Now that you've (hopefully) read Part I of this Road to the Show Guide you've got you created player ready to hit the field and start down the path to a Hall of Fame career. Here in Part II we'll cover some gameplay basics, especially in the field, and also discuss off-the-field aspects like training points, advancement goals and coach interactions.
We left off with you selecting a team to "sign" with, so now you're ready to get things going. But before you get right into your games it's best to familiarize yourself with the various menus you'll be going to quite often.
Obviously the Schedule is self-explanatory so lets go to the Career Home tab. There are six sub-menus that are essentially the heart of RTTS mode. The first is the Locker Room. This is where you get messages from your manager in regards to you career path and what he thinks of your play at the time. If you should fail to drive home that big run he'll be sure to remind you of it. Here you can also view your Game stats, Career stats, and Achievements.
The next sub-menu is your Advancement Goals. Here is where you are given certain benchmarks you need to attain and in what timeframe. Usually you'll have two or three attributes that you need to improve to a certain point along with accomplishing three statistical goals. More on these later.
Moving on, we get to Interactions. Here you can talk with your manager on a wide-range of issues. Again we'll get into more detail on what interactions can mean for your player in a little bit.
After Interactions is Training where you apply the points you've earned in-game to increase certain attributes of your player by "performing" certain drills. I say that because you don't actually play these drills out, you just hit a button and your guy "practices." How fun.
Both pitchers and offensive players have the full slate of offensive and fielding drills but pitchers also have to focus on developing their certain pitches along with increasing their ability to limit their hits, HR's, and walks allowed.
Back at the Career Home menu you can view your Batter Performance which tracks how well your player is doing at the dish and if he's meeting his expectations on the Performance Graph. It also shows your recent trend and an update as far as where you might be headed based on your recent play. Unfortunately this is for batters only, not pitchers, but it's still a good way to analyze how you've been doing in the eyes of your team.
Finally there's the Player Card that shows your information, stats, attributes, and scouting report all in one place.
OK, enough jibber-jabber, lets play some ball.
Go to the Schedule and then hit X to bring up a menu and pick "Sim to Next Appearance." Despite being a non-roster invitee you'll play in just about every Spring Training game if you're an offensive player so this should fast-forward the schedule to the first game. If you're a starting pitcher it'll sim until it reaches your spot in the rotation and if you're a reliever it'll go until you get into a game, which is random.
You'll notice everything resembles a normal game of The Show until you get through the introductions. The game will fast-forward to your next "event" which could mean an at-bat or a play in the field. You can't take part in every play during a game, just those you're involved in.
Certain positions will get more plays in the field than others. First base gets a ton of action because on any groundball in the infield you have to cover the bag. You'll also make plays by yourself so this is one of the most active places to play.
Next would be the other infield positions, especially up the middle. You'll have to not only field the ball but you'll have to cover second on a double play or a steal attempt. Outfielders tend to get less action and catchers only take part in steal attempts, tappers in front of the plate, and bunts.
So if the next event has you on defense, get prepared to make a play. While in the field the camera move right behind your player and you can position your player before the pitch with the left stick or use the right stick to rotate and zoom the camera in and out. It springs back to position after you let go so that's a bit of a bummer but not a big deal.
Occasionally you'll get a message from your manager as to where he wants you positioned. Usually this involves getting into double play depth or moving in to cover for a bunt or to try and throw a runner out at the plate. Where exactly you're supposed to move is indicated by a faint arrow on your player icon. Simply move in the direction it's pointing to until it disappears.
The countdown is on, GET INTO POSITION!!!
One quirk of RTTS is that when you're on defense there will be action on the first pitch, either the ball is put in play or the runner tries to steal. When the ball is hit simply move your guy towards it and make the play. You might have to dive or jump, but once you field the ball throw it to the base that the situation calls for.
Now this is based on one of two button layouts. If you've chosen the Classic layout, throwing to first is circle, second triangle, etc. If you've selected the Fielder layout it now means the bases are inversed for all buttons. To throw home you now press triangle, to throw to first you press square, second is X, and third is circle. This is more intuitive but also seems a bit quirky.
More than once I've pressed X to throw to second only to watch my guy throw home. So if you want to ensure none of this wonky behavior rears its ugly head I'd suggest sticking with Classic controls.
We won't get too deep into hitting because it's not hard to figure out. The only things to take note of are the instructions given to you before the at-bat. You'll be told the situation and what your Goal is. These situations are where you can rack up a ton of training points.
If there's a runner in scoring position you're usually asked to drive him in. If you accomplish this goal you'll get rewarded points and if not you'll fail the goal and lose points you accumulated so far in the game. If you perform in the clutch you get even more points but choking also means a bigger point loss. You'll be asked to do other tasks as well. If your team is struggling against a pitcher you may simply be asked to reach base safely or not to strikeout.
New this year is the "Positive" result, which means you didn't accomplish your goal but you didn't hurt your team either. So if you were told to drive the run in but you simply singled or walked you get some points but not what as many as you could've gotten if you had done what you were tasked.
Also new this year is signs from your 3rd base coach. Before the play you'll be given what sign to look for: three touches of a certain item/area mean that's the play being called.
If three taps of the hat means hit and run and that's what the 3rd base coach does then you have to put the ball in play with the runner in motion. If he swipes the letters three times and three swipes means bunt then you need to get a bunt down.
Like in the field this is all done on the first pitch. In the minors, you'll be shown what the play is but in the majors you need to determine what it is by yourself.
