Make your own difficulty level – Using slider bars, users can control almost anything in the game to make a completely tailored MVP Baseball 2004 experience. Post your preferred sliders in the MVP forums. We love to hear what you guys think!
Quick change – Substitutions are just a click away using our all-new bullpen and dugout menus.
Hit the ball where it's pitched - Try to aim the stick where you think the ball is going to be pitched and time your swing properly for best results. Some people will wait for their pitch. If that's your strategy, pick a spot and wait for a pitch to be thrown there. If you get down two strikes, one strategy is to swing at anything close.
Timing is everything – It's not everything, but it's still very important. Even if you do all the right stuff with the stick, it won't matter if your timing is off.
They're watching – Pitchers will develop a dynamic scouting report on you as the game goes on. They will get hip to your tendencies, analyze your successes and failures and adjust accordingly. You can access previous at bats using the Pitch History feature.
Charge! – After getting beaned, you have the ability to charge the mound and let the pitcher know what's on your mind. Rest assured you will be tossed from the game and probably suspended (suspensions in Dynasty Mode only), but it could fire up your team. On the flip side, it could cause further ejections and possible injuries.
Lay one down – Pick your spots and try to bunt for a base hit. Be careful to not show too early because as soon as you show a corner infielder will charge.
Checkmate – Letting go of the swing button during a swing will cause a check swing. The earlier you let go the less the bat will go through the zone and vice versa. Be careful of checking your swing on a ball in the zone, though, because you could get an unwanted "excuse me" swing and a little dribbler.
Cover all angles – When you are attempting to run down a fly ball to your side it's not always wise to run right to the spot where the ball is going to land. You need to judge the velocity and trajectory of the ball using the vector line and decide if maybe it would be wiser to take a wider angle to the ball or just play it off the wall. Remember, the easiest way to give up a triple or inside the park home run is to misplay a ball in the outfield.
Big Play Control – Make your own highlights with Big Play Control. All you need to do is time your attempt properly and you'll be flashing the leather like a Gold Glove winner. The key is to move the stick in the direction where you want to make the attempt. For example if you want to dive for a ground ball to your left (screen relative) push the stick at about 7 o'clock and he will make a spectacular attempt.
With Big Play Control your fielder can perform dives, slides, wall climbs and many other spectacular fielding plays. Remember these plays are not easy and many times will result in misses or drops. Make sure you have backup because, if you miss it could mean extra bases. That warning aside, the satisfaction of robbing a hit is worth the risk.
Psych! – When you get a runner into a rundown, try using our fake throw to confuse the baserunner. It looks just like the real throw and more often than not your opponent won't know what happened and you'll make the out.
When in doubt, Preload – Preloaded throws have been totally overhauled this year and in order to be successful you need to learn how to use them.
# Double plays – start your throw before receiving the ball at second base to cue a lightning-quick double play throw.
# Cutoff man – on throws to the cutoff man the key is getting rid of the ball quickly.
# Diving plays – after fielding the ball on a dive, preload to cue throws from knees (if you are within range).
# Bang-bang plays – if the play is going to be close, preload to get the quickest possible throw off.
A couple of things to remember about preloaded throws. First, preloaded throws are more prone to errors than non-preloaded throws. Second, because the key is getting rid of the ball quickly, preloaded throws don't have the same velocity as regular throws. This is important to keep in mind if you are trying to make a long throw from the outfield. It might be wiser to catch the ball and have a run at it.
Choose your throw – There are three different types of throws in MVP 2004: standing, on the move and on the run, and each has their benefits and downside. Use the throw that will make the play with the least amount of risk. Don't know what the risk is? Check the throw meter. More red means more risk. It's as simple as that.
Throwing to uncovered base – If you try to throw to an uncovered base, be prepared to wait until the covering fielder gets there to start the throw. The benefit is that you can run to the base once you cue the throw and until the throw commences. This may be the quicker and safer way to make the play. If you decide not to run, he will make the throw ASAP.
Variety is the spice of life – Like in real baseball, batters will figure out your pitching patterns if you don't mix it up a bit. Move the ball around and change speeds to have the most success.
An effective pitch is a successful pitch – Fill up the pitch meter to have the most success. Low-effectiveness pitchers will have a rough time getting outs.
Pitches Gone Wild – Make sure you nail that accuracy zone on the pitch meter or risk throwing a ball or even worse a wild pitch.
Send a message – Users can now throw a bean ball with one push of the button. Make sure you know the situation, because too many bean balls could spell ejection for your pitcher.
Take your base – Similar to one button hit by pitch, users can throw a one-button intentional walk.
WAY wide – Think the runner is going? Try a pitch out and get a bit of a head start on the throw and a little bit of a boost.
Pickoff mind games – Keep the runner close by having your second baseman or shortstop deke to second base.
Keep the runner close – If that runner has a big lead at first base throw over to keep him on his toes. Don't use your best move every time, though, because your best move is your highest risk move.
Take a breather – Use mound visits to give your pitcher a break or to give your bullpen pitcher some time to warm up. Use your mound visit wisely because an ill-timed visit may upset your pitcher.
Just getting warm – Use foresight and warm up your pitchers before there is too much trouble brewing. Check on their readiness using the bullpen menu. It's also worth noting that pitchers in different roles have differing warm-up lengths.
Big Play Control – EA SPORTS Big Play Control is also prevalent on the base paths. Using the right stick you control lead-offs for the currently selected runner or every runner on base. Also new this year is user-controlled slides. There are many reasons to attempt user control slides but here are a few:
# Determine where a throw is coming from and slide away from it.
# Slide into the pivot man trying to turn a double play to break it up.
# Go head on into the catcher to knock the ball loose.
Conservative Runners – This year we decided to give users more control over their runners. The first thing we did was make the user runners more conservative. Your runners will only try for the extra base if you instruct them to do so; if not, they will play it safe.
Alright STOP – Runners can now be stopped on the base paths. This is especially helpful in run downs and in going half way on fly balls.
Don't fall asleep – If you are trying to steal, the CPU will not be afraid to throw over to pick you off. Take a big lead wisely because the further you are from the base the easier it will be for the pitcher to nail you.
Use the PIP – Effective runners will branch out from "advance all" and "retreat all" and run using the D-pad, controlling one runner at a time.