Tommy Lasorda Baseball
Release Date: August 14th, 1989
It’s not a good system launch without a baseball game and the Genesis is no different here with Tommy Lasorda Baseball! The legendary Dodgers manager becomes the mascot that youngsters of the time attach to baseball forever. We’ve played this game before on the Sega Master System when it was Reggie Jackson Baseball, so we need to find out if this upgrade is worth it.
The music here is really bringing me back to what I enjoy about the Genesis sound capabilities. After looking at Tommy’s smiling mug, you can set several options, and then pick a team to start a season with. Detroit is my crew and if you look at the player names, they were on the Reggie Jackson Baseball team. Set your pitcher, lineup, and play ball! Both batting and pitching have a view from behind the pitcher, AKA the correct view.
Pitching isn’t complicated. You can move left and right on the mound to set the starting point of your pitch. You can throw a fastball by holding down when you throw and a change up if you hold up when you throw. You can control movement left or right while the ball is moving to the catcher and is the only real strategy you have. If I face an opposite handed batter with a full stamina pitcher, I can strike him out by curving the ball in toward him every time. Once the stamina dips below a certain point, that tactic is gone. You can call a timeout and switch pitchers if your Ace is getting tired. Their stamina stays lower to start between games, which I found to be a nice touch.
Batting is all about timing. You can move around in the batters box to get in your best position, but the opposing pitcher is not going to make it easy for you. They throw balls all the time, but I have a lot of trouble holding up on the swing. I’d have a ton of hitless innings, then all of a sudden, everyone would hit the ball great. I found out that for fast runners, I could lay down a bunt with the A Button and tilt the bat to 3rd base and get a base hit. Esau on Detroit was also good for a stolen base most of the time. Sometimes, I felt that the only way I’d get a hit if it was a home run.
Fielding has received an upgrade from Reggie Jackson. First, when a ball is hit into play, the fielder that you are in control of is called out by name. That way you know who you’re running with. You can either throw or run to bases when you have the ball. You’ll still miss a play every once in awhile thanks to errors. Always at the worst time… Defensive shifts can be set before throwing and can help get you in position for an easy out.
Everything looks good. Not great, but certainly the best looking baseball game we’ve seen, yet.
The music changes every three innings and when someone is on base. I like them all. The voice samples are clear and helpful.
You get a season mode here, but pitching just isn’t very deep.
I felt a lot of catch up AI. If I got ahead and started to feel good, that’s when errors or runs of hits would happen against me.
Fun Factor: 3.5
You want a fun early baseball game? This is what you should go for.
Overall Grade: 3.2
Tommy Lasorda Baseball earns a B+. I would be surprised if this doesn’t win out as the best of the Genesis launch titles. Three more to go!