Ball
              6d3 - Rundowns
    7 - Franchise Mode
         7a - Introduction
         7b - Team Goals and Manager Rating
         7c - Transactions
              7c1 - Trades and Free Agency
              7c2 - Dumping Salary
         7d - Roster Alignment
              7d1 - Pitching Rotation & Bullpen
              7d2 - Positions Players
              7d3 - Inactive Rosters
         7e - Postseason
         7f - Summary
    8 - Finishing Notes
    9 - Legal Notes
    1. Introduction
    1a. Opening Words
    This FAQ gives you, the reader, the opportunity to learn about the game of MVP
    Baseball 2003 along with the strategies of Baseball itself. Though the game
    does many things for you it does not do everything. This FAQ will tell you
    about the things in the game that you can control, and how to experience and
    play this game at yours and its top potential. The FAQ will cover both in-game
    play, and will talk about strategy required to operate an exciting, successful
    franchise in the "improved" franchise mode in MVP Baseball 2003. I tried to
    keep this FAQ as clean and easy to read as possible. If you have any
    suggestions, comments, or questions, feel free to contact me (see very
    beginning and end for my e-mail). Enjoy!
    NEW in version 0.60: I've added some tidbits from my own personal experience
    playing baseball to spice up this FAQ a bit. They are marked with @@@ signs.
    1b. What I'm Not Going To Talk About
    I'm not going to talk about online or network play, mainly because it's too
    complicated, there's very little to talk about, and it's not worth writing.
    Likewise, there is no section devoted to Season mode becuase I have not played
    it, and because it is too similar to franchise mode. Finally, I will not talk
    about the non-roster settings of the game.
    2. CONTROLLER CONFIGURATION (Personal Preference)
    This is merely my personal controller preference if you are using a keyboard to
    play MVP Baseball 2003. These are partially adapted from the High Heat Baseball
    series. For reference, (O) means offence, (D) means defense, (P) means
    pitching, and (B) means baserunning. R1,2,3 means runner on first, second and
    third, respectively.
    Control Function          Player 1               Player 2
    Hit to Left (O)           4 (Numpad)             A
    Hit to Right (O)          6 (Numpad)             D
    Fly Ball (O)              8 (Numpad)             W
    Ground Ball (O)           5 (Numpad)             S
    Swing (O)                 Enter (Numpad)         SpaceBar
    Bunt (O)                  + (Numpad)             B
    Control R1 (B)            3 (Numpad)             3
    Control R2 (B)            2 (Numpad)             2
    Control R3 (B)            1 (Numpad)             1
    Run to 1st (B)            6 (Numpad)             D
    Run to 2nd (B)            8 (Numpad)             W
    Run to 3rd (B)            4 (Numpad)             A
    Run to Home (B)           5 (Numpad)             S
    All Runners Advance (B)   7 (Numpad)             Q
    All Runners Retreat (B)   9 (Numpad)             E
    Slide Feet First (B)      Enter (Numpad)         SpaceBar
    Slide Head First (B)      0 (Numpad)             H (for head)
    Run Left (D)              4 (Numpad)             A     NOTE: I never use these
    Run Right (D)             6 (Numpad)             D     buttons because of
    Run Down (D)              5 (Numpad)             S     assisted fielding.
    Run Up (D)                8 (Numpad)             W
    Get the Ball to 1st (D)   3 (Numpad)             3     NOTE: "Get the ball to"
    Get the Ball to 2nd (D)   2 (Numpad)             2     is synonymous with
    Get the Ball to 3rd (D)   1 (Numpad)             1     "Throw to."
    Get the Ball to Home (D)  0 (Numpad)             4
    Cut-Off Throw (D)         . (Numpad)             `
    Aim High (P)              8 (Numpad)             W
    Aim Low (P)               5 (Numpad)             S
    Aim Right (P)             6 (Numpad)             D
    Aim Left (P)              4 (Numpad)             A
    Aim Outside (P)           . (Numpad)             `
    Pickoff (P)               0 (Numpad)             Tab
    1st Base (P)              6 (Numpad)             D
    2nd Base (P)              8 (Numpad)             W
    3rd Base (P)              4 (Numpad)             A
    Home Plate (P)            5 (Numpad)             S
    I also have the PS2 controls courtesy of BRSMannyRamirez@aol.com.
    Hit to Left               Left (with left analog stick)
    Hit to Right              Right (with left analog stick)
    Fly Ball                  Up (with left Analog Stick)
    Ground Ball               Down (with left analog stick)
    Swing                     X
    Bunt                      Hold Down right anlog stick and direct the bunt
                              with the left one.
    Control R1                R1
    Control R2                R2
    Control R3                R3
    Control L1                L1
    Control L2                L2
    Control L3                L3
    Run to 1st                Right (Dialog Pad)
    Run to 2nd                Up (Dialog Pad)
    Run to 3rd                Left (Dialog Pad)
    Run to Home               Down (Dialog Pad)
    All Runners Advance       L2
    All Runners Retreat       R2
    Slide                     X
    Run Left                  Left (using left analog stick)
    Run Right                 Right (using left analog stick)
    Run Down                  Down (using left analog stick)
    Run Up                    Up (using left analog stick)
    Get the Ball to 1st       Hold circle
    Get the Ball to 2nd       Hold triangle
    Get the Ball to 3rd       Hold square
    Get the Ball to Home      Hold X
    Cut-Off Throw             Hit L1 when it says
    Aim Pitch                 Move the analog stick to different degress
    Pickoff                   Hold L1
    1st Base                  Cirlce
    2nd Base                  Triangle
    3rd Base                  Square
    Home Plate                X (not certain)
    3a. Objective of Baseball
    Like almost all other sports, the objective is to end up with more points than
    you're opponent after 18 half-innings (9 innings). If it is tied, the game goes
    to sudden death single innings (2 half-innings each) to determine a winner. The
    game never ends without a winner (unless you have a 70-year-old commissioner in
    the house).
