Classic handheld game to ‘suit everyone nicely’ until ballclub comes back to Richmond
Officials today are praising a wide-ranging plan to bring baseball back to the city by next summer, an effort that will give each former Richmond Braves fan the classic 1978 Mattel Electronics handheld baseball game as a “strategic holdover” until the city can land another team.
The resolution – supported by the mayor and passed last night by City Council in a 9-0 vote – ensures that the nearly 60,000 Richmonders who attended Braves games before the team moved to Georgia this year will be given Mattel’s $30 electronic Baseball game to play in summer 2009. A nine-volt battery will not be included.
“Despite the Braves having moved away, we have made sure that citizens will continue to have baseball in Richmond,” an ecstatic Mayor L. Douglas Wilder said in a press conference, holding high in the air the shoe-sized, tan-colored gaming box. “Invite your friends over [to your home], grab a hot dog and beer [from the grocery store or refrigerator], and up to two people can play baseball [at once, on each electronic-baseball gaming device].”
Added Wilder: “It’s as exciting as the real thing.”
Mattel spokesman Janice Grebosky said the game’s controls were made to mimic the feeling of going to a Braves game at The Diamond, so long as players sit in an uncomfortable metal chair while playing. City Council passed a resolution that set aside nearly $1.9 million for the games, which, at $30 apiece, is roughly the cost of R-Braves season tickets.
The plan also settles all conflicts and years-long disputes over the building a new ballpark in the city, “as those fans who enjoy baseball can bring that feeling into their own homes, be they on the Boulevard or in Shockoe Bottom,” she said.
City resident and former R-Braves fan Jaime Cross said he was hoping for a Class-AAA team to move into Richmond before next year, but noted he would be “one of the first in line” for the handheld game when they are distributed at the start of spring training.
“There’s really nothing like a warm summer night with friends out at The Diamond,” he said. “But when you think about it, this is like having that same feeling right in the palm of your hand.”
“We do want to point out to users that, being 30 years old, the controls on these games are a bit difficult to master, making it particularly hard to hit the ball,” she said. “But of course, we see this as yet another similarity, as the Braves had this problem for many, many years, as well.”