Virtual All-Star Game is Preview of the Real Thing

Denver, July 2, 1998 — The National League triumphed over the American League 7-5 today, as two legendary major-league baseball managers faced off in a virtual preview of next Tuesday’s All-Star game that was so real you could almost smell the hot dogs.

Today’s computer simulated all-star game, played at the Pinnacle All-Star FanFest in Denver using a specially enhanced version of Microsoft Baseball 3D, featured the actual National League (NL) and American League (AL) lineups chosen by fans for the real all-star game that will be played July 7 at Coors Field. In Microsoft Baseball 3D, the virtual players mimic the appearance and athletic strengths and weaknesses of their human counterparts to create an incredibly authentic baseball experience for the personal computer.

Davey Johnson, who was last year’s American League Manager of the Year with the Baltimore Orioles and managed the New York Mets in their 1986 World Series win, led the virtual NL All-Stars to victory over the AL All-Stars skippered by Dick Williams, who managed the 1973 World Series-winning Oakland Athletics and four All-Star teams. Each manager was teamed with a Microsoft game master, who carried out his manager’s directives — from pitch selection to player substitutions.

Today’s virtual game had all the excitement of the real game fans are looking forward to on July 7. In the second inning, the AL All-Stars took a 2-1 lead, which was quickly erased when Atlanta Braves’ third baseman Chipper Jones hit a home run to tie the game 2-2. The Braves’ first baseman Andres Galarraga broke a 5-5 tie in the bottom of the eighth inning when he scored on a triple by Vinny Castilla of the Colorado Rockies. Atlanta Braves’ catcher Javy Lopez’s single to left field drove in Castilla to give the National League all-stars a two-run lead. The American League team never recovered. With Cincinnati Reds’ pitcher Jeff Shaw on the mound at the top of the ninth, the American League team took three quick outs and to end the game. The Rockies’ star outfielder Larry Walker won the game’s Most Valuable Player award with a 2 for 4 performance, including a 464-foot home run in the bottom of the third.

Although Walker won the MVP Award, the highlight of the night may have belonged to American League outfielder Ken Griffey Jr. of the Seattle Mariners, who hit a 547-foot home run in the top of the eighth to tie the score 5-5. The Baltimore Orioles’ Roberto Alomar also hit a home run.

“I thought I’d have an edge in this game because I was one of the first managers to actually use computers in managing my real baseball team,” Johnson said.

Williams countered, “I wasn’t nervous facing Davey, despite his computer experience. The beauty of this game is that it’s just like the real thing, it still comes down to fundamentals — making the plays, the proper substitutions, the little things. Davey’s team was just a bit better tonight.”

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