     That 70-year-old commish joke was about the 2002 (correct me if I'm wrong)
    World Series that went into extra innings. Both teams went out of pitchers, and
    Bud Selig (commissioner) decided to call the game, against the wishes of the
    3b. Positions
    At any given moment during a regular baseball game, there are 9 defensive
    positions. Below are brief summaries of each defensive position.
    (1) Pitcher - He is responsible for throwing the ball into or around an area
    called the strike zone next to the batter. His objective is to throw in
    accurately, and to make it difficult for the batter to hit the ball well, while
    still throwing the ball into the "hittable" zone. Speed is not a must at this
    position, but arm strength and accuracy are very important. In MVP baseball,
    like in the majors, the pitcher is in its individual category
    (not a position player), and has his own ratings based upon the way that he
    I play the pitcher and catcher in real life competitive baseball because of my
    devastating arm. But if there are any kids reading this, interested in being a
    pitcher in baseball, let me give you a fair warning... Have some ice or some
    frozen peas ready at home. I made the mistake of going one pitching outing
    without it, and even though I only threw about 30 pitches, my upper arm and
    shoulder, along with my fingers were in much pain and immobility for about 48
    hours. Major League starters find it hard enough to throw on 4 days rest even
    though they have amazing muscle relaxers and high quality arm-cooling devices
    at their disposal.
    (2) Catcher - He is one of the positions players, and crouches behind home
    plate next to and behind the batter to catch the oncoming throw from the
    pitcher. The catcher's responsibilities include throwing the ball back to the
    pitcher, covering home plate while in the field, and throwing over to a base on
    any given play in an attempt to get a baserunner out. Catchers generally don't
    have a lot of speed, but they are all excellent throwers and often good
    When a person goes up to bat, the ball doesn't appear to break much, but let me
    tell you... the ball seems like it's caught in an unpredictable hurricane on
    its way to home. Although you can easily spot the spin on the ball from the
    catcher postion, and you know exactly what pitch is coming, the ball breaks too
    much. If you've never played catcher before, and you think the breaking balls
    (slider, sinker, two-seamer, and to a lesser extent, knuckleball) break way too
    much in the game, it's because you are playing from the catcher's POV.
    One more note for the kids trying to be catchers in baseball real life out
    there... keep your eyes on the ball, no matter what. I had so much trouble
    getting and keeping the ball in my glove without my other hand to back it up
    when I started, but then, I learned how to keep my glove still, open, and
    ready. All you have to do is hold your breath AND DON'T BLINK!! for the 0.6
    seconds it takes for the ball to reach the plate.
    (3) First Baseman - He is another positions player, who stands near 1st base.
    He is responsible for covering 1st base in the field, and cutting off throws
    from the outfield (at least when there is good AI). 1st basemen are
    historically power hitters, and are generally slower runners. They must,
    however, have good fielding skills, but throwing power is not a must at the
    (4) Second Baseman - He is a position player, who often stands to the right of
    second base. He, like the shortstop, is responsible for covering 2nd base in
    the field, and he and the pitcher also need to cover 1st base on a ground ball
    hit to the 1st baseman. The second basemen, one of the two middle infielders,
    are generally contact and average hitters, instead of power hitters. Also, it
    is a huge advantage if a second baseman is right-handed.
    (5) Third Baseman - He is a position player who covers third base on a fielding
    play, and they have a very strong and accurate arm. Third basemen are generally
    the best fielders of the entire infield, though he is among the slowest.
    Historically, third basemen have been below average hitters (next to pitchers
    and catchers) in the majors.
    (6) Shortstop - He is a part of the middle infield, and is also the leader of
    the infield in general. He covers 2nd base when the 2nd baseman cannot, and he
    is responsible to cut off throws from the center fielder and the left fielder.
    Like the third baseman, the shortstop should have a great arm, along with good
    fielding skills. Additionally, he should have good range and speed to cover all
    balls hit near him.
    (7,8,9) Outfielders - Though less publicized, the outfielders should have the
    best arms and close to the best speed among the entire team. They must have
    good fielding skills because they are always the last line of defense for a
    batted ball. The left fielder is usually the worst of all three, because speed
    and throwing strength are both not extremely important. Unless you're playing
    at Fenway Park, you should put your worst outfielder (possibly best hitter)
    into left field. The center fielder, must be a very fast person because they
    have two lateral directions to move and to backup other fielders. The right
    fielder should be just as fast, but he should also have an extremely strong
    arm. Historically, right fielders have had the most devastatingly strong arms
    in the game from even small people like Ichiro Suzuki.
    3c. 10 Basic Rules
    1. There are nine innings in a game, and each single inning is divided into two
    half innings.
    2. The home team always gets to bat in the latter half or the bottom half of
    every inning.
    3. A ball that is hit with the bat and lands in the catcher's mitt or to the
    left or right (or behind) of the playing field is foul.
    4. Any batted ball that is caught by a fielder before it touches the ground
    will declare the batter who hit the ball out, and all runners must return to
    the base they were previously safe on.
    5. The bases are the only place that a runner cannot be tagged out.
    6. If a batted ball that has touched the ground is in control of a player who
    is touching first before the batter runs to first, the batter is out.
    7. All runners must travel from home to 1st base, 2nd base, 3rd base, and back
    to home without being out in any way (I will not list all 13 ways).
    8. No two runners may be safe at one base; if it happens everybody but the lead
    runner is out. If a player with the ball touches a base that any given runner
    MUST run to, then the runner in question is out immediately.
    9. A batted ball that goes over the fence while having not been foul is a home
    run and score every runner on base along with the hitter.
    10. I never said "10 Basic Rules of Baseball," so if you spent your precious
    money buying this game, you would never need to know exactly how baseball works.
    If there's something I'm missing from this list, or something I can add to a
    point, or even an error, please tell me so I can improve upon it.
    3d. MLB Schedule
    Like all other sports, the schedule for Major League Baseball matches up every
    team with all other teams over the league. In a year, every single team plays
    162 regular season games (with a possible 1 to 3 game playoff for the wildcard
    spot). Games for any given team, are generally grouped into series of 2-5
    consecutive games against the same opponent. Every team faces off with every
    other team within its league in at least one series, and it faces each of the
    teams in one division (determined by a rotation basis by season) in the
    opposite league.
