The Backyard Sports franchise is one of the most beloved sports gaming franchises there is. It combines the greatness of actual baseball with the cartoonish aluminum power bats and under grounders. The original players were joined by some major leaguers in the 2001 version of the game. Some of those names include Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and Mike Piazza. The developers included at least one player from each Major League team. Starting today, we will be going division by division to decide who would represent each team in a current version of Backyard Baseball. We start today with the National League East.
Atlanta Braves – Freddie Freeman
The past representative from the Braves was Chipper Jones. Chipper was the perfect player for the early versions of the game. He was a career Brave who went on to have a hall of fame career. My choice is someone similar. I believe that Freddie Freeman should represent the Braves in a new edition of Backyard Baseball. He has been a career Brave, a four time all-star, and won an MVP.
Miami Marlins – Starling Marte
Next on the list is the Miami Marlins. This one is a little trickier as they don’t have that star player or team legend that would be the obvious choice. In the past, Cliff Floyd was the Marlins representative. If this was a few years ago, it would have been a three way race between Giancarlo Stanton, Christian Yelich, or JT Realmuto for the representative. However, Derek Jeter blew that promising team up. Therefore, I have to go with the most talented player on the Marlins today, Starling Marte. The former Pirate and Diamondback is the Marlins best player and was off to a great start to the season before landing on the IL.
New York Mets – Jacob DeGrom
The Mets have many players I could choose to represent them. However, I am going with the obvious in Jacob DeGrom. DeGrom would take on the role that Randy Johnson did in previous games; the obvious choice for the best option at pitcher. The Mets previous representative was hall of famer, Mike Piazza. DeGrom would join Piazza as the pros to represent the Amazins.
Philadelphia Phillies – JT Realmuto
One might think that Bryce Harper should be the choice for the Phillies. However, there must be a couple catchers in the game and Realmuto is the best catcher in baseball. He can hit, he can throw, and he can run. A DeGrom and Realmuto battery team would be unstoppable in Backyard Baseball. Realmuto would join Curt Schilling and Jimmy Rollins as Phillies representatives.
Washington Nationals – Trea Turner
Similar to the Mets, the Nationals have many different players I could choose from. There is Juan Soto, Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, and my choice, Trea Turner. Every Backyard Baseball game has that one player who is an absolute burner on the basepaths. In previous games, it was Ichiro. In my version, it is Trea Turner. Turner can player shortstop or center field and can hit. You can use the OP bunt and run strategy like you do with Ichiro, or keep it on the line drive setting. Turner would lead the backyard league in stolen bases in every season.
Once a week, I will break down each division and choose each team’s representative for a new Backyard Baseball. Not every choice will be the team’s best player (see Freddie Freeman over Ronald Acuna and Trea turner or Juan Soto). Each choice is who I would believe best represent each franchise in this style of game. If you disagree, feel free to let me know! I want this to be a fun conversation. Next week, we will take a look at the National League Central.
-Pete Chatterton (@Pchat12)
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