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Hints and Tips by Inks71

Updated: 03/31/2004

MVP Baseball 2004 FAQ

System: PS2
Author: Inks71 (email:delfjac@yahoo.com, website: www.highaims.com)
Copyright 2004 Inks71. Please do not duplicate or post without permission.


3/30/04: Added "A Pure Swing Example"
3/22/04: Added "Alternating pitch speed" section
         Fixed numerous typos
3/18/04: First Draft

Table of Content
Section 1.   Things You Need to Know First
Section 2.   How I Play
Section 3.   Pitching
        3.1   The Basics
        3.2   The Setups
        3.3   Going for Strikeouts
        3.4   Giving Up Walks
        3.5   Additional Pitching Tips
Section 4.   Batting
        4.1   The Basics of Hitting
        4.2   "Pure Swing" Explained
        4.3   The Green Zone for Hitting
        4.4   A Pure Swing Example
Section 5.   Fielding
        5.1.  Outfield
        5.2.  Infield
        5.3.  Turning the Double Play

Section 1. Things You Need To Know First
This guide is intended to help you get the most out of playing MVP Baseball 
2004. If you already have a good understanding of baseball in real life, you 
really don't need this guide except some mechanical explanations of the game.

I don't profess to be an expert of this game; I simply try to combine my 
understanding of baseball (both real life and video games) with my experience 
playing MVP Baseball 2004 into a guide that can lessen your frustration and 
enhance your enjoyment of all the nuances this game has to offer. I do not 
have any inside information regarding the development of this game. It's 
possible for the game developers to find my tips erroneous.

I also assume that you already know the basic of playing this game. I will 
not be repeating much of the same information from the manual or from the in-
game videos.

I've played or at least tried almost all the baseball games available and was 
(and still is) a fan of High Heat. In my opinion, MVP Baseball 2004 is the 
best baseball game ever made. It does have shortcomings and limitations, 
especially for someone who is familiar with HH's stats tracking capabilities. 
But because of it fantastic game play, I'm willing to admit that MVP is leaps 
and bounds beyond any of its competitors.

Baseball is a game of statistics and probability. It's not about consistency 
and certainty. All this FAQ can do is hopefully raise your probability of 
winning. You can do everything right and still lose, or do everything wrong 
and still win.

Section 2 - How I play
This guide is based on my game setting. If you play on a different difficulty 
or have different game tuning sliders, some information here might not apply 
to you.

Dynasty Mode: St. Louis   
      Reason: good balance of power/contact hitters. In NL so bunting and 
strategic subbing come into play. Average budget which makes the game fair. 
In a division that has 6 teams, the schedule is less repetitive. I feel that 
this team gives me the best opportunity to experience all aspects of the 
game. I've previously finished a year with Red Sox and of course, the game 
appeared to be a bit HR happy (no kidding, I traded for Carlos Delgado and 
signed Pudge)

Difficulty: MVP

Game Sliders: all default (I have no problem with fielding, will explain 
later in the fielding section)

Batting View: 5-Pitcher/3-Center  (I used to play with the Angle view in 
2003. It lets you judge the speed of the pitch better so you don't swing too 
early on Changeups, but it sacrifices your ability to judge the location. I 
now find the Center view is the best for batting)

Fielding View: Zoom (Broadcast and Aerial give you a wider view of the field 
which can help you locate your player. But I like a closer look of the game. 
It makes no difference)

Strike Zone: Off

Hot/Cold Zone: On

Pitch Cursor: Off (I go by the feel of the controller now. But it's good to 
start with the cursor on. I will assume you play with the cursor on so it 
makes my explanation easier to understand. Once you have a good handle of 
pitching, being able to pitch without the cursor is quite fun) 

Fielding: Manual

Fielding Aid: On

Vector Line: Off (it's a distraction to me)

Throw Meter: On

Player Names: Off (doesn't matter either way. It can help you locate your 
player. See Fielding section)

Player Icons: Off (I actually use the scouting report before each game so I 
know my players and opponents before the game. They are distractions to me in 
the game)

Injuries: On

Errors: On

DH Rule: AL Only

User Slides: Manual

What my games are like: Fairly realistic. 3-5 runs, 8-9 hits in a game are 
common. I don't give up too many triples. Turn fair amount of double play. 
Strike out 5-6 with above average pitchers, 10 or more if using power 
pitchers. I give up 1-2 walks because I pitch around certain players in 
certain situations like you are supposed to (also it has to do with my cursor 
being off). I draw 1-3 walks per game. Sometimes I have a shutout, and 
sometimes a blowout, and sometimes CPU does the same to me. 

OK, let's get down to the business....

Section 3. Pitching

Here are some conventions I'd like to establish to help make sense out of 
this FAQ. 
1. I'll always use the View 3 (Center) in this FAQ, even though when I pitch, 
I have the pitcher cam on. 
2. Unless otherwise stated, I assume it's a RHP facing a righty situation.
3. I number the zones like the following diagram.
   |      |      |      |
   |   1  |   2  |   3  |
   |      |      |      |
   |      |      |      |
   |      |      |      |
   |   4  |   5  |   6  |
   |      |      |      |
   |      |      |      |
   |      |      |      |
   |   7  |   8  |   9  |
   |      |      |      |
   |      |      |      |

 Assuming it's righty vs righty, Zone 1 is "Up and in", and Zone 9 is "Low 
and away" etc

4. I use 3 basic corner descriptions for the locations of the target

  Location A: Inside the corner (The cursor is inside the strike zone, and 
the edge of your cursor just barely touches both edges of the corner and your 
controller should barely vibrate)

	Here is an example using zone 9. It applies to zone 1,3 and 7 as well.
                     ## |

  Location B: Right on the corner (The center of the cursor is right on the 
corner. Controller vibrates moderately)

	Here is an example using zone 9. It applies to zone 1,3 and 7 as well.


  Location C: Outside the corner (The cursor is outside of the strike zone 
but still barely touches the corner of the strike zone. You can feel the 
vibration of the controller telling you that your pitch is most likely going 
to be ball.)

	Here is an example using zone 9. It applies to zone 1,3 and 7 as well.


Here's a simple diagram of all the locations I use

C             C
 |          A|
 |           |
 |           |
 |           |
 |           |
 |           |
 |A         A|
C             C

Notice the absence of Location A at the upper left corner (Zone 1). That's 
not a good target because you need to be extra careful with up and in 

Section 3.1 The Basics
The first step to good pitching in this game is being able to consistently 
hit the green zone. In 100 pitches, you shouldn't miss more than 3 times in 
the green zone. (This doesn't mean you don't pitch balls. It means that you 
don't tip off your pitch and has a big bright "hit me" cursor showing on the 
screen for the batter)

I can usually use my starter until 35% stamina where some of his pitches only 
give me a thin line of green.

Most people don't have problem with hitting the green zone. The trick is to 
understand a few mechanics about the game and about real pitching.

