March 06, 2008
After hitting 58 home runs in 2006 and 47 in '07, Ryan Howard earned a nice jump start on becoming one of the biggest stars in baseball. His official seal of approval, however, came earlier this week when MLB '08: The Show was released in stores with his picture on the cover. I caught up with Howard in Orlando earlier this week to talk about ill-fitting motion sensor suits and what it's like to have a Met pitching the "other" baseball video game on the market.
BLS: So the game is finally on store shelves and the commercials are on television. Looking back, what was your favorite aspect of being involved with and helping create MLB ’08?
Howard: The experiences were all fun, they were all good. It’s a different element, being out of the box like that. You get a new respect for actors and actresses and what they go through because it’s a lot of standing around and checking the playback and changing all the angles and that kind of stuff. So I can only imagine how long it takes for when they’re doing movies. It’s intense for a few minutes and then you just wait.
BLS: The pictures of you in the motion-capture suit made a little stir on the Internet. Is it as uncomfortable as it looks?
Howard: (laughing): It was a little tight. I’m not going to lie. It was a liitttle tight.
BLS: So you had a hard time being hooked up to all those sensors?
Howard: Actually, for the motion capture, it went by really easy. It was all baseball stuff and you just do the things that come natural to you. I was in there for about four to six hours.
BLS: Are you a big video game guy?
Howard: A little bit, a little bit. I play them from time to time. Nothing too crazy.
BLS: What kind of swag do you get for being on the cover of the game?
Howard: I think they give you a free system and a game. I haven’t seen it yet, though. I haven’t played the game yet, either, but I got to see it firsthand (at the studios.) It was amazing.
BLS: See, my thing is that the companies should just scrap the complicated stuff and get back to producing games like RBI Baseball and Bases Loaded, but with modern rosters … Don't you think it's a little too complicated?
Howard: Well, (MLB '08) tries to give the experience of the real life situation. It tries to put you in the manager’s shoes as you’re playing the game. It’s the most realistic game I’ve ever seen.
BLS: Fair enough. Your game is going head-to-head with MLB 2K8, which features Jose Reyes on the cover. In closing, isn’t that taking the Mets-Phillies rivalry a little too far?
Howard: (laughing) 2K8, yeah, I saw that. Hey, this (rivalry) isn’t just on the field anymore. We’re taking it into the stores!
The Stew would like to thank Ryan Howard for his cooperation.