Magazine article Information Today

Sims Play Match Up

Magazine article Information Today

Sims Play Match Up

Article excerpt

First of all, this is just a disclaimer: Any Web site that opens up with photos of two members of the Baseball Hall of Fame is just dandy with your Field Correspondent.

Yes, we baseball aficionados are suckers for old pictures, as any number of eager sellers on eBay can attest. Several blackand-white beauties lurk just over the pitching shoulder even as this tome is being pounded out on the oF IBM (Thinkpad, not Selectric-some old things are better left alone, especially for somebody who never learned to type with more than four fingers).

Luckily for the avid reader, this month's site of choice has more than a couple of classic photos. At WhatIfSports.com, fans of history can match up classic teams.

Through technology called "iSimNow," fans of the 1962 Mets can find out if their amazin' heroes could beat the 1999 Yankees. The answer: No, not if the Mets' Felix Mantilla keeps getting doubled off second to end the game, as he did in Game 1 of a four-game series between the teams, which took a total of about 35 seconds to play.

Setting up contests (or four-game sweeps) in WhatIfSports.com's SimMatchup is so simple, even a (insert the name of the team you hate the most) fan could do it. There are teams from long ago and far away, allowing fans to play the Indianapolis Hoosiers, for example, who finished last in the American Association in 1887, against those Amazin' Mets. (Yes, there was someone the Mets could beat, although it helped that most of the 1887 Hoosiers were dead.)

There are options to play the games at the park of the designated home team, or anywhere else. Even with the game played on the Astrodome's worn-out rug, the Mets beat the Hoosiers, although the offense was severely limited by the dome's deep outfield and the fact that its site was a swamp in 1962 and controlled by hostile natives in 1887. You also can juggle lineups and pitching rotations, although we don't recommend sending poor ol'Roger Craig to the mound 42 times, the way casey Stengel did.

Each "game" generates a box score and an inning-by-inning play-by-play of a game that takes anywhere from 5 to 15 seconds to play, depending on your computer, your Internet connection, and whether you choose the 1964 Dodgers with Sandy Koufax on the mound (it took exactly 5 seconds to produce a 4-3 victory).

And if you're not into baseball history, there are similar SimMatchup games for virtually the entire history of the NFL, NBA, and NHL, as well as a nice selection of college basketball teams and seasons (the 1975-1976 Indiana Hoosiers seem to be able to beat anybody, although it's no fun without seeing Bobby Knight's red sweaters and redder face). …

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