    Right before the playoffs, if two or more teams in one league are tied for a
    playoff position and have the same head-to-head and division records, they go
    into a mini-tournament. These games add to the regular season scheduele, but
    not by much and not often.
    3e. Summary
    Basically, in baseball, the goal of your team in a game is to end up with more
    points or runs than your opponent. Whoever scores more runs wins the game.
    Should a tie occur after the full 9 innings of play, single 1 inning playoff
    "games" will occur until a winner is decided. Also, see the "10 Basic Rules"
    section for additional rules. As a recommendation, you should watch a few
    baseball games on television or read the baseball rulebook for further
    4a. Pitching
    MVP Baseball 2003 "features" the new pitcher-batter interface, which admittedly
    does allow for a slightly more exciting trip to the mound. Supposing you
    already know how pitching in regular baseball works, learning how to pitch in
    MVP Baseball should be easy. For BASIC IN-GAME GAMEPLAY, I will assume that you
    are not playing on the ALL-STAR level of difficulty.
    The first thing to do is to aim where you want the pitch to go, and whether to
    throw a strike or a ball. Start practicing finding location with the PITCHING
    CURSOR (located in the Gameplay Settings>Visual Settings area) on. Just hold
    one or a combination of two of the "aim high, low, left, right" buttons. The
    pitching cursor (if on) should move to the desired location. If you want to
    exaggerate the location of the pitch farther away from the center, also hold
    the "aim outside" button. Notice that holding the "aim outside" button alone
    will ask the pitcher to aim directly above the strike zone.
    Now that the pitch is aimed and you are still holding the buttons, you can
    choose a pitch to throw. On the lower corner of the screen that the batter is
    not standing on is the pitch selection for the pitcher that you are using. This
    pitch selection tool tells you what pitches the pitcher throws, its overall
    effectiveness, and the button that corresponds to the pitch in question. While
    holding the pitch location buttons, you must press and hold the button
    corresponding to the pitch you want to throw. The second you press down on the
    pitch button, you may release your location buttons. For a beginner, you should
    hold down the pitch button until the entire meter fills up with green and red
    (on the bottom). Once that happens, release the button, and a white marker
    should rise rapidly from the narrow end of the meter. Tap the SAME pitch button
    again when the white marker is INSIDE the green marker to make an accurate,
    effective pitch.
    If the white marker is stopped while it's outside the green area, the pitch
    will be less accurate. Remember, though, for some strange and twisted reason if
    you completely "miss" a slider, splitter, or a screwball (the big S's), it will
    INSTINCTIVELY find its way to about belt level, right over the plate, and easy
    pitch to hit for a homer. Remember, if you want to throw those breaking
    pitches, make sure you have good timing.
    4b. Hitting
    The "new" MVP Baseball 2003 with its new pitcher-batter interface also makes
    the plate appearance more interesting for the batter. They claim that hitting,
    like in the majors, is "all about timing." I agree this is true, because with
    timing alone, I can determine whether I will pull or slice the ball, and
    whether I will hit a grounder or a fly ball. Well, back to the basics here.
    There, unfortunately, is no option to move your batter in the batter's box, but
    we can compensate with good timing. If you are playing a two-player or an
    online game, you will notice that you can see the pitching meter while batting.
    Generally, it's good to ignore this so it doesn't throw you off.
    My one piece of advice is to watch the pitch the second it comes out of the
    pitcher's hand. Well, actually, a fastball takes less than 0.5 seconds to reach
    the plate, so watch the pitch the MOMENT the ball comes out of the pitcher's
    hand. Make sure you first get used to the overall bat speed of the batter, so
    you can time the beginning of the swing. I know this sounds obvious, but time
    your swing so that the bat hits the ball the moment it crosses the plate.
    Start your swing a bit (0.05 seconds) earlier to pull and inside pitch, and
    start it later (0.075 seconds) to slice it with authority into opposite field.
    Generally speaking, you are trying to hit the ball with as much power as
    possible, so once you're committed to swinging, hold the swing button, and
    don't just tap it. If you tap it, the batter will check his swing, which means
    he will attempt to keep the bat back so it is not recorded as a swing attempt.
    The check swing is useful on a breaking ball that starts in the strike zone,
    and slides out, but otherwise, try to make every swing with power all the way
    Developing the skill of tracking the ball and its break takes a lot of
    practice. It took me a good 3 months to learn how to track the ball very well
    in MVP and a year or so to learn how to track the pitch from the hitter's point
    of view (in real life). Don't be dissapointed if you miss some pitches that are
    way outside in the beginning, because it's always funny and enraging, but you
    will always get better. I've developed the ability to read the pitch when the
    ball is 1/4 of the way to the plate, and then follow it down the the end.
    If you find yourself missing too many outside pitches, you may be guessing too
    much. If you expect a strike, and need to swing, I wouldn't be bent on swinging
    all the way. All coaches in real life would much rather have their batter go
    down swinging than looking, but in MVP, going down looking a few times in a
    game beats being at the victim side of your opponents errant throws.
    4c. Baserunning
    I almost don't want to talk about it because it's such a bland subject. Still,
    it's infinitely important. Even though I never do it, I will give you a very
    helpful piece of advice. Before you do anything, say what you are doing to
    yourself twice in your head. You will prevent many more mistakes than you will
    make this way. Basically speaking, think about what you are doing before you do
    it. The computer, though, is usually smart enough to do it for you. Simply put,
    when in doubt, let the computer do your work.
    Manual baserunning takes a LOT of getting used to in MVP Baseball 2003. It
    starts to be VERY annoying when you start selecting the wrong runners all the
    time. Don't, worry, though, when you finally get used to it, it will be a sinch
    to tell all your runners where to go. The most basic controls you will need for
    running are the "Advance All Runners" and the "Retreat All Runners" controls,
    simply because you don't need to select any runners to operate this.