1. Understand that the meter matches the animation of your pitcher and the 
speed varies depending on the pitcher.

2. If you never pitched a ball in real life, try it (I am serious). Get 
yourself a ball and try it out in the backyard. You will understand the 
windup and observe the release point (the moment you let the ball go to hit 
the wall). The release point is where the green zone is. Once you get a 
handle on it, it's very intuitive. You shouldn't even be too focused on the 
pitching meter. It's a matter of rhythm and feel.

3. IMPORTANT: for most pitchers, the speed of the pitch meter becomes faster 
once there is someone on base. This is because pitchers generally have a full 
windup when no one is on base to get more power out of the pitch. And when 
there are runners, he pitches from the stretch (shorter windup to prevent 
base stealing). Hence, the meter moves faster. However, some pitchers, 
especially relievers, always pitch from the stretch and their meters always 
move fast regardless of man on base. Derek Lowe from the Red Sox, though a 
starter, always pitches from the stretch (He used to be a reliever). If you 
find your pitching out of synch in the middle of the game, this might be the 

4. You can also sacrifice effectiveness for larger green zone. (I usually 
press the meter all the way into the red because I have no problem hitting a 
thin green line)

Section 3.2 The Setup
What is the purpose of Pitching?
 It's to get outs. It doesn't matter whether it's a ground out, pop out, or 
strikeout. Your job as a pitcher is to confuse the hell out of the batter so 
he couldn't put a good swing on the ball.

How? First, think about how the CPU gets you out. Have you been in a 
situation where you don't know what the hell is going on and swing at the 
wrong pitches, pass up the good pitches, and swing too late or too early or 
what have you. I bet you have. Well, what happened? Perhaps you got 
intimidated by a fastball so you swing early on the next slow pitch. Perhaps 
you got fooled by a curveball that dropped outside of the strike zone so you 
pass up on the next good pitch. 

Guess what, you can do exactly the same thing to CPU.

Here are the steps:

1. Always Pitch to the Corners
This is a no-brainer. But since I have friends whose knowledge of baseball is 
only limited to games, I'll have to explain. I was asked: "the strike zone is 
so big, why do you always have to pitch to the corners?"  Because they are 
harder to hit. And that is the essence of baseball. The pitcher tries his 
best to get the batter to hit a bad pitch and the batter tries his best to 
wait for a good pitch to drive before getting 3 strikes. If you wonder why 
you are getting hammered, perhaps you haven't been told to pitch to the 
corners. When you are pitching, there is no strike zone, only 4 corners. Of 
course, there are pitchers whose fastball can blow by you even when thrown 
down the center. And of course, the CPU probably strikes you out several 
times by pitching down the center. Bad news, you can't do that back to CPU, 
not at MVP level, not even at players who have a blue zone 5. Don't pitch to 
zone 5, ever! 
NOTE: To know if you are throwing a good corner pitch: if your controller 
does not vibrate at all, you are aiming too close to the center.
(Apology to the veteran players, I just have to get this part out of the way, 
I hate to have someone telling me my tips don't work only to find out he 
missed the first step)

2. Understand your pitcher
Your pitcher does not have all good pitches. You can see right on the screen 
which are his good pitches, and which one are his ok pitches. Besides giving 
you a larger green zone on the meter, his good pitches have a higher 
probability of getting a called strike when pitching to Locations B  – right 
on the corner (refer to the 3 basic locations above). Locations A is almost 
always a strike. And you can even get strike called once in awhile using 
Locations C. (from now on, I'm going to assume that you hit the green zone 
meter with full effectiveness in the pitch discussed) This is especially 
useful when you are facing a dangerous batter, you want to use your good 
pitch on Locations C and preferably combined with his blue zone and hope you 
can get lucky.
Every pitcher should have 2 bread and butter pitches (a fastball and a 
breaking ball), all the other pitches are useful also, you just have to use 
them correctly.
Your good pitches are the ones you want to use in a tough situation, throwing 
to Locations B or C. Your good breaking ball is also your strikeout pitch.

3. Understand your opponent
How you pitch has a lot to do with your opponent's ability, the 
aggressiveness of the batter (tendency to swing at close or bad pitches), the 
power and contact ratings.
A batter with high power but mediocre contact rating will rarely pull your 
low and away pitch for a homerun. And we all know that coming inside on a 
power hitter is one of the most dangerous things a pitcher can do. You can 
trick an aggressive hitter into swinging bad pitches easier than more 
disciplined hitters.

4. And here is a sample approach --

***** 0-0 Count *****
Start with a blue corner
A good way to start your pitching sequence is to Locations A or B (or 
somewhere between A and B) to a blue corner (outside corner is better than 
inside corner). If the batter doesn't have a blue corner, then pick a white 
corner (however, it's a toss up between red corner away and white corner 
inside), or blue side zone (again, outside is better than inside and make 
sure that your controller vibrates a little)

If you do this well (hit the meter, have the proper location and corner, 
using your good pitch), you are only giving up hits on this first pitch less 
than 5% of the time*. The other 15% of the time might result in a called 
ball, and 80% of the time is the result you want: weak grounder, fly out or 
pop out, or a foul/called strike. 

*Let's say you give up 10 hits, 2 walks and 1 error in 9 innings. Perhaps 
only 2 of the 10 hits are from the very first pitch. 2 in 40 At-bats 
(27outs+10hits+2walk+1E), that's 5%.

If you get a strike because of a foul ball or a swinging strike, you want to 
know if the batter swings early or late and by how much.

===== 0-1 Count =====
Obviously, you want to go for 0-2, but how you arrive at 0-1 and who the 
batter is will determine what you do.

If the batter did not swing at your first pitch, you can repeat the same 
process if you are not afraid of the batter (i.e. he is not a dangerous 
hitter), especially if you have a good fastball. Other good choices including 
going to a different blue corner or using a different (good) pitch. 

Let's say you arrive at 0-1 via a foul ball or a swinging strike:
If the batter was late on the first pitch, it means he's timing for a slow 
pitch. You want to go for another fast pitch or even faster (if your first 
pitch is already your fastest, then you can either do the same thing or 
change location).
It also depends on how late the first swing was. This rarely happens on the 
first pitch, but sometimes you'll see the CPU batter not only swings late but 
also looks totally stupid, then you definitely want to humiliate him by 
blowing him away with another fastball. (this happens more often when the CUP 
has a AAA call-up) 

If the batter was too early on the first pitch, it means he's anticipating a 
fastball. Then you want to give him a slow pitch to mess up his timing 
(changeups and curves are good)

Now, if you decide to repeat the same pitch and location of the first pitch, 
Remember to push the location out a bit. I.e. if you used Location A (inside 
corner), then go to Location B (right on corner). If you already used 
Location B, you want to move the location towards C but not completely 
outsides because you really don't want a ball. You don't mind the possibility 
of getting a called ball, but you just don't want to intentionally pitching a 

IMPORTANT: you absolutely do not want to repeat the same pitch and location 
if the batter's swing was not too far off. If the batter hit a foul ball 
that's barely foul (example: almost a HR), your next identical pitch is 
almost guaranteed to be a hit. Change the pitch and location.

