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Speedrunner sets world record in Baseball. Yes, really.

Baseball for the NES, that is

baseball speedrun on nes
The double play that helped Matt Homes set a strange speedrun record
Matt Homes on Vimeo

Thanks to a lucky double play in the top of the ninth inning, speedrunner Matt Homes set a world record for fastest completion of a regulation game in Baseball for the Nintendo Entertainment System.

As MLB’s playoffs begin tonight — restarting the national handwringing over the time it takes to play a game — this is quite the timely accomplishment for Mr. Homes. Speedrunning Baseball seems to be a recent thing, too, with the record Homes beat set four days ago (and third place set two days ago).

Baseball (the sport) famously has no clock, which makes its video game counterpart perfect for a speedrun. The challenge here is how fast can a player get the outs — both for the CPU opponent and themselves. Homes figured out a way to get sure strikes, which helped him get CPU batters out quickly. Then, on the first pitch of his first at-bat, he hit a home run into the scoreboard and started bunting the rest of the way to get himself out as quickly as possible.

Homes ran into trouble along the way, though, giving up two runs, requiring him to come back and costing him extra time. (Winning in less than 19 minutes was set as the goal.) He gave up two hits in the top of the ninth inning with the 19-minute mark bearing down on him.

But Homes got a double play on a foul ball, thanks to a hole in the game’s primitive baserunning logic, in which a runner on first will always run on a ball in play, and can’t return back to the bag on a fly ball. Homes then picked up a first-pitch ground out and snipped the wire in 18 minutes, 26 seconds, six seconds better than NESCardinality’s mark set four days ago.

In case you’re wondering, yes, other sports classics have world records because, why not? NESCardinality holds records in Tecmo Super Bowl for fastest time to win a game (7:38, set 10 days ago) and fastest time to win the Super Bowl (play an entire season) at 3:26:16. Homes has the world record for fastest 18 holes of Golf.

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