    Most of your baserunning will be done via the PIP (Picture-In-Picture)
    Baserunning system. They show you the traditional live basepath diagram, along
    with pictures of each runner. When you select a runner with the "select a
    runner" controls, you will notice that his picture will be highlighted. The
    "select a runner" process along with the PIP baserunning system are both hard
    to get used to, but both will be useful in the long run. To select a runner,
    press the button corresponding to the MOST RECENT base that the runner was safe
    on (EXAMPLE: If the runner is between 2nd and 3rd, press the "runner on second"
    button (usually 2) to select the runner). Before every pitch, the game
    automatically preselects the lead runner.
    After the runner is selected, you can still use the "advance/retreat all
    runners" commands, but you can now accurately tell the runner which base to run
    to. Now you can use the "run to 1st/2nd/3rd/home" buttons. Pressing these
    buttons will not affect the other runners unless it is a force run for them
    (telling the runner on 1st to run to 3rd with the bases loaded). Trust the
    system, it works.
    The most difficult baserunning play is probably on a screaming liner. The
    second you hear the crack of the bat, you will often instictively immediately
    press "advance all runners." Try your best to avoid pressing anything, because
    the AI will stop your runners at a safe position automatically on a liner. If
    you seriously cannot avoid pressing the button, you might consider separating
    the baserunning buttons from the swinging buttons to correct this habit. The
    mistake of indecision can be the root of many double and triple plays.
    4d. Fielding and Throwing
    Fielding and throwing are two very simple things to do in MVP Baseball. Well,
    strategic fielding isn't exactly as easy, but that's the concern of chapter
    six. I always played with assisted fielding, and I want to encourage everybody
    to play with assisted fielding. Because of this, I will not write a section
    devoted to manual fielding, but I will give a few tips to whoever instists on
    using it. Stand in front of the fielding circle on a line drive or a fly ball;
    moreso on a line drive. Secondly, if it's a line drive hit straight to center
    field, charge into it because it will be a knuckleball liner. Finally, take
    advantage of manual fielding. Since the pitcher is to stupid to cut off throws,
    make him sprint towards the mound if a runner is getting greeding. Also, be
    conservative on ground balls in the outfield; in the PC version, the outfielder
    never properly fields a ground ball that gets through the infield.
    Onto the throwing part, this is pretty simple. Just press the "throw to base"
    button that corresponds to the base you want to throw to. If you are close to
    the base, then press it and the field will run and touch that base. You can
    also use the "run up/down/left/right" buttons to direct the ballcarrier to run
    in a direction in a rundown play or just for fun.
    Remember, if the ball is hit to the middle infielder right in front of second
    base on a potential double play situation, press "run to 2nd" and the second
    the fielder starts being stupid, throw the 1st quickly. The game seems to have
    a problem with middle infield communication.
    The final note I will make is about alignment. Before the pitch delivery you
    can press the "defensive alignment" button to change where the fielders are
    located to conform to a certain situation or batter tendency. While holding the
    button, use up, down, left and right to scroll through the menu. Once the
    alignment is selected, release the button and the fielders will move. You will
    not be able to throw until the fielders have stopped moving. Remember to watch
    if your fielders are holding on runners; if they aren't, don't pick off.
    5a. When you're behind
    This is natually the most difficult position to be in a game. You will spend
    around 35-40% of your gaming experience at a deficit. This is where you know
    your actions will all have major effects. You now want to get the lead as soon
    as possible to gain/regain control of the game. If you're behind by more than 4
    runs in the late innings, you should be very aggressive on both sides of the
    plate, hoping for a late-game rally. The strategies hereon will assume that you
    are behind by a small enough margin, that you could tie the game up scoring and
    average of 1 run per inning (down by 5 with 5 innings to play).
    When on defence, you want to be conservative. Always throw to the cutoff man,
    unless it's in the 9th inning. Throwing the ball home from the outfield will
    generally give all the other runners one free base. This is because home plate
    takes the longest time to get to and it is the farthest from all the other
    bases, in general. You must know the throwing strength of all your outfielders
    (right fielders generally have the stongest arm) to determine which base to
    throw to. On a final note about defence, there is a constant in baseball. If
    there are two outs, a runner at third and a runner at second are basically the
    same things (because with only 1 out, R3 can tag up on a fly ball).
    On offence, the plan is also to be very conservative, even more than on
    defence. In most cases, if you are down by 1 or it's in a very close game, you
    should lay down a bunt, especially, if there are runners on 1st and 2nd. If
    you're playing against a human, be especially aware if your opponent changes
    their defensive alignment. If they are prepared for a bunt, they can easily
    throw out the lead runner (50 percent of the time, not a risk you want to be
    playing with) or pull a double play (happens about 25 percent of the time; and
    may stop a rally).
    Unless there is a runner on 3rd (so he can tag on a fly ball), you should not
    go for a home run unless you have a power hitter, and you can react fast enough
    to a hanging breaking ball. Again, you should not even consider trying to hit a
    homerun in a deficit. If you really, need a basehit, there are two ways to
    approach it. First, if you are not a guru on timing like I am, you should aim
    to hit a ground ball, but try to swing early to put more body weight into the
    pitch, and to try and hit it off the heavy part of the bat. If you have really
    good timing, just go for a line drive base hit, and swing a bit late(r), so you
    don't put too much loft into the ball. Try to pick the holes with good timing.
    Remember 3 things: A single will score all runners in scoring position. Tell R2
    to slide in advance when he's past 3rd, then immediately switch control to the
    lead runner. If the outfielder guns his way to home, rush to 2nd, and if he
    goes to second, run back to first. Slide if necessary.
    SUMMARY: When you're behind use conservative offense and conservative defense.
    5b. When It's Tied
    This is the most delicate and dangerous part of the game. Even if the game is
    just starting out, getting momentum is KEY. Unless you have a hitter on a hot
    streak (and if you've been playing all your games maunally, you'll know when),
    always bunt with runners on and fewer than 2 outs. Getting just one run across
    the plate will give your team momentum and control of the game with a lead,
    even the slimmest of leads.