===== 1-0 Count =====
If your first pitch resulted in a called ball, you want to be a little bit 
more careful on the second one. If it's a threat situation and you want to be 
careful, you can still use Locations B. But if the hitter is not really a 
great concern (i.e. opposing pitcher is hitting), you should opt for 
Locations A, which have a better percentage of getting a strike. Again, pick 
a blue corner if available

===== 1-1 Count =====
Treat 1-1 count like 0-0 count but don't use the same location and pitch as 
the first 2 pitches. Mix them up.

===== 2-0 Count =====
Now you are behind, you want to be really careful on the 3rd pitch. Still aim 
at corners as always. You want to use Locations A or even more careful if the 
batter is not a terrible threat. To have a better chance of getting a strike, 
make sure that your controller is NOT vibrating.

===== 2-1 Count =====
Treat this count similar to 2-0 Count. Aim for corners, mix pitch type and 
speed as usual.

Section 3.3 Going for Strikeouts

If you are interested in striking out your batter (not all pitchers are 
suitable for this task) here's how:

===== 0-2 Count =====
You have the advantage here and have balls to give. There is absolute no need 
for you to throw a strike. This is the count where the CPU batter will swing 
at bad pitches. Breaking balls (curve, sinker, etc) that break down and 
outside of the strike zone are great in this situation. Use Locations C only, 
or even further out. 

===== 1-2 Count =====
Almost the same idea as 0-2 count, just another chance. There is no need to 
be overly concern about another called ball.

===== 2-2 Count =====
Going to 3-2 count is not something you want to do. You can give Locations C 
another try if the batter is dangerous, otherwise, use Locations B.

===== Called 3rd Strike and Swinging 3rd Strike =====
The strategy describe above is geared towards getting a swinging strikeout. 
If the batter does not swing, you will definitely get a ball.

However, if you want to be careful about the count, particularly on 1-2 and 
2-2 counts, you might want to aim for a called 3rd strike. You use Locations 
A or B instead of C to accomplish this (Remember, even using Locations A, 
your controller should vibrate a bit). Yes, the chance for the batter to make 
contact with the pitch is greater (hopefully ground out or pop out) but if 
you do it correctly, you can make them look stupid by getting a called third 

What the batter has done to the pitch before has a lot to do with your 
approach. If you have noticed that he made contact with your slow pitch (slow 
curve or change up) but fouled it off, a fastball to a different corner quite 
often leaves him stunned.

If he has been pulling your fastballs, a curve to a low corner or changeup to 
any corner might also get a called strike.

Section 3.4 Giving Up Walks
Why would you give up walks?
Well, if the possible damage of giving up a critical hit (someone is on 3rd), 
an extra base hit, or a homerun is greater than giving up a walk, then you 
should consider.

We are not talking about intentional walks here. We are talking about 
pitching around a batter. Intentional walks are easy to comprehend: you don't 
want to face Sosa, so you walk him. Pitching around a batter is when you are 
facing a good hitter but iffy about walking him out right.

You use Locations B and C during the at-bat, and never Locations A because 
you want to be careful. You hope that he will swing at a bad pitch and get 
himself out, but instead, you get balls and fall behind.

===== 3-0 Count =====
In most cases, CPU will take one. You are safe to throw one over the plate. 
But I'd still be careful about it. An away side zone is good (Zone 6 for 
righty). And your controller should not be vibrating at all. Your cursor does 
not have to go all the way to the edge, just as long as it's not in zone 5, 
you should have a 3-1 Count right away.

===== 3-1 Count =====
CPU batters will swing in this case. Locations A are ideal. If you don't want 
to walk the batter, err on the safe side and make sure that the controller 
does not vibrate. If you are just a little bit concerned about giving up a 
hit, still use Locations A but have the cursor encroaches on the lines a bit 
more so the controller vibrates just a little. If you are really concerned 
about giving up a hit, use Locations B (or closer to C even, depending on 
your level of concerns). The probability of walking him is greater, but you 
also might get lucky and get a strike or an easy ground/pop out.

Throwing fastballs on 3-1 Count is dangerous, because the batter expects it. 
(You expect it also when you bat) However, in most cases, it's your best 
pitch and has the best chance of hitting your target. Again, depends on your 
concern and willingness to walk (and of course, your ability to hit the green 
meter accurately) you might want to use something else.

===== 3-2 Count =====
Anything goes, it's also a strikeout count. Not too worried about giving up a 
hit? Use the Called 3rd Strike strategy (use Locations A). Afraid of the 
batter? Use the Swinging 3rd Strike strategy (Locations B or C or somewhere 
in between).

Section 3.5 Additional Pitching Tips
1. If you are using a power pitcher, (Randy Johnson, for example) you can 
throw to low and away corner all day and do ok (mix up the pitch type a bit, 
but use primarily fastball and hit the same corner every pitch). You might 
give up 2 or 3 runs, but that's about it. Though, you can really get torched 
occasionally, and you'll definitely feel stupid if you lose a game pitching 
this way.

2. Rally
Has this ever happened to you? You are pitching fine, but all of the sudden, 
you give up 2 consecutive hits to the first 2 batters during an inning in the 
middle of the game, then the hits start pouring. You just don't understand 
it. You are making good pitches, strikes to the corners, but they just keep 
pounding you away. And the crowd is roaring if you are the visiting team.
It's a rally. This usually happens when your pitching pattern becomes 
predictable (you always throw a first strike low and away, or you always go 
inside-outside, etc). And now, they know you are desperate to keep throwing 
good strikes, particularly fastball corner strikes, and particularly low 
strikes because you want a double play. You are stuck in a ditch. And you 
need to do something unpredictable to get out of it. You might want to throw 
a few balls, really come inside on the batter short of hitting him, perhaps a 
few slow pitches. Send the manager to the mount. And hopefully the crowd will 
quiet down and your pitcher can regain his composure.

3. Alternating pitch speed (added on 3/22/04)
Though the strategy mentioned above works well in most cases, it's still very 
tough in MVP mode. I was experimenting with different pitch sequences and I 
found something interesting that you might want to try.
For several games, I've been pitching one fast pitch followed by one slow 
pitch and repeat to blue zones at the CPU hitters. I found out that when you 
throw a fastball to a CPU hitter, he waits for a fastball the next pitch. 
Then if you throw a slow pitch, he waits for a slow pitch the next pitch. So 
by alternating between a fastball and a slow pitch (I use predominantly 
curveballs and changeups for slow pitches), the CPU hitters always appear to 
be early on slow pitches and late on fast pitches. I've been able to hold the 
CPU to 6 hits or less for a few games now. Maybe you want to give this method 
a try.

Section 4. Batting
"Pure Swing" is a pure joy. If you ever used it correctly to hit a dead-on 
line drive, you'd agree that this batting system is the best ever created for 
a video game.

Many people seem to have problem with batting in this game, particularly 
playing on MVP level. Partially is due to the lack of information from the 
manual, and partially is due to the experience we accumulated from playing 
other baseball video games. I hope the tips I recommend here can improve your 
understanding of batting in MVP.

