R.B.I. Baseball was the most popular baseball video game for the Nintendo Entertainment System. It was not the best baseball game for the NES — that title belongs to Baseball Stars — but R.B.I. had player name licensing from the MLBPA and came out with yearly editions so it flourished over Stars and the also-under-appreciated Bad News Baseball and Bases Loaded during the late 80s and early 90s.
Now all you millions of R.B.I. Baseball fans get to take another ride. MLBAM, the league’s interactive media wing, has announced a spring launch for an R.B.I. Baseball reboot on all current-generation consoles and mobile devices. There isn’t much more information yet — only a Twitter feed, a one-page website and a logo — but the game is coming and will be the first attempt at a console product for the MLBAM folks.
We’ll assume that the R.B.I. Baseball 2014 presentation will be significantly different from the NES versions that hit North American shelves in 1988, 1989 and 1990. Which really is too bad …
José Bautista hasn’t appeared in the majors since 2018 but the 39-year-old isn’t done playing just yet. Last month, we learned via a report from ESPN’s Jeff Passan that Bautista is hoping to come back as a two-way player. He spent the winter working out as a pitcher.
Bautista had also been working with former Blue Jays teammate Marcus Stroman. Back in January, Stroman tweeted, “My bro @JoeyBats19 is nasty on the mound. We been working working. All jokes aside, this man can pitch in a big league bullpen. I’ll put my word on it!”
In March, Passan added some details about Bautista, writing, “I’ve seen video of Jose Bautista throwing a bullpen session. Couldn’t tell the velocity, but one source said he can run his fastball up to 94. His slider had legitimate tilt — threw a short one and a bigger bender. @STR0 said in January he could pitch in a big league bullpen.” Stroman retweeted it, adding, “Facts!”
Stroman reiterated his feelings on Tuesday. He tweeted, “Since y’all thought I wasn’t being serious when I said it the first time…my bro @JoeyBats19could EASILY pitch in a big league bullpen. Easily. Sinker, slider, and changeup are MLB ready!” Stroman attached a video of Bautista throwing a slider, in which one can hear Stroman calling the pitch “nasty.”
Stroman attached another video of Bautista throwing a glove-side sinker:
Replying to a fan, Stroman said Bautista’s body “is in better shape than 90-95% of the league.”
I am not a scout and won’t pretend to be one after watching two low-resolution videos. And Stroman’s hype is likely partially one friend attempting to uplift another. That being said, I’ve seen much worse from position players attempting to pitch. It’s a long shot, especially given his age, that Bautista will ever pitch in the majors, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see him get an opportunity to pitch in front of major league scouts.