A lazy Sunday like yesterday — a rare off day from baseball for me in the spring — has brought me to reminisce about my childhood, specifically the lazy Sundays I would spend playing MVP Baseball 2005 for hours on end. Simply put, MVP Baseball 2005 was arguably the best baseball video game ever created, and it has gained quite a cult-like following since the franchise was discontinued. In fact, there is a whole website devoted to updating the rosters if you are lucky enough to still play the game.
Fresh off the historic 2004 season, which featured the Boston Red Sox defeating my beloved New York Yankees in the ALCS en route to their first World Series title since 1918, MVP Baseball 2005 captured some of that magic in its intro video.
As much as memories of 2004 still haunt me, the song is too catchy not to enjoy the short intro video. Postseason hero Manny Ramirez was the cover athlete to what became the final installment of the iconic franchise and led a stacked Red Sox roster in the game.
Aside from a stupendous soundtrack, the gameplay was revolutionary for its era, with rosters that included three minor league levels (Triple-A, Double-A, and Single-A). In addition to the extra minor leaguers, those minor league teams could be used in exhibition games as well.
This next section will highlight my three favorite features of the game.
Possibly the best mode of the whole game, it allowed you to become general manager of the team of your choice. The mode was able to span 120 years, but certain goals needed to be met for a contract extension after your first three seasons. In addition to signing free agents, drafting the next superstar, and of course, winning games, the GM was also in charge of keeping player morale high, which allowed your team to continue their winning ways. As GM, the user was responsible for winning at the major league level, while also keeping the farm system stocked with potential talent. Of course, just like future games, the user can play games with their team, and the minor league teams as well. If time was short, manager mode (basically a controlled simulation) was a perfect way to control your team but please your parents by not spending all day playing.
Hours could be lost playing the hitting mini-game as your favorite player. Personally, I loved using Ichiro because of his high contact ratings.
Not simply something to occupy yourself with instead of creating your Dynasty, the hitting mini-game was a way for the GM to personally develop prospects during spring training. Score highly during the mini-game with a player, and then certain attribute points will be increased. A fun, hands-on approach to player development.
Historical Players and Stadiums
An awesome way to make your playing experience even more fun was to unlock some of the greatest players of all time and add them into your lineup. Players that we could only read and dream about, like Honus Wagner, Babe Ruth, and Walter Johnson, suddenly could suit up for your favorite team and make your team nearly unbeatable. As if getting these legends was not enough, if you ever wondered what it was like to play in the Polo Grounds, all that was needed was enough “MVP Rewards” to unlock the stadium, and boom, Yankees versus Red Sox in the Polo Grounds was at your fingertips. If all the legendary players were unlocked, then two legend teams were subsequently unlocked, and the matchup of the century was created. Or, if you were lazy and wanted a quick way to unlock all the goodies, Katie Roy, a created player who unlocked all historical players, stadiums, and jerseys, found her way into the free agent list. I bet 12-year-old you is upset that you didn’t learn this trick earlier.
EA Sports, we are begging you, PLEASE bring back MVP Baseball.