Section 4.1 The Basics of Hitting
The common problems for most players are: the inability to draw walks, high 
frequency of strikeouts, and the inability to make good contact with the 

Now, let's forget about hitting and the "Pure Swing" system for a moment. 
Before you can hit, you need to be able to recognize the pitch, work the 
count, and anticipate pitches correctly. 

To start off, here are the Primary Goals we want to achieve:
1. Minimize your tendency to swing at bad pitches
2. Get you to be aware of and understand how to work the count
3. Increase your chance of getting the pitch you want and to hit on your 
terms instead of the pitchers'.
4. Increase the probability of making good contact

Here's an exercise I designed that can help (It's not an exercise you need to 
do per se. It's just an easy way for me to illustrate my method. If you can 
comprehend it and use the approach directly in your games, great!)
1. Setup up an exhibition match, any teams will do. Make sure that you set 
the difficulty to MVP on both sides. 
2. Follow the approach described below.
3. You are only interested in hitting, so when an inning is over, switch the 
controller to play the other team.

Use the following approach:
1. Absolutely DO NOT use the analog stick for this exercise. Use the X button 
only. Using analog stick gives you a false impression that you are capable of 
hitting pitches outsides of the strike zone.
2. You want to be VERY SELECTIVE when you don't have any strike on you. (0-0. 
1-0 or 2-0 counts. 3-0 approach is different). You want to select an area to 
hit. No more than 4 zones. I.e. you can look for pitches in zones 1,2,4 and 
5; or 2-3-5-6, or 5-6-8-9, etc. You can focus on even less areas if you want 
(like 4 and 5 only – middle and middle inside), but make sure you always 
include zone 5.

3. You can anticipate a pitch to hit. It's not necessary, but if you have 
difficulty making contact, set your mind on a fastball. It could be difficult 
anticipating for the first couple of batters since you are not familiar with 
the pitcher yet. For the first few batters, you want to get a feel of the 
pitcher's fastball speed and breaking ball movement.

4. Before the ball is pitched, you should have a pretty good visualization of 
how the pitch is supposed to come and how/when you are supposed to swing. If 
the pitch is not close to how you anticipated (either zonewise or speedwise), 
let it go. EVEN IF IT'S GOING TO BE A STRIKE. This is the toughest part. We 
all have the temptation to swing at a potential strike. But don't. You have 3 
strikes to give, what's the rush?

5. Don't swing at borderline pitches and don't swing at corner pitches. 
Remember from the Pitching section, corner pitches are what we use to get CPU 
players out, why would you want to swing at them, especially when you don't 
have to. When in doubt, let it go. (Don't get too excited over the tipped off 
pitches. If the big bright white dot is not in the zone you want, you're 
better off letting it go by. Also, if the tipped-off pitch shows up in your 
zone, don't get too fixated and forget to gauge the speed of the pitch. You 
don't want to swing too early)

6. This approach will get you a lot of first called ball. And if you do 
swing, you are more likely to make good contact because it's hitting on your 

7. You can repeat the same process after the first pitch. But remember the 
  On 0-1 count – the likelihood of the pitcher throwing you a junk pitch is 
  On 2-1 and 2-0 count – the likelihood of getting a strike is greater.

8. There are also 3 pitcher types to be aware of:
 Finesse Pitchers (Mike Mussina, Greg Maddux) They don't have overbearing 
fastballs (92-93MPH at most). They have an array of good breaking balls. And 
they tend to throw balls to trick you into swinging.
 Power Pitchers (Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling) They have 
fastballs 94MPH+ that you can't react to and must anticipate. They tend to go 
after you with strikes
 Knuckleballer (Tim Wakefield, Steve Sparks). They are the SOBs. Don't use 
them in this exercise or you will go mad. Face them when you get better. Good 

You can bet on power pitchers to throw more fastball strikes, and you can bet 
on finesse pitchers to throw more balls. Since in this exercise you'll be 
batting on both sides, it's a good idea to pick similar pitchers for both 

9. If you get in to a 2-strike situation, then you are in a reactive mode. 
You can still gamble and anticipate if you want. But it's not a bad idea to 
be protective, and try to react to the pitch the best way you can. 
When the count is 0-2, the probability of getting ball is HUGE, especially 
for finesse pitchers. Be ready to NOT SWING.

10. On 3-0 count, normally you are supposed to take a pitch as in real life 
(unless your batter is very capable of hitting a HR, it's not worth it to 
swing at a 3-0 pitch just to get a hit). However, this is an exercise, and 
the goal is to learn to make good contact, so look for a pitch and swing away 
if you get the pitch you want. (It's not a bad idea to look outside. On MVP 
level, the CPU pitchers are very reluctant to come inside on you on 3-0 and 
3-1 situations knowing that's what most people are looking to hit)

11. In this exercise, you want to aim for getting solid contact. We don't 
worry about getting hits. Lines drive outs are good; hit hard to someone is 
ok. As long as it's hit hard. You'll find out that if you are looking for an 
inside pitch, you want to pull the ball (swing a bit early), if you are 
looking for an outside pitch you don't want to swing too late (this is kind 
of hard to explain. Outside pitches are naturally harder to hit. If you hit 
it right on, it's a comebacker to the pitcher. If you swing just a fraction 
late, you can put it between the first and second basemen. But since we are 
not using the analog stick, it's difficult to hit it hard the other way. But 
the goal here is to avoid pulling outside pitches)

12. Avoid "Bad Outs".
I define the 2 following conditions as "Bad Outs"
  a. 3-pitch strikeout.
  A common scenario if you have no control. Swinging at the first bad pitch, 
pass up on the second good pitch; and don't know what's going on the 3rd 
pitch. If you are using my approach, you should have plenty of opportunities 
to avoid this type of outs. You'd know not to swing at the first bad pitch; 
you'd know to be aware of a ball when it's 0-2.

  b. Hit a weak grounder or a pop up when there is no strike on you.
  When there is no strike on you, you should not be swinging at anything 
that's not close to what you are looking for. This is a situation when you 
are looking for an inside pitch, but just can't resist to take a whack at an 
away corner pitch that looks like a strike. It's understandable if you have 
one or two strikes on you to swing at bad pitches, but it shouldn't happen 
often with no strikes.

13. After playing 9 innings (54 outs, 27 on each side), if you can 
consistently get 1-2 walks, 10+ hits (combined, I know, 5 per team is a low 
number, but remember we don't use the analog stick at all), and less then 10 
"Bad Outs" (you have to count this yourself), you are in pretty good shape. 
This means you've learn to minimize your urge to swing at craps, you've 
maximized your chance to get a good crack at the ball and ready for the 
analog stick.

Another good way to gauge you patience is by looking at the opposing 
pitcher's pitch count (it's on the pause screen). If you can get the pitcher 
to throw 10+ pitches per inning, you are not doing too badly. If he only 
needs 6-8 pitches to end an inning, you are too impatient.

BTW, I'm sure you know never to swing at a tipped-off ball, right? The pitch 
that comes with a circle and X right in the middle. The only time you might 
possible swinging at them is when you are anticipating a 98MPH fastball and 
jumped the gun. 