Like hitting, pitching is by the book with certain goals to meet. Usually they'll be along the lines of getting ahead of the hitter, not allowing a walk, getting a strike out or if you've gotten into trouble you'll be asked to get a groundball for a double play or simply not allow a run to score.
After the game is finished you'll first see a box score and summary of how you did in the game during the load screen. It's good to check out how you did and what your season stats are so far. Then you'll be taken to the Career Update page that'll review what you've earned for training points.
His approval rating continues to plummet ...
So for example, getting so many hits, RBI, or stolen bases gives you points but striking out so many times or getting caught stealing will lose you points. For pitching, limiting hits and walks will net you points but allowing too many runs or hits will take points away. After that you see how you did with your Goals and how many points they netted you.
These are separate from in-game goals and are spread out over a certain period of time. So you should really keep checking in to see how close you are to reaching any of these statistical goals as they determine how quickly you move up in the organization.
Now don't think if you accomplish all goals you'll immediately get called up but it'll certainly help in the long run. Don't feel like you need to accomplish every goal listed but it's good to get as many as possible with missing no more than one. We'll cover the attribute goals in the next section.
Now that you've accumulated some training points it's time to improve your player. A few things to keep in mind is that during spring training you won't have any Advancement Goals and your attributes will never decrease.
During the season however, if you fail to train your player in a certain attribute after 30 calendar days, you'll start to lose ability.
Because of this my strategy during the spring is not train your player at all and to save your points for the regular season. You won't get so many points that you'll get better right away and since you won't regress, I think it's smart to bank your points for when you have to use them.
So whether you choose to wait or start training as soon as possible here's how you should approach training. Notice that each drill has a primary attribute and a secondary attribute and beneath the yellow bar is a red or blue line. Primary means it'll get improved more than the Secondary. So while either Batting Cages drill will improve both Contact attributes, Batting Cages against a RHP will improve Contact R more than Contact L.
The yellow and red or blue lines indicate if that attribute increasing or decreasing. Its position is also important because that lets you know how close you are towards increasing that attribute. So if the blue line is all the way to the right then you're about to actually improve. If it's to the left there's more work to do.
You can use a minimum of 40 points each time you increase a certain attribute but you can use as many points as you wish. I don't like to burn too many points at once so I might use some factor of 10 over 40 like 50 or 60 but nothing over 100.
Like we discussed in Part I, keep in mind what attributes are important to the kind of player you are. If you're a pitcher don't burn a ton of points on fielding or hitting attributes. If you want a fast player, don't spend too many points on power and instead focus on speed.
If you're in the regular season you can press the circle button to see which Advancement Goals you have to meet. You're looking for the two or three attributes you need to increase and I almost always try and complete these goals first before moving onto other attributes.
So if I have to improve my Contact vs. RHP and Fielding Ability I'll make sure I get those goals completed right away. Then with any points I get in the ensuing days and weeks I can work on upping all attributes along with making sure I'm not decreasing in any area as well. But I also like to hold onto some points for the next goals period so I can get the required goals out of the way.
For pitchers this is the place where you can add pitches to your arsenal. You also have to train in each specific attribute for each pitch (speed, movement and control). Stick to the guidelines we put forth in Part I; fastballs need more control and speed while off-speed pitches and breaking balls need more movement and control.
Take advantage of the four different "Pitching Coach" drills to improve specific attributes from the "per-9" list. If you really need to up your K/9, don't rely on just improving a certain pitches movement, use the coach to make K/9 the Primary Attribute instead of the Secondary.
The last key area of RTTS is how you get along with your manager and this is done through Interactions. When you first start you won't have many interactions to choose from but as you go through the season you get more choices.
These range from a Manager Meeting to complain about team chemistry to asking for a trade or extension. Manager Meeting is one of the few interactions that don't deal directly with your player except for maybe his place in the batting order.
If you successfully complain about the chemistry the manager is likely to change things up across the board, including playing bench players, altering the lineups and even the rotation.
Despite the team being 2-8, the manager seems to think he knows what he's doing.
Asking for a position change is sometimes necessary if you can't find playing time at your current position. But know that rarely is this request granted. Demanding trades or a new contract isn't often granted early in your career seemingly because teams like to hold onto their young talent for cheap. Each interaction is given a description so make sure you read what you're getting in to.
Also be aware that if your manager disagrees with you or you don't have the standing with the club to complain about a certain aspect of your team you could lose playing time. This is usually the case when it comes to second-guessing his decision to take you out of a game or when you complain about playing time.
Instead of the usual fair of negotiating with players in the role of a GM, the tables are turned and you need to negotiate on your own behalf. The first contract you sign is after spring training if you've played well. While the teams' offer might seem low, keep in mind that you're a rookie with no experience.
The standard offer is 1 year and $30,000 but don't be afraid to bump up those numbers, especially if you want to stick with your team for a while. But don't go overboard as the team might stop negotiating with you all together.
A good first proposal is to add a few years and a few thousand dollars. If it's within reason the team will either accept or counter. If you went too far they'll say that they're getting frustrated with you. Too many back-and-forth offers will get the team cheesed as well so tread carefully. Eventually you'll put ink to paper and you'll be ready to start your career in AA.
Eventually you'll need to negotiate another contract but this time you might receive offers from more than one team. You'll also be able to make a lot more money which is always nice, but never aim too high or you'll find teams losing interest in your services and you'll have to go to spring training as a scrub who has to earn a place on the team.
So that's our guide to Road to the Show mode for MLB 08: The Show. Be sure to check out or forums for more tips from our users as well as continuing discussion of The Show.