    You should pay more care to the game when it's tied than any other situation,
    because a tie ball game is statistically 50/50, which presents a good chance of
    victory with just a 1-run rally, but it also has the same chance of failure
    with just one mistake pitch. And to slowly segue into pitching in a tie ball
    game, I suggest the DON'T pull your pitchers strategy. As long as the pitcher
    can still hit the spots, no matter how tired he is, pitchers tend to do better
    when going for a longer duration of time in the game.
    To preserve this longevity of pitchers, I suggest using the pitcher roles that
    the game automatically assigns (unless you have your own bullpen). The game is
    smart enough to know what roles a pitcher should play. As a general rule, Late
    Relief Pitchers should go no more than 3 innings, Middle Relief Pitchers should
    go no more than 4 innings, Setup men should go no more than 2 innings, and your
    closer should come in only when you're ahead, because of his pitching velocity
    and endurance levels.
    As mentioned before, play for just 1 or 2 runs on offence when in a tie game
    situation. After you gain or regain the lead, you can be more aggressive on the
    basepaths and at the plate. This means sacrifices; baseball sacrifices. Whether
    they are bunts or fly outs, just play for a few runs and get the momentum of
    the game behind you. Unless you have an all-star base-stealer, do not go for
    the SB, because of two reasons. First, a caught stealing will dramatically stop
    your momentum, and second, being caught stealing is a way to eliminate a
    baserunner (one of whom gets on base about 35% of the time). In summary, play
    for the lead; play for momentum, and don't try anything stupid!'
    Summary: When it's tied, use aggressive offense and aggressive defense.
    5c. When You're Ahead
    You really can't relax at any point in the game, unless you are ahead by 20
    runs in the bottom of the ninth. When you're ahead, it will always be your
    defence and your pitching that will control the game. In this situation, you
    want to play aggressively unless it's absolutely failing. Rely on your defence
    to pull out the win, and give the other team a ball to put into play.
    Because they have less momemtum than you (unless they've just scored 3 run in a
    row), you can give them pitches out over the middle of the plate. Stick with
    balls that don't curve laterally; that means fastballs, changeups, sinkers, and
    straight curveballs. You don't need to risk a huge opposing home run by
    throwing breaking pitches all the time; just let their batters get the ball
    into play, and rely on your defense to get them out.
    Now, when you're ahead, the odds are in your favor, and you have momentum, so
    you can be much more aggressive on offense. Go for the home run if you want to;
    try and pull out a big triple if you can. You can be this aggressive because
    it's a win/win situation. If you succeed, then it's more momentum and possibly
    more runs for your precious lead. On the other hand, if you get out, then you
    simply have a (hot) pitcher with a warm arm to toss out a goose egg. Although,
    you don't want to aim for the latter, you can see that being in the lead gives
    you more options and extends your chances at the W.
    There isn't much more to say about what to do when you are in the lead.
    Basically, you should stay on your roll, be aggressive, and play smart to pull
    out the victory. One thing I, personally, like to do when I'm in the lead is to
    leave my pitchers in the game. They longer they last, the better they get. If
    it's 0 outs in the bottom of the ninth, and you can still pitch strikes with
    your starting pitcher, leave him in; you don't always have to go for the saves.
    SUMMARY: When you're ahead, use neutral offense and neutral defense.
    5d. When You're In Extras
    This is really the clutch point of the game. It's hard to explain, but the
    outcome of an extra-inning game seems to be more significant to both teams.
    Losses in extra innings are much more deflating, and the somehow seem to hurt
    more. Likewise, wins just seem so much more hard earned because it took much
    more work that usual to accomplish that feat. Because it's tied, the game can
    go either way, and because of the rate of scoring in the Majors, just one run
    crossing the plate can mean a victory.
    Basically, on defense, you should be aggressive beyond a reasonable doubt. You
    should have the mindset to not allow even one run to cross the plate. Unless
    there is a special situation (I can't go through all of them here), you should
    ALWAYS throw ahead of the runners. That means, with bases loaded, 1 out, you
    should almost always throw home on the play. If you are the away team and the
    game is tied, don't even consider the situation. If a runner COULD score on a
    play, always throw home. Because any runs that the home teams scores, you will
    not be able to get back under any circumstances. This means, playing with the
    outfield in with runners in scoring position, and again, throwing ahead of the
    On offense, you should play for the LEAD, not the RALLY. If you have a runner
    on first base (and obviously less than 2 outs) with a good base hit bunter at
    the plate, don't even think, just bunt for a base hit. Chances are you'll get
    out at first, but you have still advanced your runner to second. Once there is
    a runner on second base, a single will drive him in, and likely win the game.
    If you don't have a good bunter, but still at runner at second with less than 2
    outs, go for a home run to right field. You should at least be able to advance
    the runner.
    This is always the strategy to adopt if the game is tied or there is a 1 run
    differential in extra innings. If you are way behind in the bottom of the 11th
    (or 12th, et cetera), go for the rally to tie/win. There are very few, if any,
    extra-inning games that have been won in a landslide. I'd even be willing to
    bet that 95% of all extra-inning games have been 1-run games. If you are ever
    in extra innings, go for the single run, don't give up a run, and don't do
    anything stupid (some people have the tendency to do stupid stuff periodically).
    SUMMARY: In extra innings, use conservative offense and aggressive defense.
    6. Advanced In-Game Gameplay
    6a. Pitching
    6a1. Pitch Selection
    This is an extraordinarily concise of every single pitch, how they work, where
    to throw them, and when to throw them. The following list covers every single
    pitch. They are sorted by my own numbering system based on OVERALL
    effectiveness; that includes strikeouts, forcing ground balls, and how well
    they throw off the hitter's timing.
                                 1. 4-Seam Fastball
    The #1 pitch is obviously the four-seam fastball. There are two reasons why
    this is the best overall pitch. First, it's fast, and that alone will give the
    batter MUCH less time to react to where the ball is pitched. To state the
    obvious, the faster the pitch is, the less precise it forces the batter to be.