Remember, hitting, is not guessing. Guessing is when you guess for an inside 
fastball and swing away regardless of the actual pitch. This is a systematic 
way of improving your chance of getting a hit.

Section 4.2 "Pure Swing" Explained (I try to, anyway)
The description from the manual and even the video explanation in the game 
are very simplistic. Once you get a handle on the system, it makes a lot of 
sense and it makes all other video game batting system obsolete.

===== The Key Points About "Pure Swing" =====

1. Timing is more important than how you use the analog stick.

From the previous exercise, you probably figured out that your batter is 
capable of making contact with any strikes as long as your timing is correct. 
If you watch the replay of your swing, you'll see that your batter tries his 
best to make contact with the ball regardless of its location.  

2. You have absolute control over the timing of your swing, but only some 
control over the type of contact your batter can make.

The position of the thumb stick is a general direction or objective you ask 
the batter to accomplish. Just like the manual says, hold up for a fly ball, 
down for a ground ball, etc. however, you must realize that because the 
batter is position on one side of the home plate, he cannot generate the same 
power to all 9 zones, and contact results from the zones are not symmetric. 
I.e. you cannot approach inside and outside pitches the same way, and you 
cannot expect the same result.

3. You cannot hit pitches outside of the strike zone well.

In many baseball video games, if you use the thumb stick or D-pad well, you 
can sometimes reach balls outside the strike zone and get a hit. This type of 
occurrence is rare in MVP. That's because the thumb stick is not a "reaching 

4. Moving the thumb stick to where the ball is pitched is not the only way to 
have good hits. "Pure Swing" is not zone hitting like in High Heat. The thumb 
stick does not tell your batter where to swing but rather "How to Swing"

5. To get a quick understanding of "Pure Swing", go to homerun showdown games 
and try out different swings.

===== "Pure Swing" in Depth =====

(Assuming the batter is right handed)

1. Up
Pushing the stick up tells your batter to lift the ball in the air, 
regardless of the location it's pitched. I.e. he needs to get his bat 
underneath the ball in order to lift it. Naturally, it's easier to lift a 
pitch that's already high, but you can still do it with a low pitch, provided 
that it's in the strike zone and your timing is perfect. If your timing is 
just a bit off, the common result is a weak grounder, or a pop up if you 
swing too early.

2. Down
Pushing the stick down tells your batter to hit the ball to the ground. He 
must get the bat on top of the pitch. And it's naturally easier to do with 
lower pitcher. However, this type of hitting can create interesting results 
for high pitches.
If the pitch is on the top of the strike zone, your batter might not be able 
to lift his shoulders high enough to get to bat on top of the pitch, but he 
might hit it squarely instead. A common result is actually a line drive. Yes, 
a line drive when the pitch is a high strike and you push the stick down.
Pushing the stick down for a low pitch is actually not a very good idea 
unless you know what you are doing. All you are doing is driving the ball 
hard to the ground. You might get good contact, but lots of groundouts. Just 
like in real life, low balls are tougher to hit, and when the defense want to 
get you on a double play, they pitch low. In many case, it's actually better 
to leave the stick in the center when hitting low balls, your chances of 
hitting a line drive over the infielders are better. However, in the 
situations where you need a ground ball (Hit and Run), you want to push the 
stick down.

3. Left
Telling your batter to pull the pitch. Pulling and push has a lot more to do 
with timing than the position of the thumb stick. However, using the stick 
can help especially if the pitcher has a very fast fastball. This position 
only works with center and inside pitches (zones 1,2,4,5,7,8). You chance of 
pulling an outside pitch using this method is next to zero. That's because 
this commend tells your batter to shorten his swing so he can get the bat 
head thru the strike zone faster in order to pull the pitch (if you miss, pay 
attention to the overhead p-i-p replay, you'll see the bat barely covers the 
strike zone). Remember, he also tries his best to make contact with the 
pitch, so an outside pitch is the direct contradiction of this commend. 
If you want to pull an outside pitch, the better way would be to leave the 
stick neutral and swing early, or even point the stick outside and swing 

4. Right
If you want to hit the pitch to the opposite side, this is the way to do it. 
If your batter does not have a high contact or a high power rating, this is 
the only way to counter outside pitches (or be patient). Pushing to the right 
works well with zones 3,6, and 9. Just like they are supposed to be in real 
life, outside pitches are harder to hit than inside pitches.
The timing for an outside pitch is very tricky. My advice is: don't swing too 
early. Most of the time, if you try to pull an outside pitch to the left 
field, all you do is hitting it off the end of your bat and weakly ground out 
to the second baseman. If you hit it squarely, you might get a comebacker 
between the second baseman and the short stop. And if you just hit it a tad 
late, you might be able to put it through the space between the 1st and 2nd 
basemen. However, the contact will not be strong because your swing does not 
have the chance to generate power. And if you are too late, it's another weak 
grounder again.
Moving the stick to the right side will cause your batter to lean in a bit 
and increase the power given to this type of contact, and get a better chance 
of driving the ball pass infielders.
Outside pitches are generally the kind you pass up when you have no strikes 
on you, unless you have a good reason: you have a man on first so the gap 
between 1st and 2nd basemen is larger; Outside is your batter's hot zone; You 
are executing Hit and Run; or the pitcher has a great fastball that you can't 
catch up and want to try a different approach.
For pitches that are in the middle column (zone 2,5 and 8), you normally want 
to pull them for power, but if you can't catch up with the pitch, it's not a 
bad idea to go the other way because that gives you just a fraction of a 
second longer to react and still be able to get a good hit.

5. Up and left.
This is the most popular approach. And in most cases, it works wonders. This 
position tells your batter to shorten up his swing and scoop the pitch high 
over the left field fence. This type of swing works well with zones 1,2,4 and 
5. It also works with low-and-in pitches in zone 7. It has occasional success 
with zone 3 and 8 depending on your batter and timing. Tough to hit zone 6 
and almost impossible to get a good contact from zone 9 (except possibly 
bloopers to the right field). If you don't want to think much about hitting, 
don't want to pay attention about hitting, this is the best casual way to 
play. Simply sit on one pitch and one general area and hope to get lucky. 
Also, hopefully you are playing with a team that has many power hitters, 
otherwise you are just hitting flyouts. However, in MVP difficulty, CPU don't 
come to this zone often, particularly in times when you think they might such 
as 3-0 or 3-1 counts. They are more likely to pitch you away especially if 
you have a power hitter in the batter's box. (In my games, CPU never pitches 
to Pujols inside on 3-0 and 3-1)
Anticipating to jack one out of the park this way is a sensible approach when 
you have no strikes and can afford to be picky. 

6. Up and Right.
This is similar to simply pressing right. However, besides giving more power 
to the outside swings, your batter will also attempt to lift the ball in the 
air. This swing works well with zone 3,6 and 9. Yes, it works with zone 9. 
You batter can hit a low and away pitch out of the park the other way for a 
homerun if you push Up and Right. It's a great way to hit if you need a fly 
ball (man on 3rd) and just can't get a middle or inside pitch to hit. It's 
also a great way to a triple. And in the situation where the CPU is setting 
you up for a double play, this type of swing is a good way to avoid it. (if 
you don't connect well, it's probably a weak grounder that won't result in a 
double play.)

