It took the better part of a month, but we’ve finally reached the point where games are unremarkable or otherwise not exactly worth the novella that previous entries received. In fact, the two most interesting things to say about Tommy Lasorda Baseball have precious little to do with the game itself: a) he abandoned his gay son and refused to reconcile even as his child died of AIDS, a diagnosis Lasorda denies to this day; and b) Tommy Lasorda appears to be played by a melting Bill Clinton in a rare video game cameo by the then-Arkansas governer. The decision to put the manager of the LA Dodgers (who were fresh off of winning an exciting 1988 World Series against the Oakland A’s who were managed by Tony La Russa – who also received a Genesis baseball game named after him) is an inexplicable downgrade in star power, considering that the game is effectively a sequel to 1988’s Reggie Jackson Baseball. But regardless of the relative mediocrity of Tommy Lasorda Baseball (released without the questionable endorsement outside the US as Super League), the game enjoys some moderate fame as the first 16-bit sports game in any region, which was enough to give the titular manager himself a crippling video game addiction:
But regardless of my contempt towards the mascot (whom has plenty of contempt [audio, not work safe] of his own), Tommy Lasorda Baseball is not a bad game by any means of qualification. The only real sin is that the game has the misfortune of being one of the first simulation style sports games, which in the late eighties was a style of game design that was still much less realized than it would care to admit. The real fun (presumably) is in juggling line-ups and statistics on your fictional team of identical looking men each known only by a last name of five letters or less. Most of these stats are apparently buried in the manual, which I was unable to find a copy of. But for a baseball buff at the time, there were very few console games that allowed the juggling of statistics that comes with the fandom. While the game understandably lacks trades or a draft, there is a thirty game season for the truly devout to lead their favorite unlicensed facsimile team to the World Series. The presentation was full of flourish, with interesting details like worn dirt around the bases and the outfield coach calling which way a hit ball is going. The amount of voice samples are outright impressive for a 1989 cartridge game, and helped play a major part in lending credibility to the game as the simulator for baseball fans.
So it’s unfortunate that once you get past the presentation, the game itself is little more than serviceable, if a bit clunky. (As you are bound to notice, Sega had some serious issues with employing any sort of isometric views in the camera angles of their games during this time.) The biggest issues come from the terrible controls. Due to the lag from switching camera angles, picking off baserunners is impossible, and your outfielders display a distressing amount of nonchalance at their job. The computer naturally does not face any of these difficulties, and as a result, the game is simply just not very fun in single player.
However, in the interest of making your Tuesday a little more edifying, I recorded a few minutes of playing the game through a password that causes massive glitches throughout every aspect of the game. From pitches randomly speeding up to ground balls that roll at the speed of light past outfielders frozen in place, entering the code VU9lrstpomXcZTiebrHWyW leads to a much more interesting game for the few minutes it takes for the game to lock up when the computer hits the ball so hard that it never lands: