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Hernandez vs. Santana: Atari 2600 Style

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As you know, Saturday's game will not be televised. Since nobody is actually going to see the game, I thought I would try to bring the game to you through a state-of-the-art simulation. That's right, the Atari 2600.

Super Challenge Baseball, which is labeled only as "Baseball" in the version I have, was the best baseball game of it's era. Here's how one website describes it.

In the sorry field of Atari 2600 baseball games, Super Challenge is notable mainly because it does NOT suck. This game is a HUGE step up from Atari's first attempt at baseball, Homerun, but is that really saying much? I will give Super Challenge credit for not trying to do too much. The players all look like the symbols on a men's room door, but at least they move smoothly and don't flicker much.

[...]

In 1982, the most impressive aspect of this game was the fact that it actually had a diamond (compared to Homerun's four bases). Yes, it's hard to believe that this blocky field was once impressive, but people thought it was pretty cool at the time.

For a recap of the simulated game action click read more.

As you can see from the screencap, the Atari 2600's graphics do a very good job of capturing the Metrodome's archaic playing surface.

There are no Major League teams in Super Challenge Baseball. There are two choices; red and blue. Coincidently, blue is the default home team, so it was easy to decide that they were the Twins. The road team is red, so I guess the White Sox have decided to wear their throwback red pinstripes tomorrow.

I had trouble adjusting to the first few pitches, and Santana got 2 quick strikes on Podsednik, who strangely decided to bat from the right side this game. Pods would recover after Santana threw two slow curves well outside, then leave a fastball over the heart of the plate that Pods drove to right field.

Santana was not himself early on. In fact, I couldn't tell if he was pitching with his right or left hand. The ball, which is completely square in the game, just came from where his head is supposed to be. It wasn't difficult to get used to, just a bit alarming that Santana appeared to be pitching without the aid of a head on his torso. -- Iguchi turned around a headless-Johan changeup for a HR off the left side of the screen.

Paul Konerko would follow with a single, and it was clear that Santana did not have it today. I was getting so bored that I stole second base with Konerko, eventually getting thrown out when I got greedy and tried for third on the catcher's throw to second.

It was then that Santana settled it with his changeup-fastball combination, striking out Carl Everett and an over anxious Aaron Rowand on changeups.

El Duque pitches a lot like the pitcher in the simulator. He can throw an eephus, fastball, change up, and a variety of slow and hard breaking balls. Duque would have had a 1-2-3 first inning if I had figured out how to control the defenders, or if I had a shortstop -- That's right, there are only 8 fielders in this game. Crazy. -- After the first two batters reached on errors, El Duque sat the Twins down in order.

The score remained that way until the 4th, when the game froze.

Circle this, Bert!
Sox - 2
Twins - 0