My Gaming Tribute to the Lakers and Dodgers

The L.A. Lakers and L.A. Dodgers both are champions together for the first time since 1988.

Congratulations to the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the Los Angeles Dodgers of Major League Baseball (MLB) for becoming champions in their respective leagues in 2020. Some dissenters would seek to take away both teams’ accomplishments due to the seasons being shortened, but teams still have to compete to earn their championships regardless of the circumstances. Both the Lakers and Dodgers adjusted just like everyone else to the altered schedule. Both teams also had to go through a full postseason to win their respective championships.

A time-honored tradition for me as a gamer is to replay championship games within my sports video games. For instance, I’ll play the college football national championship game on NCAA 14. Or use ESPN NFL 2K5 to replay the Super Bowl, video game style. My games of choice for the recent NBA Finals and World Series were NBA 2K14 and MLB The Show 20.

Jimmy Butler and the Heat versus LeBron and the Lakers takes place in NBA 2K14 with the URB mod.

NBA 2K14 on PC is my favorite NBA video game of all time. The amount of mod support for the game is tremendous and I believe the gameplay is superior to that of the more recent NBA 2K games. The URB mod by skoadam not only keeps the game updated through the present, but also has a wealth of historical rosters that comprise a large sampling of NBA history. Major props to everyone who has contributed to this ongoing and amazing project. This mod was what I used to recreate Game 6 of this year’s NBA Finals between the Lakers and the Miami Heat.

Just like in real life, LeBron James (above) and the Lakers were too much for Jimmy Butler (above) and the Heat.

Because I looked to simulate real life, I used the Lakers and let the computer control the Heat. It seemed in the second quarter that I was easily going to pull away as Duncan Robinson was the only offensive threat that was consistent for Miami in the first half. But Butler came alive in the third quarter where he scored the bulk of his 20 points and sparked a comeback that erased my double-digit lead and put Miami temporarily ahead. In the final quarter, I slowed the game down and focused on running the offense through James and Anthony Davis.

The result was a 126-119 victory in a very fun duel. LeBron James and Davis scored 28 points apiece with three other Lakers scoring in double figures. Butler scored 20 points and Robinson had 18 to lead the Heat. I thoroughly enjoyed playing with the Lakers’ bench, which made me appreciate the depth of L.A.’s reserves. Also, James had 10 assists and 3 blocks.

Recreating Game 6 of the World Series in MLB The Show 20 was a blast.

MLB The Show 20 is the best baseball video game that I’ve ever played. It’s just a shame that it is a Playstation 4 exclusive so Xbox, PC, and Nintendo Switch owners are really missing out. There are many who would rank MVP Baseball 2005 are their standard of virtual baseball excellence, but I believe The Show has surpassed it. San Diego Studio has maintained a high level of quality over the years and I appreciate that the developer has not allowed its brand to deteriorate. Baseball games were the first sports games I played on home consoles when I was younger and they will always have a special place in my heart.

Kike Hernandez’s two-run homer in the 7th inning put me ahead for good against the Devil Rays.

Using the game’s “Living Rosters,” I set up a game between the Dodgers and the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at Global Life Field. I also used the same starting pitchers with Tony Gonsolin for L.A. and Blake Snell for the Rays. As in real life, Tampa Bay went up on me early in the second inning with a homer, except it was by Austin Meadows instead of Randy Arozarena. I tied the score at 1-1 in the bottom of the 2nd, but it was Kike Hernandez’s two-run home run in the 7th that broke the game open. The Rays threatened in the 8th by scoring a run and cutting my lead to, 3-2. But Chris Taylor’s solo shot in the bottom of 8th gave me the cushion I needed to finish off Tampa Bay, 4-2. Justin Turner ended up going a perfect 4-for-4 in the game.

So there it is. I enjoy recreating real life games and seeing if I can pull off a similar result. At times, I may be the other team and rewrite history. This is one way that I infinitely extend the shelf life of my sports games, no matter how old they are. My thanks to all of the roster creators out there that help to make this possible for people like me, as well as the developers and publishers behind the games that become timeless.


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