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You can wear retired numbers on MLB 2K11. And this bothers some people.

Mar 10, 2011, 11:05 AM EDT


Whenever I see stuff like this I make this face.  But I do think the writer — Max Parker, “The Game Guy” of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Community Voices section* — is, in fact, serious:

I received an email today that informed me of an outrageous and heinous error inMLB 2K11. Among complaints about the commentary and controls, the email from Drew, a Pittsburgh native, shed light on the following unthinkable blunder: “they allowed for one of the computer generated players I drafted onto the Pirates to walk out onto the field at PNC Park in a #21 jersey.  NUMBER TWENTY-ONE!  ON THE PIRATES! I’m sending it back to 2k Sports and demanding a refund for damages.”

That’s Roberto Clemente’s number, of course, which the Pirates have retired.  And while the “refund for damages” comment is probably hyperbole, the writer does seem to be serious in asking that MLB 2K11 remove the ability for users to play with retired numbers on their players.

Which is crazy talk, of course. The point of retiring a number is so that Lastings Milledge or someone doesn’t wear it out on the field in front of Pirates fans and God and everyone.  It’s not to keep me from being able to pretend that the character I created on a video game is the illegitimate grandson of Clemente, discovered playing ball on the streets of Carolina, Puerto Rico and secretly groomed in a private training facility in the mountains of western Pennsylvania, only to be revealed to the world during a fictitious Game 7 of the World Series where he hits the winning pinch hit home run off the illegitimate grandson of Whitey Ford, who happens to be wearing #16 for the Yankees.

You know, just by way of, um, example.

*An earlier version of this post omitted Mr. Parker’s name. Mr. Parker took issue with this on Twitter, complaining that I violated “Journalism 101” by not giving him proper credit.  Apologies to Mr. Parker. In my defense — which I realize is not sufficient — I was merely following Courtesy 101, which would have me not call out people by name when they’re making a really ridiculous point. But seeing as though Max Parker would like everyone to know that he’s genuinely upset that video game characters are allowed to wear retired numbers, I hereby make the correction.  Let no one say that Max Parker abides the notion of pretend baseball players wearing retired numbers.  And let no one say that I don’t abide the concepts of “Journalism 101.”

  1. Travis Reitsma - Mar 10, 2011 at 11:22 AM

    Also, it’s extremely easy to change players’ numbers in that game. If people are serious about this then obviously their lives need a little more…shall we say…Pazzaz?

  2. Brian Murphy - Mar 10, 2011 at 11:38 AM

    I think he’s kidding about the refund threat, but damn. It’s a video game.

    “I was playing this Grand Theft Auto game and I was appalled! I would crash into someone else’s car, but the driver wouldn’t exchange insurance information! If I killed someone and then walked two blocks from the scene, everything was seemingly forgotten. WHERE IS THE REALISM???”

  3. marshmallowsnake - Mar 10, 2011 at 11:39 AM

    Why do people get worked up about lame things like this? It is a uniform number…in a video game…not reality (for some) who cares?

  4. Andrew - Mar 10, 2011 at 11:53 AM

    In MLB: The Show, the only number you cannot wear is #42. (Random tidbit that contributes basically nothing to this post).

    I don’t know if it works the same in MLB 2K11, but you can change jersey numbers for all players in The Show, so at least in that game, if someone’s wearing a “forbidden” number, it just takes a couple seconds to change the number.

    • Mr. Furious - Mar 10, 2011 at 12:33 PM

      If only #42 is forbidden in “The Show,” it’s a recent development. In MLB09 and MLB10, officially retired numbers are skipped over. Unofficially retired numbers are fair game, so you could see a player wearing, say, 21 or 51 for the Yankees, but not 3 or 4.

      My “road to the show” player had #4 listed as his official number, and he ended up wearing #6 for both the Yankees and Dodgers.

      • Andrew - Mar 10, 2011 at 3:26 PM

        I have a PS2, it’s a bit behind the times.

        #42 hasn’t been available for at least the last 2 years, and I’m assuming this year’s version as well.

    • kellyb9 - Mar 10, 2011 at 1:18 PM

      … Unless you are Mariano Rivera.

      • Andrew - May 7, 2011 at 3:31 PM

        Yeah, except him.

  5. b7p19 - Mar 10, 2011 at 11:57 AM

    This is obviously not important in the grand game of life. However, I am surprised they haven’t already thought of blocking retired numbers. These games claim to strive to be as realistic as possible and this seems like an easy thing. THINK OF THE KIDS CRAIG! We can’t have those little nerdy snot nosed munchkins running around thinking #21 isn’t the most important number in Pirates baseball! I don’t play video games, but this still angers me. Blocking the numbers will make kids ask their fathers why they can’t be #3 on the Yankees or #19 on the Padres which will lead to a glorious story telling moment.

  6. Gobias Industries - Mar 10, 2011 at 12:52 PM

    My version of MLB 2K11 has Kendrys Morales’ name spelled wrong. Refund!

    • Andrew - Mar 10, 2011 at 3:28 PM

      For a while, in Create A Player, you couldn’t have hyphens, apostrophes, periods, or spaces in the person’s name, along with a last name limit of about 12 letters. Having Jarrod Saltalamacch or RA Dickey in the game was annoying.

  7. kellyb9 - Mar 10, 2011 at 1:20 PM

    I bought XBox cause I like video games… I bought PS3 because I like baseball. The Show IS the best baseball game going.

  8. glitz22 - Mar 10, 2011 at 3:15 PM


    You really missed the mark here. It’s pretty clear that the original article was not meant to be taken seriously. The author says as much in the comments section of the link you posted. To write a post based on an incorrect assumption of an author’s work’s and offer an snide, sarcastic response still based on that assumption when the author demands credit for his work is poor form. Lazy, lazy work.

    • Craig Calcaterra - Mar 10, 2011 at 3:24 PM

      I’m sorry, but I don’t see how this was not meant to be taken seriously. There’s certainly nothing in the body of the post to suggest it.

      As for the author’s comment, he wrote it after I wrote this post and, it should be noted, after he was aware of me mocking it.

      But even in the comment, he calls this “an overlook” and says it should be something that should be fixed. He clearly does believe that the game should not allow you to have fake baseball players wear retired numbers. That’s the very point I’m mocking here, and it’s one which he seems to believe. The only part the author seems to repudiate is his reader’s “return for damages” part, which I admitted in my post was probably hyperbole.

  9. sportsdonbest - Mar 10, 2011 at 3:39 PM

    The issue here is: The makers of MLB The SHOW and 2k11 strive to make these games as detailed and realistic as possible. For them to allow someone to wear #21 in Pittsburgh is as far from realistic as you can possibly get. They missed a pretty big detail in Major League Baseball.

    As for Travis Reitsma (any relation to David?) – come on dude, really, you are going to question pizzaz? How much Pizzaz does a guy have who lurks around articles and comments on them all day have?

    For the record, I believe RBI Baseball for NES is far superior to any of these gimmick baseball games that appear today!

  10. glitz22 - Mar 10, 2011 at 3:48 PM


    You’re right. The comment was clearly written after this post. My apologies. Still, despite the fact that there is nothing in the text that explicitly suggests that the post shouldn’t be taken seriously, it’s not that great a leap of faith to read the post and interpret it as over the top. As for calling the inclusion of retired numbers as “an overlook,” technically it is. I think it is reasonable to read the article and conclude that the author is making light of a minor glitch that would irk die hard baseball fans and that he is providing an exaggerated response.

  11. cerveceros82 - Mar 10, 2011 at 4:14 PM

    I can’t believe anybody would actually utilizes the Pirate organization in a video game…

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