The folks behind Sony’s “The Show” major league baseball series — easily the best baseball franchise this console generation — pulled back the veil this week and showed off some of next year’s features to ESPN.com. It’s good to know Sony isn’t resting on its laurels, adding features like salary arbitration, September call-ups and other real-life baseball minutiae generally lacking from video game simulations.
But probably the most unexpected feature will let PS3 owners use the USB microphones that come with music games like “SingStar,” “Rock Band 2” and “Guitar Hero: World Tour” to record their own catcalls and stadium chants. Obviously, you can stick to the generic “Over-rated” or “We need a pitcher…” chants, but there are definitely points to be awarded for creativity. Here are a few suggestions.
1. When Alex Rodriguez comes to the plate, taunt the Material Girl’s newest rumored boytoy by leading the crowd in a rendition of “Justify My Love.” Or ask him to hum a few bars from the Dominican national anthem.
2. Ask Los Angeles Angels infielder Chone Figgins where Chatchi is (courtesy of my friend, Aaron Shinsano, a Santa Rosa native).
3. Tell Detroit Tigers DH/outfielder Gary Sheffield that you had dinner over at Barry Bonds’ house, and that the food was fantastic.
4. In your best Midwestern axe-scent (and believe me, I have a good one), tell Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer to “pour it on.”
5. Invite Detroit Tigers reliever Joel Zumaya over for your next “Guitar Hero” or “Rock Band” party.
6. Free agent pitcher John Smoltz missed most of last year with an injury and might retire, but if he makes it into the game, tell him his shirt’s looking a little wrinkled.
7. On a similar note, ask Colorado Rockies infielder Clint Barmes how that venison in Denver tastes.
8. Tell Philadelphia Phillies closer Brad Lidge that the Mets just traded for Albert Pujols.
9. Tell Los Angeles Dodgers reliever Joe Beimel that you flew all the way from West Virginia just to see him.
10. Ask Chicago Cubs ace Carlos Zambrano if he can recommend a good anger-management class.
My all-time favorite baseball trash-talk story? Before Game 2 of the 2003 National League Division Series between the Giants and Florida Marlins, a buddy and I watched the guy sitting next to us lay into Marlins right fielder Juan Encarnacion for his fielding ability (or lack thereof). After the Giants finished warmups, San Francisco outfielder Jose Cruz Jr. tossed a ball up to the guy who was mocking Encarnacion. Not only did the heckler not catch the ball, he proceeded to spill his beer all over himself in his unsuccessful attempt to do so. The ball crashed back onto the field and was tossed to another, more coordinated fan.