7. Down and Right.
Going for a grounder away. This is a specialty swing. You want to hit a 
strong grounder pass the 1st and 2nd basemen. Your batter will attempt to get 
his bat on top of the ball just like holding the stick directly down, except 
with extra power to the right side.
It works with zone 3, 6 and 9. You actually can get good line drives hitting 
zone 3 pitches this way. Just like trying to hit high pitches holding down, 
your batter cannot get the bat high enough to drive the ball to the ground 
but hits it squarely instead. However, if your zone 3 is a cold zone, there 
is no way the batter can get the bat on top of the pitch, not even close. All 
you do is hitting pop-ups.

8. Down and Left.
You are asking your batter to pull a pitch into the left side for a ground 
ball hit. Again, can result in line drive when approaching pitches in high 
zones. If your contact rating is low, you won't even be able to touch balls 
in zone 3,6 and 9. This is a specialty swing just like the one above.
But because of the natural arc of a swing, this type of swing can also scoop 
low-inside pitch for a single to the left field.

Remember, your thumb stick is not about where to swing, but how to swing. And 
your batter's performance, besides contact rating, has a lot to do with hot 
and cold zones. For example, if your batter has a cold zone 2, his ability to 
do what you ask for in that zone is low. He can't pull or push pitches well, 
and if you ask him to hit down hoping to get a hard line drive, you can 
forget about it. All he'll do is hitting pop ups. Usually all he can do in 
the cold zones is trying to make contact. And if your timing is good, he 
might get a hit. Let's say your batter has a hot zone 2 and cold zone 8, if 
you hold down to swing at a pitch coming at zone 2, your batter has a good 
chance of getting a line drive, even though your thumb stick is pointing down 
at the cold zone 8. Thumb stick position has nothing to do with swing 

Occasionally, Hot zones can be a mix blessing. For example, your batter has a 
hot zone 6 (outside). You ask him to hit an away grounder intended to go 
between 1st and 2nd basemen. You swing just a little bit early, and it 
becomes a grounder directly to the 2nd baseman. However, with another batter 
who has a cold zone 6, and since he is incapable of following orders in the 
zone to drive the ball to the ground (i.e. get his bat on top of the pitch), 
he simply hits it over the head of the 2nd baseman. Yes, that can happen.

My description is a very generic and simplistic outline of Pure Swing. You 
will encounter many many incidences where the results don't even come close 
to what I describe or what you have in mind. I can't stress enough, timing is 
far more important than the analog stick. If you want to hit the ball the 
other way but pull it instead, you swing too early. Any time you get an 
unusual or unexpected result, use the replay feature to find out the contact 
point, you'll gain much insight to the Pure Swing system in no time.

Q. It's so complicated, why can't I just point the analog stick at the pitch?
A: Of course you can. It's a lot of work to make "Pure Swing" work. It 
demands a lot of attention and mental focus. You probably noticed during your 
exercise, whenever your mind wanders, you do horribly. I sometimes play it 
just like that, simply pointing the stick at the ball. And that's also how 
the in game tutorial tells you to play. Most of the time, you'll do ok, the 
only area lacking in this type of approaches is the low balls; you might hit 
into more double plays than you prefer. I just want you to know that you have 

If you've ever correctly taken an outside pitch to the opposite field for a 
HR, smack a high pitch to the ground for a Hit and Run, hit a line drive 
comebacker over the middle infielders, you'd truly appreciate the beauty of 
the system.

Section 4.3 The Green Zone for Hitting 
The idea of hitting is to make contact in the Green Zone. (Not the Green Zone 
for pitchers, the Green Zone for batters). What Green Zone? Please watch the 
in game MVP tips video, "Art of the Hitting". It explains to you that Green 
Zone is where your swing can make good contact; Yellow Zone is where your 
swing makes so-so contact, and the White Zone is probably for no contact.

You can't see these zones in the game, but they exist nevertheless.

The size of green zone varies according to the location of the pitch, the 
batter's contact rating, hot and cold zones, and how you position the analog 

The green zone is large for pitches in zone 5, small for corner pitches 
(that's why we pitch to the corners). Large in red squares and small in blue 
squares. Also small in away squares.

Green zone is earlier (close to the pitcher) for inside pitches and a little 
bit late (closer to the catcher) for outside pitchers. That's why we swing 
early on inside pitches and a tad late or not too early for outside pitches.

When you move your stick to the outside to hit the ball the other way, you 
increase the green zone in that area. 

Green zone is huge for tipped-off pitches.

Green zone is almost nonexistent if your low contact rating batter tries to 
pull an outside pitch.

When I say "if your timing is correct…" I mean that if you are capable of 
hitting the green zone regardless of its size.

You know when you hit the green zone because you hear the crisp and sweet 
crack of the bat sound and it's very satisfying.

Timing, is all about hitting the green zone. 

Section 4.4   A Pure Swing Example
Here is a scenario that might clear up some confusion about Pure Swing

Scenario: 2 different Right-handers trying to hit a low-and-in fastball for a 
HR over the left outfield fence

BatterA: Power 90, Contact 50, Zone 7 is Cold
BatterB: Power 50, Contact 90, Zone 7 is Hot

Situation 1: Hold the stick up-left

BatterA: Zone 7 is already cold (i.e. lower chance of contact) plus holding 
the stick up (i.e. decrease the chance of contact even more). He can't make a 
good contact so it doesn't matter whether his power is 90, 100, or 1000. His 
power is not going to be effectively transferred when the contact is made. 
Most likely a week grounder or pop-up depending on the timing.

BatterB: Zone 7 is hot (high chance of making a good contact), even though he 
holds up, which decrease his chance of making a good contact, he is still 
quite capable of hitting the pitch in that zone if the timing if right. Once 
a good contact is made, all his power, though average, is effectively 
transferred and used to lift the ball out of the park. A likely HR result, 
but also could be a fly out.

Situation 2: Hold the stick down-left

BatterA: Zone 7 is cold, but holding the stick in that direction increases 
his chance of making a good contact. His is directed to hit a ground ball, 
but since it's his cold zone, his ability to following the command precisely 
is decreased. It'd be good enough that he makes solid contact. Once the 
contact is made, it has a good chance of being a line drive due to the 
natural arc of the swing and players tend to swing early when hitting inside. 
Since he is very powerful, his 90 power rating is applied to the ball due to 
a good contact and very likely hit a line drive HR.

BatterB: Zone 7 is hot, holding the stick in that direction increases his 
chance of making contact even more. In addition, he can follow the command 
well (i.e. get on top of the pitch to get a ground ball). If he hits it well, 
it's a fast ground ball, hopefully through the infield. If the timing is a 
bit early, he might hit a line drive instead. He is not that powerful and is 
not told to lift the ball, so when he hits a line drive, it's not going to be 
out of the park. If he is lucky, he might get a hit, if not, the ball might 
be caught by the left fielder.

