The Game: MLB Front Office Manager (2K Sports)
The Systems: PS3, Xbox 360, PC

If your heroes are Omar Minaya, Brian Cashman, and Theo Epstein, instead of Jose Reyes, Derek Jeter, and Dustin Pedroia, then this game was made with you in mind.

MLB Front Office Manager lets gamers do pretty much everything that a real-life baseball General Manager can do.

Chart your teamís progress through Spring Training. Make call-ups throughout a 162-game season. And then, if you've been a wise GM, you'll get to see them get a shot at the Big One: The World Series.

The real draw here is that you get to basically create your own fictional baseball universe. You can replace aging veterans with up-and-coming rookies. You can spend some time scouting the farm system to see if you can spot the next all-star sensation. Or you can work on making the one big trade for the player that could get your team into the World Series.

And, in a real-life twist, you can even see who's playing well in Japan, and then try to get these overseas stars onto your team.

Should you need guidance along the way, real-life Oakland A's GM Billy Beane offers virtual advice and encouragement.

Does all of this sound overly complex and heady? Would you rather simply throw fastballs and, alternately, swing for the fences? Sorry, pal, but this game isn't for you. Rather than control the action on the field, you simply watch from the luxury suites while occasionally calling down to the manager to influence play calling.

The game is split into two distinct gameplay modes. In Career Mode, you manage a team through a 30-year career that hopefully ends—if you play your cards right—with you being inducted into the Hall of Fame. As you play through each successive season, making trades, calling up rookies from the minors, etc. you gain skill points which can be used to bolster the weaknesses in your team's roster, and help you win more games.

The game's other gameplay mode is Online Fantasy Mode. Here, you take your game online to go head-to-head against 30 other Managers in the league. These other Managers can either be friends or total strangers looking for a challenge. At the end of the season, whichever GM is on top is declared the winner.

Any aspiring GM who's big into fantasy baseball will no doubt appreciate this disc. And anyone who's weary of the annual throw fastball/hit fastball baseball sims would do well to check out this deep and complex simulation.



    PROS:
  • Perfect for baseball stat freaks.
  • Surprisingly deep.
  • Online mode lets you determine who's the best GM among your friends.


  • CONS:
  • Bunt/hit/steal orders are usually ignored.
  • Menus are sometimes difficult to navigate.
  • Definitely not for all baseball gamers.