You're a baseball star!
To blow off some steam last night, I dug through my Neo Geo collection on HyperSpin and played my first game of Baseball Stars 2 since I was in an arcade (that means a VERY long time ago). I have fond memories of this over the top interpretation of baseball, and am pleased to say the game has aged very well. The presentation is top notch; if your pitcher is getting tired, you see a close up of his facial expressions changing. Get an awesome double play and watch the player who made the last catch casually spit his chew on the ground and grind it with his foot. The batters and pitchers all have multiple stances and swing styles, presented in a fun cartoon style.
Mechanically, the only thing I found frustrating was the lack of precise control over the pitching, which usually resulted in a very offensive-heavy game of big hits, though it is pleasantly complimented by dramatic defensive plays shown via "action packed" close ups of players diving to catch the ball one handed, or jumping over a sliding runner while hurling the ball to the next player in an effort to get that next out.
For the most part, today's sports games are overly focused on statistics and realistic presentation, which keeps Baseball Stars 2 feeling fresh, delivering a unique baseball experience that, so far, has had no direct or spiritual successor on today's powerful gaming hardware.
Oh, and after a scoreless game and a dramatic 9th inning with a few homeruns on both sides to tie it up, I finally pulled out a win in the 11th inning!