    In conjunction to its velocity, the fastball is also great because it is a
    setup pitch for EVERY other pitch. Sometimes, especially when playing against
    the computer, the fastball is going to be your strikeout pitch.
    The fastball has traditional backspin, and therefore, is extremely easy to
    throw. 90% of all pitchers will have their best pitch be a 4-Seam Fastball,
    becuase it's fast, and easy to control. Almost all 4-Seamers have no movement,
    unless you create a player with 99 movement on his fastball (that really isn't
    a fastball anymore). The slowest fastball I've seen in the game is probably
    from Tim Wakefield of the Boston Red Sox, at around 77 mph. The best fastball
    in the game is almost definitely Roger Clemens, who whiffs batters with 98 mph
    heat, reaching (and occasionally passing) 100 mph in Colorado (because it's on
    a mountain).
    Fastballs work very well on all corners of the strike zone. If you have a
    really fast fastball, you should pick the corner up and in. You will hit the
    batter on a blatant mistake pitch, but that doesn't happen that often. You
    should generally try to throw the fastball in the area or DIRECTLY above the
    spot you plan on throwing your next pitch. I also find that, because of the
    game's INCREDIBLY TERRIBLE ability to actually miss the ball, that the high
    heat is an effective strikeout pitch. If you don't have a power hitter up to
    bat, you should set up your high heat with a curveball up in the strike zone.
                                    2. Curveball
    I like the curveball and I picked it as my #2 pitch because of its speed (or
    lack thereof). It's usually 10-25 mph slower than the pitcher's 4-seam
    fastball, and you can use this to trick the batter to throw him out of timing.
    The one thing you can't do with any breaking pitch (including the curveball) is
    that you can't be predicable at all. If a batter gets too used to a curveball
    in the hitting zone, he will eventually learn to swing later, and this can be
    deadly for the pitcher. Slow pitches are the most liable to be hit for line
    drives or homeruns past the outfielders.
    Curveballs, especially in MVP Baseball 2003, vary a lot by pitcher. Some, like
    the legendary Barry Zito of the Oakland Athletics, throws the curveball with
    solid topspin. This cause the curveball to fall completely. While it's in the
    air, a curveball from Zito seems to drop down dead at any given point. It may
    start out at eye level, and end up hitting the dirt. Then, there are also
    curveballs, like those of Roy Halladay of the Toronto Blue Jays, which go from
    11 O'clock to 4 O'clock. They come down at almost a 45-degree angle, making the
    curveball extremely difficult to follow. These curveballs operate almost like a
    slider, except the drop more. These two pitchers are modern day curve artists.
    They freeze batters, paint the corners, and catch batters fishing.
    Avoid throwing the curveball or any breaking pitch inside, because the change
    in speed will cause the batter to swing early, which is perfect to hit an
    inside pitch. If the batter is of opposide handiness (Left-handed batter
    against Righty pitcher), then avoid using the curveball altogether. Either way,
    remember to pick the outside area. The area of the curveball's effectiveness is
    low and outside, and possibly low and low and outside out of the strike zone if
    you're facing a batter of the same handiness. If you find that the batters are
    swinging early (pulling) your fastballs and sliders (or other pitches faster
    than the curveball), condsider throwing a curveball either low out of the
    strike zone or right in the middle of the strike zone to try to catch the
    batter off balance for a K.
    Note that there is also this stupid glitch in the game about the mistake
    curveball. If you develop enough skill after playing the game for a while, you
    can try this strategy. Aim your curveball up and in (to any handedness batter),
    and stop the white thing in the meter outside the green zone. In fact, you
    should stop it just about one click outside the green zone. This will make your
    pitcher throw a mistake pitch, and the batter will swing and miss guarunteed
    99% of the time. This pitch is very hard to throw, though, so do not rely on it
    to win all your games.
                                    3. Screwball
    The screwball has honestly VERY little effect in single-player mode. This is
    because the AI is terribly designed. The CPU doesn't think, and simply "knows"
    exactly where the ball is going to go. The screwball is an extremely effective
    pitch against the best AI in the world, a human being. When playing online (or
    with 2 players at home, you can use the screwball for its intended purpose. The
    screwball is designed to look and break just like a curveball from an opposite
    handedness pitcher. It breaks just like the average two-seamer (towards the
    pitcher's non-glove side), but with much more drop, like a curveball.
    Try using a screwball for it's backdoor effect. If you're pitcher has thrown a
    few curveballs outside the zone to either side, you can come back with a
    screwball that breaks back into the strikezone at the last second. This pitch
    will freeze batters extremely well online. It's possibly one of the best pitch
    combinations you can use if you have a screwball pitcher. Another good use for
    the screwball is to greatly confuse the player who is batting. If you're
    pitcher has a good fastball, whiff a few by the batter, even if they are balls.
    Once you get two strikes or even just one strike on the batter, he will become
    nervous and anxious for a pitch he can hit. This is where you play mind games.
    Just throw a screwball ANYWHERE out of the zone. Because the screwball is a lot
    slower than almost every fastball, it will puzzle the mind of a hitter. Also,
    when he's about to swing (or deciding whether or not to swing), the ball just
    breaks in a very peculiar way. This will undoubtedly throw off the batter 10
    times out of 10, unless you've been using the SAME combination all game.
    You should never try to throw a screwball as a first pitch. The first pich is
    where you should get ahead of the batter by throwing a strike. This point,
    however, the batter is not befuzzled (excuse the vocabulary) at all, and can
    easily tell the difference between a screwball for a ball, and one for a
    strike. A first pitch screwball should be avoided almost all of the time. You
    should also never throw a screwball when the batter knows you have to throw a
    strike (like on a 2-0 count). Here, he will be sitting on any pitch. Throwing a
    screwball out of the zone in this situation may be a good idea, but you have
    many better options. Besides, what happens if the batter takes the ball, and
    you fall behind 3-0? Bad news.