There are many factors that influence the swing system. You really have to 
understand your batter and the situation to take full advantage of the 

Section 5.   Fielding
Fielding can be the most troublesome aspect of the game. You can get better 
at pitching and hitting, but you can only do well in fielding as long as the 
CPU doesn't choke on you.

Section 5.1.  Outfield
Most people don't have any problem with a routine fly ball, even if you need 
to use the right analog stick for Big Play Control moments. The most common 
problems in the outfield are - giving up too many triples, and have a late 
jump on the ball.

Here are a few things you need to know about fielding:
1. Despite what you might feel, the CPU usually does a good job of assigning 
you with a fielder who has the best chance to catch the ball. Mistake happens 
when you think you should be controlling one fielder but in fact, you are 
controlling the other and taking him down the wrong direction.
2. When CPU assigns a fielder for you to make the catch, the others fielders 
run back up paths. (They actually run them correctly)
3. There is about 0.5 to 1.0 sec delay after the ball is hit and before you 
can have control of the assigned fielder.
4. During this brief delay, all fielders are running at the correct 
directions, including yours.

You job is to:
Quickly identify your fielder and continue the path he is on before you take 
over. You need to move the stick to the direction he's running before the 
transition, otherwise he will stop and go (or slowdown) and frequently let a 
catchable fly ball turn into a blooper hit or worse.

Here is a likely scenario of confusion:
The ball is hit between left and center fielders. You assume that you are in 
control of the left fielder and immediately press down-right to chase the 
ball, but in fact, the CPU assigns you the center fielder and all you are 
doing is sending you center fielder to the first base direction, while the 
CPU controlled left fielder is running the backup path (towards the wall).

===== Tricks for locating your assigned fielder =====
1. The fielder you control has a white circle underneath him. And if you have 
the player name option on, the nametag will appear underneath your fielder.
2. Unfortunately, both the circle and the name usually show up late. By the 
time you see them, you fielder already stops running.
3. You have 0.5 to 1.0 of time to decide, don't move your stick right away 
after the hit, moving the fielder to the wrong direction is more damaging 
than not moving or moving late.
4. The fielder that has the "L1" label on him is NOT the one you are 
controlling. And in most cases, it's only a decision between 2 fielders; it's 
easy to find him this way. Besides, unlike the circle and nametag, "L1" label 
shows up right away.
5. Turn off the player icon option. You don't need it. If you are playing 
Dynasty mode, you should know who your outfielders are and their capabilities 
before the game. You should also use the scouting report to know your 
opponent. There is no need to use icons. They inhibit your ability to quickly 
find the "L1" label.
Let's revisit the scenario:
As soon as the ball is hit and the camera switches view, don't jump the gun 
by immediately moving down-right. Judging by the view, you should know right 
away the choice is between the center fielder and the left fielder. You see 
the "L1" tag next to the left fielder, you immediately press down-left 
(because you know you are in control of the center fielder by process of 
elimination. You already roughly know where he is supposed to be, you know 
where the ball will land, you don't need to locate him before you move. You 
move first then fine tune his path).

===== Reducing unfair triples =====
Ah... the notorious CPU cheap triples. Some triples are legit, like those hit 
to the right field, or the batter is a fast runner. Some are questionable, 
especially the ones hit to the left side of the field by average speed 
hitters. They are usually the result of bad fielding, not slow fielders.

Here is usually how it happens:
The ball is hit between the center and left fielders. It is closer to the 
left fielder so you think you should be in control of the left fielder. But 
no, CPU assigns you the center fielder. Why? Because that's an easy double 
and the left fielder doesn't have a realistic chance of catching the ball. 
The ball will reach the outfield wall and bounce towards the center fielder. 
If you think you are in control of the left fielder, you probably move the 
center fielder out of position by the time the ball bounces towards him. 
Worse, if you hit the "L1" button to control the left fielder, all you can do 
is chasing after the ball for a long time. Even if you haven't moved the 
center fielder out of position much, he is no help because you know that the 
CPU controlled fielders don't field the ball when yours is in close 
Instead, if you realize that you are in control of the center fielder and use 
him to field the bounced ball, you can hold the runner at the second base.

It's still not safe after you field the ball. You need to know where to 
throw, the best way is to throw to the third base (hit the square button) and 
immediately hold R1 to cut it off with your shortstop. If you don't cut it 
off, the ball will die down somewhere before reaching the 3rd base and 
allowing the runner to reach safely. If you do it correctly, you'll see the 
runner thinking about taking third but return to second right away. 

===== Bloopers =====
In most cases, you are deciding between 2 out fielders to control. However, 
if the hit is a lazy shallow blooper, CPU might assign you an infielder. This 
is particularly tricky. If you can identify the situation quickly and 
correctly move the infielder outward without any hiccups, your infielder can 
make the catch. But if you just hesitate a bit or have a wrong initial move, 
you might want to tap L1 right away and have your outfielder come in if they 
are reasonably close by.

CPU does tend to get a few cheap bloopers in every game. Still, with 
practice, the number can be reduced.

===== Other Outfield Tips =====

-Know your limit. It's a temptation trying to catch everything and trying to 
throw everyone out at the home plate. Don't. You should know who's running 
the bases, your outfielders' strength and make the correct throws.

-It's better to give up a base hit than trying to reach for a tough catch and 
risk the possibility of letting the ball go by (i.e. a triple). The only time 
you do this is in a do or die situation (Bottom of the 9th, last out, man on 
3rd). If you are up by 1 run, you don't mind a single, but you don't want to 
give up a triple.

-If you can't make the catch, you should move your fielder to intercept the 
path of the ball before it reaches the wall instead of running directly 
towards the ball.

-You can add more power to your throw to the home plate. When there is a man 
on 3rd and you get a high fly ball (you have plenty of time to get your 
outfielder in position) you can move the stick up after the fielder locks in 
position. This will cause him to move to the top of the circle (the fielding 
aid). Press and hold the X button BEFORE you catch the ball, and you'll see 
him does a short running catch and throw the ball to the home plate. (You 
still need to release the X button correctly after the throw meter shows up)

-When throwing to the home plate, don't let your throw meter go into red. 
Offline throws are useless. Also, be aware of other baserunners. If the play 
at home doesn't have a good chance, you are better off throwing the ball to 
2nd base so other base runners don't advance on you. 

Section 5.2. Infield
Some key points about the outfield still apply to infield.
1. CPU tries to assign you the optimum fielder (still true, I'll explain)
2. You still have a fraction of a second before taking control of the 
fielder, and they all move correctly before you take over.

