Buster Posey knows a thing or two or 14 about baseball. He's an MVP and World Series champ who has commanded one of baseball's best pitching rotations over the past few seasons. He's behind the plate, with a prime view of the action, taking it all in, figuring out what his team should do next.
In that sense, he's the perfect guy to help video-game developers in their mission to make the most life-like baseball game possible. Posey is one a few players picked by the makers of "MLB 14 The Show," the leading baseball video game on the market, to be a part of the development process.
Along with stars such as New York Yankees pitcher C.C. Sabathia and Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Andrew McCutchen, Posey gives developer SCE San Diego straight-out-of-the-big-leagues feedback.
This year's better-than-ever installment of “MLB The Show 14” launches Tuesday on PS3 and PS Vita, with the slicker-looking PS4 version coming May 6.
We talked to Posey about what he shared, his impression of the game, whether he would play a video game as the rival Los Angeles Dodgers and his outlook for the Giants season ahead.
Mike Oz: You worked with the development team on the game, what specific insights did you offer them?
Buster Posey: The main thing we talk about was pitches, pitchers' tendencies and how a catcher calls a game. I think one of the cool features that I’ve heard about this year, is that you can actually play the catcher and you have to catch the ball.
MO: I’m always amazed at how real this game looks, especially this year. As someone in the middle of the real action, how close are they?
BP: They all look great, but this one takes it to a different level. The attention to detail — looking at the crowd, there's so many different faces in the crowd. I'm watching the game right now, seeing the shadows of the hitters and the umpires’ movement. It’s impressive.
MO: It seems like being a catcher is the position on the field that’s most like playing a video game, because you control a lot of what happens. Do you agree?
BP: There’s some similarity because you're making suggestions to the pitcher. In the video game you're just doing it. You have to think throughout the game like a catcher.
MO: You've been close to this game for a few years now, and you had your own mobile game, were you big into video games when you were a kid?
BP: I always played these games when I was younger. Now, with my schedule and being a dad, my time is limited at home. I play some of the road. It's been a fun experience for me to learn how much goes into [the game] and how much work and effort and time is spent on getting this thing the way it is.
MO: Which of the Giants pitchers do you think is most fun to play in a video game?
BP: Oh man, probably [Sergio] Romo because I just go slider.
MO: Which video-game hitter is hardest to get out?
BP: I gotta imagine a guy like [Mike] Trout or [Miguel] Cabrera.
MO: Do you always play as the Giants, or do you pick other teams sometimes?
BP: You mix it up some.
MO: Would you play as the Dodgers to see what it’s like to pitch with Clayton Kershaw?
BP: That might be going a little too far.
MO: Is there anybody in MLB who has a rep for being really good at video games?
BP: I’d probably say Hunter Pence is good. He says he's good. So I'll take him at his word.
MO: He seems like he would be.
BP: Can't you just picture him there with his bug eyes staring the screen? He'd be intensely focused.
MO: What are you seeing from the Giants that lets you know this year will be better than last year?
BP: There seems to be a crispness. Starting pitcher is looking pretty good and we've been swinging the bats OK. But it's hard to gauge in spring training.
MO: It seems like every year there are people asking if Tim Lincecum is back. I won't ask you that, it’s impossible to answer at this point, but in what ways does he seem different this year? Besides the mustache?
BP: He’s shown a lot of confidence. A bit of a focal point for him is keeping the ball down. Tim Hudson will be good of him in that respect.
MO: Speaking of Tim Hudson, what does having a veteran guy like him on the team now?
BP: I think it’s going to be crucial. From playing against him for a few years, you see what kind of competitor he is. I’ve always been a big fan of his. I'm very excited to get to work with him for a season. He brings a lot of intensity and has a passion to win.
MO: Obviously you love all your pitchers, but is it nice to see Madison Bumgarner as opening day starter? Especially since you guys came up through the minor leagues together?
BP: Yeah, it is. You could ask the rest of the pitchers on the staff, and they'd say they’re excited of him. It’s something that's neat. Madison is a hard worker and has a great work ethic and had a great year last year. He would tell you that any one of the guys could start on opening day.
MO: What's the vibe from a player's point-of-view on all the rule changes this year? Not necessarily just the home-plate rule, but all the changes? Do you guys feel comfortable heading into the season?
BP: Yeah, I think so. I haven't heard anybody say that they weren't. The replay will be good — maybe getting some calls right that would change the game. I think everybody's comfortable with what's going on.
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