                                   4. Knuckleball
    Though the knuckleball usually means a loss when playing against a computer, it
    can really confuse and hurt an opponent. Although the "dance" of a knuckleball
    is greatly overexaggerated in the game (trust me, I've seen real-life
    knuckleballs thrown before), the knuckleball can do great wonders playing
    against a human. There's no such thing as a backdoor knuckleball, or an
    overpowering knuckleball, so you must compensate by having very good movement.
    The most dominant knuckleball pitcher nowadays is undoubtedly Tim Wakefield of
    the Boston Red Sox. The movement on Wakefield's knuckleball in the game is
    amazing, and I got my online strikeout record (19 in a game) using Tim
    Wakefield dominantly. The good thing about a knuckleball is that it puts one
    million times less stress on the arm than a breaking pitch (trust me, I've
    pitched in real life, and I understand the arm pain), so a knuckleball pitcher
    will be able to stay in the game for longer, generally. Most people think that
    the point of a knuckleball is to break like mad, and curve out of the strike
    zone at the last millisecond; however, this is only very partially right.
                                     5. Slider
    I like the slider because of it's combination of speed and break. As almost
    every baseball pitcher and coach will say in the world, a slider is a fastball
    that curves. It's too fast to be a curveball, and it curves too much to be a
    fastball. You can use this quick breaking to your distinct advantage.
    The slider is my favorite 0-0 pitch to throw in a L-L or a R-R matchup. You
    have to throw the slider as a strike outside in the zone. 99% of the time, the
    batter will swing and try to pull it (because he thinks it's starting inside,
    so he can jack it over the fences). Everybody knows what happens when one tries
    to pull an outside pitch. You get an easy ground ball to one of the middle
    infielders. This "strategy" will help perserve your pitcher's arm, and sort of
    make up for the tremendous amount of arm damage sustained by throwing the
    There is also an alternate strategy to throwing a slider. The ideal pitch to
    throw in almost any count is the backdoor slider. This is in fact one of the
    most famous pitches in all of baseball, because it is so effective. Also, it
    works against all lefty-righty-righty-lefty matchups. Just plant the pitch low
    in the zone so it will break back onto the corner of the strike zone. Most
    often the batter will give up on the pitch, freeze his bat, or swing extremely
    late out of panic. As a general "rule," I like to pick the low corners of the
    strike zone with the slider. If you're using Roger Clemons, throw a ball low
    and outside; works most of the time.
                                     6. Changeup
    Most people would put the fastball and the changeup 1-2 on the list of the best
    pitches, but it doesn't work his way in MVP. I could honestly say that the game
    cheats the changeup out of a pitcher; it is not effective at all, and physics
    of it are all so completely wrong. I've been a catcher in real life, and I know
    for a fact that changeups do not travel on a straight line like the do in the
    game. You can, however, use this flaw in physics to your advantage.
    The changeup's original purpose is the throw off the batter's timing. In the
    game, though, you should use it more to freeze up the batter with mistiming. If
    you have a big speed difference between your fastball and your changeup (and
    your fastball is 90+ mph), consider a changeup-fastball combination, which is
    the reverse of the traditional fastball-changeup. Throw the changeup into a
    corner of the strike zone, or on the outside edge, and throw your fastball the
    immediate next pitch. This combination usually gets the batter to swing SO late
    that he would hit the ball IF the catcher ever threw back to the pitcher in the
    game. Have fun laughing your head off.
    Another very useful pitch combination in baseball is the curveball-changeup
    combination; which is non-existant in real-life. This is probably the riskiest
    pitch combination in the game, but if the batter bites, it's deadly. Commit the
    cardinal sin and intentionally throw the curveball into the upper deck of the
    strike zone. Then, when you have a ?-2 count, throw a changeup about 2
    baseballs (10 inches) above the strike zone. The batter will already have the
    image of the ugly curveball that sank in there, and he will swing late and miss
    with hilarity on the changeup. Remember, don't be a complete idiot and try this
    combination on a power hitter, because he'll hit the first pitch over the
                                 7. Two-Seam Fastball
    The two seam fastball is quite effective, but the difference is barely
    noticeable in MVP Baseball 2003. Almost all two-seam fastballs break slightly
    towards the pitcher's hand side. The two-seam fastball is best used in
    combination with the regular 4-seam fastball or even a cut fastball. This is
    because the two-seamer breaks every so slightly at the last possible moment.
    An effective use of the two-seam fastball is to jam the hitter. After throwing
    a lot of heat inside, try and throw a two-seamer so it starts on the inside
    corner, and breaks farther in very late. This will cause a loop in the batter's
    swing, and he will often hit an easy pop fly or a very soft grounder. After
    throwing a two-seamer as a ball inside, consider throwing some offspeed junk on
    the outside corner, this will easily fool the batter because he is thinking
    that he will be able to pivot and pull the pitch. This jamming strategy only
    works with L-L and R-R matchups.
    Aside from being used to jam a batter, it can be used for its tradional
    purpose, as a ground-ball producer. Because there is little or no effective or
    tight backspin on a two-seamer, it naturally drops more than a 4-seam fastball.
    No matter where the batter swings, ground balls will be more common with
    two-seamers. Just don't throw the two-seam fastball high in the zone unless
    you've been previously throwing junk down low.
    The two-seam fastball has yet another effective use. It seems like the
    two-seamer is so useful, yet it doesn't have its full effectiveness in MLB
    Baseball 2003 (and that two of its tricks can only be used in certain
    pitching-batting handedness matchups). Its third pointful use is to be used as
    a backdoor fastball. If you've been throwing sliders or hard fastballs outside
    the strike zone away from the batter. Come back with a backdoor two-seam
    fastball. He will think it's another routine ball, except this time, it will
    not go all the way outside, and instead, break back in. This is, of course,
    considering you have a R-R or a L-L matchup.
                                   8. Sinker
    The sinker is used in conjunction with the 4-seam fastball and the slider in
    real life baseball. The sinker (also known as a sinking fastball) has slightly
    slower backspin than a 4-seamer, with a tiny bit of sidespin (tilted, but not
    spinning on the the theta axis - it's the axis running from the sky to the
    ground, perpendicular to the batter). The point of the sinker is to break down
    a bit and to the pitcher's non-glove side. Sinkers are especially effective
    when used with the slider, because both have late, downward break, and they
    deviate a combined total of about 22 inches laterally. The sinker is more
    conventially used as an accuracy pitch in real life, because it is easier to
    throw for the pitcher as it puts less stress on the fingers since backspin is
    not emphasized.