(NOTE: my description of the fielding mechanics is not 100% accurate. The CPU 
behavior is not always consistent and I can't figure out why. But at least I 
can get my fielders to perform as instructed 90% of the time)

===== Normal Fielding =====
You move your fielder in position. LET GO of the stick once he fields the 
ball, then throw.
This way, your fielder will try to get a good footing before throwing. Most 
obvious for the Shortstop --- he runs towards the third base to catch the 
ball. After he fields (No Big Play Control). He stops and plants his right 
foot, then throw to the first base. This is the way to throw if you have 
plenty of time to get the out. A fielder who's already running towards the 
throw direction might not slowdown to plant his foot (he doesn't have to)

===== Throwing on the Move =====
You move your fielder towards the ball. CONTINUE to hold the stick towards 
the running direction after the catch, and throw. In this case, your fielder 
will throw on the move without trying to get a solid footing first. If you 
are using Derek Jeter (or other good Shortstops), you'll see them hop and 
turn in the mid air to throw to the first base. Be aware of your throw meter, 
the chance of committing an error is greater than the Normal Fielding 
(particularly on MVP level)

===== Preload Your Throw =====
If you hold down the throw button before the fielder catches the ball, he'll 
try to get rid of it as soon as he catches it. (The throw meter will still 
pop up and you still need to release the button correctly). It can be done 
both in stationary or running positions. If your fielder is running when you 
preload your throw, he will do something similar to Throwing on the Move.

===== Big Play Control =====
Your fielder can jump up or take a bigger step to catch the ball when needed. 
And if the situation requires, he can leap and dive. This is a problem area. 
Leap is just like what an outfielder does, jump sideway in the air trying to 
catch a line drive. Dive, he slides and hits the ground trying to stop a fast 
ground ball.

To perform a leap, your right analog stick needs to be at the top half of the 
circle, and to perform a dive, use the lower half.

Let's say you are moving the second baseman towards the second base to stop a 
fast groundball that gets pass the pitcher. Your left thumb stick point up-
left. You need to execute a Big Play in order to catch the ball so you move 
your right thumb stick to up-left position as well. It's only natural. But 
instead of diving down to stop the ball, because the right stick moves to the 
top half of the circle, the second baseman leaps as if trying to catch a line 
drive and let the groundball go to the outfield. It's ugly. You need to 
remember down for dive, up for leap regardless of his running direction.

===== Throwing after Big Play Control =====
If you hold down the throw button while executing the Big Play, your fielder 
will do some nifty moves. You get to see him toss from the knee; toss from 
the knee and roll over (common for 2nd baseman), bare hand toss etc. The only 
tricky part is the throw meter. The meter can be very slow or very fast 
depending on the Big Play. If you release the button too early, your fielder 
will toss the ball softly and waste the Big Play effort, if release too late, 
he might commit and error. You want to pay attention under these 
circumstances and don't assume all throw meters move at the same speed.

===== The Problem Areas =====
When pitches are hit between the first and second basemen, CPU has a tendency 
to give you control of the first baseman. Yes, it's the optimum choice 
because he indeed is capable of making the catch. However, your reaction is 
frequently too late to utilize the first baseman, and you prefer to control 
the second baseman. What usually happens is you watching the CPU controlled 
second baseman letting the ball go by when he is also perfectly capable of 
catching it. This is because CPU fielders do not field the ball when yours is 
close by. (They will get in the position, but just won't catch it) Though, 
sometimes you can get lucky if your first baseman is way out of position and 
CPU switch your control to second baseman before the ball gets by. Ideally, 
you want to quickly tap L1 and use the second baseman to catch the ball.
The same thing happens on the other side between the 3rd baseman and the 
And for direct comebacker, CPU will initially give you control of the 
pitcher, once the ball gets by him, CPU MIGHT switch control to the shortstop 
or 2nd baseman for you. If you can tap L1 early enough, you are in good 
shape. What you don't want to do is tapping L1 too late, especially just a 
fraction of a second after CPU gives you the correct fielder.

Another issue with infielder is that they cannot lead the throw.
For example, your first baseman comes in to field the ball and your pitcher 
moves over to cover the first base. In real life, the first base man will 
throw the ball to first base before the pitcher gets there so both the ball 
and the pitcher arrive at the same time. Unfortunately, MVP fielders in this 
game can't do that. They only throw if someone is there. If you wonder why 
sometimes your first baseman won't throw the ball to the pitcher covering the 
first base, this is the reason. You can either wait, or keep hitting throw 
button until the meter shows up. Sometimes the meter will show up, but the 
player won't move at all. You don't have to worry much in this case, he's 
just waiting for the pitcher to get there, and he'll throw once the pitcher 
is in position.

Have you seen hits off pitcher's foot? This is the reason I don't turn the 
player name option on. When a ball is hit off the pitcher's foot, you might 
have a hard time finding it if the name option is on, especially with a long 
last name, the text covers up a good chuck of the grass in from of the 
pitcher and making locating the tiny white dot difficult.

The worst part is the animation stutter. You might have seen this before. For 
whatever reason, your fielder just won't throw the ball as expected after 
fielding it. This happens more often when a fielder runs forward to catch the 
ball and is still in motion and unbalanced when you want him to throw. It 
looks like he's having trouble getting the ball out of his glove. And it 
happens more if the target is 180 degree from his running direction. None of 
these situations is a problem. Usually you just have to keep trying until he 
throws. The real killer is when you want a double play...

Section 5.3. Turning the Double Play
-Preload your throw is usually necessary. And it's always necessary if you 
used the Big Play Control (leap or dive) to catch the ball.
-If there is going to be a takeout slide, I would choose to release the 
button earlier. Even though the throw to the first base might be softer, the 
alternative is no throw. There is rarely an overthrow to the first base 
because before you can charge up the meter to the red zone, you are already 
taken out by the runner.
-On a 3-4-1 Double play (1st-2nd-pitcher covering 1st), you want to make sure 
that your throw to the second base is accurate so the second baseman can 
return it faster.
-The worse CPU problem regarding the Double Play is not the animation 
stutter. It's the inability to change my mind. I can live with the notion 
that my fielder is having trouble getting the ball out of the glove. But once 
I realize that the double play is not going to work, I should have the option 
to abandon it in favor of getting the out at first base. But no, the fielder 
will still throw to 2nd base.

That's ok. Because I can use it to my advantage...;)

======>Extra tips: beating the rundown
If you ever get caught in a rundown, don't give up easily. You can beat it. 
Because the fielders are not allowed to change their minds once they decide 
to throw, you can change your direction as soon as you see the guy chasing 
you is about to throw. He can't stop his throwing motion to tag you out so 
you'll have enough time to get pass him and back to the base safely. 
(hopefully by the time you touch him, the ball is already out of his hand and 
in mid-air). If you can do this successfully, you can be quite callous about 
taking a big lead when trying to steal base. When the pitcher throws the ball 
to the first base and your runner hasn't moved, tell him to run to the second 
base instead of returning to first. Then try to beat it in a rundown.

There is a reason why I have no problem with the default sliders. The CPU has 
advantage in some areas, and can be cheap in some areas, but I also have my 
advantage in some areas (more accurate pitching) and can also be cheap in 
some areas (better base stealing). So I think we are about even. 

---- Hopefully, more to come -----

(Feel free to contact me via email. But I do apology beforehand if I can't 
get back to you in a timely fashion.)

Copyright (c) 2004 Inks71
website: www.highaims.com

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