There are certain things in life that you can count on annually, some good, some bad. If you’re a fan of SCEA San Diego’s MLB The Show series, one of the best is the arrival of the fully edited minor league roster set, O.S. Full Minors, released by OSer MK Knight (Mike). Mike has been working on roster edits for various games now for well over a decade, including such games as High Heat Baseball (PC) and the deceased NHL 2K series.
For the last seven years, though, Mike has switched all focus over to the MLB series. What started out as a one-man operation has now blossomed into a full scale production, with several key Operation Sports members joining the fold. Mike readily admits that although in the beginning it was just him, he is more of a facilitator now than anything.
"The first few years it was just me, and that’s why they would come out so late," Mike said. "It was June before I could get them done and out.
"I teamed up with a guy from OS who was also doing rosters, and we decided to work on them together. We used to get all our information from publications like Baseball Prospectus and other [similar] magazines. There is only so much you learn from reading about a guy, so we figured since we got a lot of our information from other fans on the site, why not get them involved?"
If you’re a fan of the series, and have played it before, than you are very familiar with the online roster and player hosting software that Sony implemented into the game a few years back titled Player and Roster vault. The vault(s) allows players to upload edited or fully created rosters, or individual players for others to download and use in the game. Kolbe, a former SCEA developer who has since moved on to EA Sports, told Mike that the vaults were a by-product of O.S. Full Minors. While Mike thought this was a great idea, he felt it could be even better.
"I told Kolbe if you really want to do me a favor, add a player vault also," he said. "It was a godsend being able to share the files that way."
It’s evident that Mike has not only helped create and shape the roster sets over the years, but that he has had a real hand in shaping the game itself.
Mike has been a member of the Community Day Team that travels to San Diego and gives feedback to the game's developers about changes and additions that help improve the game for the fans out there. Mike has been part of that group for more than 5 years.
"When (Russell-SCEA) first called, I thought someone was fooling around with me -- maybe one of the guys from work," said Mike. "I was apprehensive at first ... this was kind of unprecedented; bringing in guys to the studio from a website, you know?"
Sony SCEA was one of the first group of developers to do this, but then other developers started to do exactly that. Not only bringing in guys, but creating true forum feedback panels to help mold their respective game.
Mike went on to describe what it was like doing interacting with the dev team, and how the experience is "quite different than what fans might think."
"Some people think we go out there and it’s like roses, as if we're just hanging out," he laughed. "It not like that at all. "We are always in their ear, always bothering them with new suggestions, and they’re really receptive to that, and really cool about it. I can’t begin to tell you how gracious and appreciative they have been. We give them a lot of grief, and they are really great about it."
When it comes down to it, though, the O.S. Full Minors have a much larger impact on the game itself than we realize. The hard work and effort put forth by Mike and the rest of the OSFM team does not go unnoticed, especially by SCEA.
"(Sony) loves the rosters -- they're amazed," he said with a chuckle. "They crack up, and I mean that -- they actually laugh. They have more people online the day (O.S. Full Minors) comes out than the day the game actually releases."
The anticipation level from all who download and use O.S. Full Minors is always evident, as it should be. The type of enhancement that these sets provide to an already stellar game is almost immeasurable, and will always be something that not only myself, but MLB The Show players from around the world have come to enjoy and appreciate.
The one constant feeling that Mike conveyed multiple times throughout the time I spent with him was how much he respected and appreciated the guys who help him do the rosters, and the fans who take the time to thank the group, and actually use them. Mike praises the group that helps him, and loves letting everyone know that "it's the OS Community (getting involved), and I'm just the mechanic that puts it all together."
It's been 7 years since Mike has started this project.
"I still love creating these rosters, and it's nice when I hear how much people are enjoying them," he said. "It's definitley a labor love for all of us, but we know how much the community enjoys them."
We do enjoy them, Mike. Never stop.
For PS3 fans wanting to use this years roster set the wait is coming closer to the end, and for PS4 owners the rosters should be out by the time the game drops on May 6th.