March 18, 2008
A few months ago, I read in a magazine that Matt Holliday and the Colorado Rockies played the classic RBI Baseball
as a way to keep loose during the final month of the season, a stretch that saw them win 21 of 22 games en route to the World Series. Having never met a Nintendo challenge I didn't like, I floated the following idea out to Rockies' PR: Me vs. Holliday for the Colorado clubhouse championship. Nine innings or 10-run slaughter rule, whichever came first.
However, perhaps beset with visions of the black cartridge not working and me frantically and repeatedly blowing into the game to get it to work, Rockies' PR didn't think the logistics would work out. Alas, I had to settle for running down Holliday for a little reminiscing session, which he was eager to do. As down to Earth as All Star outfielders come, it turns out he gets just as mad when the third baseman randomly makes an error.
RBI discussion follows the jump ...
BLS: So you guys are big RBI Baseball fans in this clubhouse?
Holliday: We played it a bunch when were in Los Angeles during the last month. They’ve got it in their visitor’s clubhouse there, so I think I said something (in the magazine interview) about how we were hurrying up and trying to get in as many games in as we could.
BLS: Wait. There’s a Nintendo in the Dodgers’ visitors clubhouse?
Holliday: No, it’s actually on one of those standup arcade machines. They’ve got it in the corner there and you can call up RBI and play it.
BLS: Interesting. So who’s your team?
Holliday: I don’t know if I have one … the Yankees are pretty good.
BLS: But the Yankees aren’t in the original RBI.
Holliday: They are in this one. They actually have an all-star Yankee team so you can play with a lineup that has guys like Babe Ruth and Reggie Jackson in it.
BLS: You sure we’re talking about the same game here? Are you sure it wasn’t RBI 2 or Baseball Stars?
Holliday: No, it’s the same one. It even has the same song. Doo-doo-doo … (at this point the NL MVP runnerup continues his RBI song impression, which is entertaining.) Maybe they just reprogrammed it with new rosters.
BLS: What is it about the game that keeps guys our age more interested in it than the games they release for today’s systems?
Holliday: I think it’s just the game play. Everything’s so simple, but there’s also a lot of skill and technique that go into hitting and pitching. It’s a good game to play one-on-one.
BLS: Exactly. I feel like today’s games are …
Holliday: … too complicated! And they take an hour to play just one game. If you play (RBI), you can get a friend and your game will be over in 15 minutes. Then you can go do something else.
BLS: OK, rapid fire question time — Worst team in the original at-home RBI?
Holliday: I remember the Cardinals had one good hitter in Jack Clark and the rest of them would hit ground balls to the short stop.
BLS: Do you guys allow each other to play with the American and National All-Star teams?
Holliday: We play with whoever. Pick a team and bring it on.
BLS: Mark McGwire for Bill Schroeder if you’re playing with the American League?
Holliday: Yeah, that’s like the one in the clubhouse. If you play with the Yankees, there’s a bunch of guys with 40 home runs sitting on the bench. You can play them at second … a left-handed second baseman.
BLS: Do you guys play with that silly pitch down the middle rule?
Holliday: Oh no, we play it for real. We try to throw strikes, but if it gets ridiculous and no one’s throwing near the plate then we’re yelling at each other. We mostly try to change up the speeds, bring in the curve ball and jam it inside. It’s a little different from pitching on the normal Nintendo, though. You’ve got a joystick and you’re standing up.
BLS: So they really have this game in the Dodgers clubhouse?
Holliday: Yeah, at least they did last year.
BLS: We’re going to have to play at some point.
Holliday: Come to Los Angeles when we’re out there … we’ll play.
BLS: You really ready for that challenge?
Holliday: We'll see what happens.
BLS would like to thank Matt Holliday for his cooperation and RBI expertise.