box coverBackyard Baseball 2001

"Interact With Favorite Baseball Heroes"

Click on a thumbnail to enlarge it. Use your browser's "BACK" button to return to this review when done.

Backyard Baseball 2001 is the newest addition to the Junior Sports series developed by Humongous Entertainment. With Backyard Baseball 2001, young coaches between the ages of 5 and 12 will be able to join junior versions of Major League Baseball (MLB) superstars, such as Cal Ripken, Jr., Ivan Rodriguez, Mark McGwire, Alex Rodriguez, Randy Johnson and Juan Gonzales, team logosas they hit, catch and throw with the Backyard Bunch. Rain or shine, children can play baseball; pick their own team from the Backyard Kids and Major League Baseball players; choose from 30 Major League baseball uniforms and logos; and play a single game, an entire season or online. Humongous Entertainment offers a secure proprietary online gaming network that gives Windows users only the ability to play one-on-one, real-time Backyard Baseball 2001 games against fans across the country. Kids can get the latest Humongous Sports game information, play fun online games and post messages to each other on a safe and secure sports bulletin board at the Humongous Web site which is a great place for both parents and kids to visit Every day there are new messages, updated coach rankings, games, voting polls, and exciting contests. Kids can check out their favorite pro-sport team's scores, stats, rankings, and current headlines. Price of Backyard Baseball 2001: $19.99; available for PC and Macintosh. Other Junior Sports software includes: Backyard Football and Backyard Soccer.


Backyard Baseball 2001 is part of the Junior Sports series designed for 5 to 12 year-old boys and girls. The series provides all the action and excitement of adult sports games, while easy-to-use controls allow even the littlest athletes to compete in the best of the Backyard Leagues. I have found that most of the software from Humongous is usually appropriate for a wider age range than specified. They are intuitive enough for younger children, with some help from older siblings or parents, and exciting enough for some older children.

  • MLB Teams: Players choose from all 30 MLB team names and logos including the World-champion New York Yankees, the Atlanta Braves, the Baltimore Orioles, the St. Louis Cardinals or the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.
  • MLB Players: Kid versions of MLB's top players join the Backyard Bunch for the first time. Cal Ripken, Jr., Mark McGwire, Ivan Rodriguez, Mo Vaughn, Randy Johnson and Tony Gwynn can now play with well-known Backyard Bunch players Pablo Sanchez, Kenny Kawaguchi, Kiesha Phillips and Dmitri Petrovich.create a player
  • Create A Player: Kids can join a team and play alongside the Backyard Bunch by choosing a name, face and skill level with the Create-A-Player function.
  • Season Play: Coaches can guide their teams through multiple 14-game seasons, make the playoffs and even go all the way to The Backyard World Series. Players can choose from eight regular season fields and four playing surfaces.
  • Practice Mode: Pre-game training helps to perfect hitting, fielding and throwing skills.
  • Multiplayer Capability: The new Humongous Sports Network offers a safe and secure online sports community for Windows users that allows kids to play one-on-one, real-time games.

Installation: After clicking Play, a few support files will be installed on your hard drive. The on-screen installation window will direct you through a brief installation process. There are three install options: (1) Minimum--about 6 MB; (2) Maximum--full game installation requiring about 353 MB; (3) Custom--you choose what you want to install.

Manual and Help: There is a CD cover/guide that provides some basic information and there is also more detailed technical and game play instructions available as you play.

Clubhouse: In the Backyard Baseball Clubhouse, players can choose to play a Single Game, clubhouseSeason Play, Online Play, Cards or visit the Hall of Fame. They can also determine the level of difficulty (easy, medium and hard), the amount of innings, whether to play with errors, choose which field to play on or use the swing spot indicator and pitch locator to make hitting and pitching easier. They then pick the team name, colors and set the roster and positions where each player will be positioned. After scouting their own team and the opponents statistics, they play ball!

  1. Single Game--Playing a Single Game does not affect the record book, career statistics, or the league standings. Kids can use this mode to play a pickup game against the computer. While in the Clubhouse, kids click on the window labeled Single Game. Then they choose to play a single game, batting practice to hone their skills, tee-ball or spectator mode to see how the players perform against each other.
  2. Season Play--While in the Clubhouse, kids click on the Season Game. The settings cannot be changed once the season has play
  3. Online Play--Online play is a secure online area for fans of Humongous Entertainment's Backyard games. Kids play each other over a closed network hosted by Humongous Entertainment and accessed only through the CD-ROM game. While in the Clubhouse, kids click on the telephone in the middle of the Clubhouse to access the online play community.
  4. Cards--There are 30 Backyard Kids and 31 Major League Baseball players (as kids) in Backyard Baseball 2001. They each have their own unique attributes, playing abilities and statistics. This is where a player can scout his/her own team and the opponents players. They can scroll through the bench and click on each kid to learn about him or her.
  5. Trophy Case and Hall of Frame--This is where all the best of the best Coaches and teams division champshang their hats. Division Championship: players get a pennant for winning a 14 game season. Divisional Playoffs: champions receive a trophy inscribed with their team name and coach's name. League Championship Series: if a player advances to this stage they are well on their way to the most cherished trophy, the Backyard World Series. Backyard World Series: this is the apex of all trophies.

Power Ups: This is a fun-filled feature for players at bat. If a batter hits a special pitch, he or she is rewarded with a batting power-up. Batting power-ups improve the batter's statistics for distance, accuracy and ability to hit. There is a maximum of six swings for each power-up. Power Ups include:

  • Aluminum Power--hit it in the right spot and kids might just slam this one over the fence;
  • Crazy Bunt--it's so loopy that few can catch this ball. It might just give kids enough time to make a home run;
  • Screaming Line Drive--it's an outfielder's worst nightmare. This one cuts thorough the air, straight and strong;
  • Undergrounder--it digs its way down and pops up in the outfield. Kids get their opponent looking at the ground while they make their way around.

Special Pitches: There is something special for pitchers also. The only way to get special pitches is by striking out batters. With every strikeout, kids get a new special pitch or more uses of an existing one. They include:

  • Big Freeze--this ball may just fool the hitter by stopping in front of the plate and then slowly crossing the plate;
  • Corkscrew--it spirals across the plate, but is very hard to control;
  • Crazyball--held on the fingertips, like a knuckleball, this one is hard to control;fireball
  • Elevator--this one hovers on the ground and then suddenly swoops through the strike zone;
  • Fireball--it is the granddaddy of all pitches. It is almost impossible to hit;
  • Slo-mo Ball--extremely slow pitch that requires a moderate amount of control;
  • ZigZag--up-and-down or side-to-side, this one is very hard to control;
  • Extra Juice--it will refresh a pitcher's stamina.

Backyard Baseball 20001 is a great way to introduce kids to baseball. This is not a program that kids will use once or twice and then grow tired of. It is a fun game that can be played over and over again.


Windows: Pentium 90, Windows 98/95 with 16MB RAM and 4X CD-ROM.
Macintosh: 133 Mhz PowerPC, System 7.5.3 with 32MB RAM and 4X CD-ROM.
Online Play (Windows only): Pentium 166, Windows 95/98, 32MB RAM, 33.6K Modem, Internet Service Provider.

Scanner: Hewlett Packard ScanJet 6250C Professional Series
Web Page Editor: Macromedia Dreamweaver 3.0
Graphics: Adobe Photoshop 5.5; Alien Skin Xen