    In the game, though, the sinker only has two practical uses. First, to be a
    sneaky pitch. If your pitcher is very accurate, land the sinker on the top
    corner of the strike zone. This is a very dangerous pitch against a power
    hitter, because it is easier to track, and it has that little cut at the end
    that gives the batter the little extra UMPH to go over the fences. The second
    use is a set up pitch for the high heat. If you have a great velocity fastball
    with little movement, and a nice slider with lots of movement, you can pull
    this trick. It works on all handedness matchups, but I encourage only the R-R
    and L-L matchups. First, aim the sinker outside, high the strike zone, so that
    it will start in and break high and outside. Then, pull the high heat directly
    above the strike zone. It's a beauty!
                                     9. Splitter
    In my opinion the splitter is enourmously underrated in MVP Baseball 2003. I've
    probably striked more people out with a cutter (which is NOT a strikeout pitch)
    than a splitter. The splitter's main purpose is to look like a fastball, but
    break out of the strike zone 2/3 of the way to the plate. Of course, the
    splitter breaks as much as a slow fastball in MVP Baseball 2003.
    If you insist on using the splitter, here's how it works. You start of throwing
    one or two hard fastballs for strikes. Then, just throw a splitter beneath the
    zone (make sure it's a maximum efficiency no matter what). Avoid throwing the
    splitter in the strike zone, because it will appear to the hitter just like a
    very slow fastball, with a little dip.
                                    10. Cutter
    This pitch is used in REAL LIFE to get the batter to pop up or ground out. This
    is because it breaks, but barely enough so that the batter can't hit it square.
    Since the batting is obviously rigged, the cutter looses all its effect in
    getting the batter to hit it badly. You can also use a cutter in disguise of a
    hard-breaking slider. Just throw a backdoor slider, and follow that up with a
    cutter that's just outside the strike zone. The batter thinks that it will
    break, but it just doesn't break just enough back into the strike zone. It
    doesn't work extraordinarily well, but it's all you can really do in MVP.
    6a2. Pickoffs
    There isn't much to say about pickoffs. It's just that most people just know:
    "If they're too far off the bag, throw over." What most people don't fully
    understand is just WHEN to throw over. Well, everybody knows the basic pick-off
    procedure, just hold the pick-off button and press the base. Your pitcher will
    step off the rubber and throw over to the base.
    Well, first you really do need a good pickoff pitcher. The obvious name that
    comes to mind is Andy Pettite. He has a pickoff rating of 99, but the more
    important fact is that he is left-handed. Because left handed pitcher can lift
    their drive leg, THEN throw over, it gives them an advantage of speed. I often
    like to throw over on the first pitch, and if the runner insists on taking a
    big lead, I throw two or three more times over to first.
    When facing other humans, they may adopt the suicide squeeze play, which works
    80% of the time. It is where there is a runner on third, and the batter bunts
    while the runner "steals" home plate. You may be quite frustrated by this
    strategy, and the pickoff is a way to make the opposition scratch his hair off.
    Just pick off either third, or pitchout to home. It's just brutal, and you can
    laugh your head off, when the opposition gets caught stealing.
    In total, there are 4 stages of the lead-off in MVP Baseball 2003. The first is
    default, and is what every runner starts off with. As long as the opposition
    isn't trying to steal from this position, it is impossible to pick off a runner
    when he is at this point. About 1 out of 500 attempts, the runner will fall
    asleep, and the pickoff at this stage of leadoffs will be successful, but it's
    not something to aim for.
    The second stage is after the opposition presses the "lead-off" button once. It
    is possible to pick off a runner when he is at this stage, especially if you're
    playing another human. The third stage is the maximum lead-off, where the
    player has pressed the lead off button twice. With a left-handed pitcher, you
    will catch the runner at this position about 1 in 10 times.
    The final lead off stage is the attempt at stealing from the third stage. If
    you're playing another human, who is clearly slamming the steal button, just
    pick off the runner easily 1 out of 2 times (with a left-hander). You can also
    just wait a long time, and eventually make a pickoff attempt. This will more
    likely catch the runner sleeping; however, this time, it's controlled by a
    mysterious force that is Artificial Intelligience.
    6a3. Dealing With Fatigue
    Although hitting the strike zone in MVP Baseball is 10 times easier than it
    should be, the game this year has put in the concept of "mistake pitches" in
    substitution for "out of control pitches." These mistake pitches can be deadly
    because it is practically impossible to miss. While playing against the
    computer, they will smack every single mistake pitch. Although humans are more
    forgiving because of the essence of surprise, these pitches are easier to hit,
    and can be hit further. By "easier to hit," I mean that the batter will make
    good contact more often.
    You may also have noticed that, the longer the pitcher pitches, the smaller
    this green zone of accuracy gets. Eventually, the green zone becomes a line the
    width of the little white marker. When you pitcher has thrown for very long (or
    if he has not yet recovered from his previous stint on the mound), he will have
    a small green zone of accuracy. Hitting this green zone is much harder than the
    generous zone before. This means MORE mistake pitches, LESS strikes, and MORE
    runs against.
    Most people are often too stubborn and always throw the pitch with maximum
    effectiveness ALL THE TIME. Although this does work in the beginning of the
    game, if you have a fatigued pitcher on the mound, you should really cut down
    on the Full-power pitches. The only pitches you should be throwing full-power
    all the time (even when fatigued) are the Splitter (if it doesn't sink your
    dead), and the High Heat (you want to confuse the hitter, don't you).
    The only real way to cure fatigue is to let your pitcher rest. Go to the
    bullpen and pull out a reliever (explained in the next section). On average, a
    relief pitcher will need 1-2 days REST before playing again, and a starter will
    3-5 days rest before starting again.
    6a4. The Bullpen

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