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Sorry I did not post earlier but I have been playing since 6 pm est. From boot up until I finally put it away at 12:15 AM all I can say is that I am very impressed for the most part. Being a hardcore sim gamer and after hearing the early reviews I was apprehensive when I purchased my copy. GLAD I DID!
I have only worked my way through the 2nd pre-season game but all in all if you are a fan of OOTP, Strat-o-Matic or even baseball mogul then this game is a no brainer buy!
I started off as the GM of the New York Mets. My 1st order of business was to look over my roster and check out my players, attributes, salaries, etc. They seem to have left lots of room for players to grow as Johan Santana is rated an 80, as is CC Sabathia. After grasping what becomes an average attribute for players I moved on to find that the players do not have the same contracts as they do in real life. I didn't see this is a biggie because I cannot tell you the contract status of my favorite Minnesota Twins players so 2K gets a pass here. The one thing I was suprised about however was the salaries and years players were asking for or they become free agents. Delgado wants 4 years at over 13 mil a year plus a signing bonus, Pedro wants 2 years at 12 mil per plus a bonus, etc. So, I did what any smart GM would do and parted ways with them. Delgado was a class "A" type free agent so I receive the 1st round pick of the team that signs him. Gm's seem to leave an early mark on their team and I did to mine....If you wanted a lot of money or years beyond what you were worth I said bye bye! Gone were Delgado, Pedro, Oliver Perez and others. I also dealt high priced Luis Castillo and Scott Schoenweis along with Aaron Heilman to Toronto for Adam Lind. Heilman for Lind could be considered fair but I gave up the extra talent to rid myself of the cash. After letting go of other spare parts, ala Luis Ayala and others, re-signing some younger talent and checking my arbitration eligible players I moved on to scouting.
I received 50 million to put into my scouting budget. I am not sure if all teams are the same but this is what the New York Mets received. I kept out of the Japan posting for 30 mil and instead spent my money in the western usa, southeastern usa, puerto rico and the dominican republic. We'll see how that turns out down the road as I have seen no results as of the 2nd pre-season game though I didn't expect to.
With my scouting over, the free agency period started and WOH, the free agents wanted cash! Manny wants 24 mil for 4 years (Cincinnati gave it to him), Sabathia wants 26 for 6 (and the Tigers delivered), Lackey wants 21 for 5 (he gets it from the Cubs) and Chipper, don't call me Larry, Jones wants 6 years and 26 mil? Where does Chipper sign? Minnesota!!! Enough said there! Free agent salaries, years, and who gives it to them are the only complaint I have to this point. What about me? Who do I sign? I cash in on a few young 19-23 year olds with minor league contracts to fill my farm system. It's not like I didn't have bids in on these players, I did...for rational money! At this point I am not happy with my catcher, have no 1B or 2B, am weak in the corner outfield spots and only have 3 starting pitchers. Thank goodness there were no injury carry overs as I would be looking for a closer too. A special thanks to 2K for keeping Billy Wagner healthy! As free agency rolls along I do manage to sign Mike Sweeney to a 1 year 600k deal in case I cannot land another 1st baseman. YEAH!
It's now time for the rule 5 draft and damn I have holes! With my 1st round pick I take Tony Abreu from the Dodgers. 2B,SS and 3B positioning and under 25 years of age with a good upside; he could be my starting 2B! In round 2 I select Mat Gamel from Milwaukee. Gamel reminds me of Kevin Kouzmanoff and I think with his potential I can find a home all season for him. I then pass on the remaining rounds.
Things keep moving along and I keep losing free agents. Carlos Delgado gets a 2 year deal with 13 mil per from some sucker. I cannot even land the flakey Oliver Perez who's demands keep changing. First he wants 8.2 mil a year for 3 years, a 7 mil signing bonus and performance bonuses. I come close and offer 7.5 mil per year, a 3 mil signing bonus and his performance bonuses. He turns me down and when I go back he NOW WANTS 14.2 mil per year for 3 years, a 4 mil bonus and his incentives!! Did I pi$$ him off? Oh well.... LOL.
The next process is the 3-5 year arbitration eligable players. I offer no one arbitration so I don't get to play this game. However, during this process something strange happens. It seems others don't want to play either and match demands of players. I go to the free agent list and find the likes of Ervin Santana, Russell Martin, Casey Kotchman, Rickie Weeks, Corey Hart, and a few others. I start to think..was I smart for waiting? What do these guys want? What they want are 1 year deals so they can test the waters next year. Well, I place my bids and wait and wait and wait. Finally, news in my mailbox! Ervin Santana wanted more than I offered and someone else gave it to him..UGH..Mark another pitcher off the board. Then, something wonderful..I finally have players seeing the light and I get Justin Duscherer for 4 mil for 1 year, Rickie Weeks for 4.5 for 1 year, Casey Kotchman for 4 mil for 1 year, Russell martin for 9 mil for 3 years and Corey hart for 5 mil for 1 year! That's 26. 5 million dollars and I have solved my 1B, 2B, C, 1 corner OF and 1 starting pitcher spot!!!! Take that Mr.Ramirez!! I know know I will have Ryan Church and Endy Chavez battle it out for the 3rd OF spot and unless something better comes along, Jonathan Niese will be my 5th starter. My budget for the season is 179 million and I have only spent 129 mil! 50 mil under budget if this is a winning team and the owners should be ecstatic. How do these guys gel? It's about time to find out.
The pre-season is here and in game one Johan Santana goes 5 scoreless while 4 other pitches throw a scoreless inning each to defeat St.Louis 7-0. Not a bad start. Just before game 2 it seems another arbitration loss becomes my gain as Mike Gonzalez comes aboard for 1 year at 2.5 mil! In my 2nd pre-season game John Maine matches up against Toronto's AJ Burnett (He re-signed with the Jays for 5 years and 21+ million dollars). I let Maine go 5 innings but he gives up 6 runs on 4 homers! I'm sure Luis Castillo and the boys had fun in the locker room with this one as Toronto wins 7-1. My only bright spot was a David Wright homerun in the 9th. You might be thinking wow, 5 homers in a game. Nah..game 1 had 2 extra base hits and no home runs. So far, the playable sim seems pretty well on.
I now save my game and head here to post and cannot wait to get back into it tomorrow night!
My view.....8.0/10 and if they can patch the salaries somehow it could be a no-brainer 9 out of 10!
Now, if you are looking for intricate manager modes or a 2K7/8 style game this is NOT for you. However, if you are looking for a great GM based game that will keep you entranced for hours then buy Front Office Manager! I'm glad I did!
....The author is a 43 year old male, married with 2 children and resides in Long Island, New York.
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