Entries Tagged as 'Fantasy Baseball'

Review: Out of the Park Baseball 12

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When I started playing Out of the Park Baseball 12, I knew it had something going for it.  During my very first simulation game, a Cubs pitcher got hurt.  Score one for realism.

I got a review copy of OOTP 12 and was asked to give it a tryout. Last weekend, I did so and I found it an enjoyable baseball simulation game.  But first things, first.  What is OOTP? 

Out of the Park 12 is a baseball simulation in which you can take charge of a baseball franchise.  Specifically, you take on the persona of a general manager/manager who gets hired by a big league team.  From there, you handle all the duties that a GM would normally do.  Make trades, make lineups, make call ups, send players to the minors.. pretty much everything, while the season progresses. 

You have the option of playing the baseball game manually or having the computer do it for you.  Of course, OOTP 12 calculates the stats and standings for you in nice sortable and filterable tables. 

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The results of OOTP are based on real life stats.  You can expect Tim Lincecum to be a hard thrower and Adam Dunn to be free-swinging slugger.  You get the idea.  Note:  There are 2011 opening day roster players on the OOTP rosters.

As for the actual game play, it’s okay.  I’m a dice and board APBA player so maybe that’s why I wasn’t thrilled with it.  To be fair, the interface was good and the reporting was probably better than MLB GameDay.  Computer baseball is difficult to do (at least for my liking) and OOTP did as good as any I’ve seen.

That said, OOTP 12’s strength lies in the franchise management.  I was almost overwhelmed by the options and info available.  Team strategy, manager strategy, trading, organizational moves (Want to make a Double-A call-up?  No problem.  OOTP has all levels of the minor leagues available.  Just make sure you send someone down first!)

The reporting features of OOTP 12 are pretty amazing, too. Stats, team reports, overview of players, organization business reports, you name it.  A few other features:  OOTP 12 has online leagues.  Also, there are historical seasons available too.  Any year going back to 1871. 

Two trivial things about OOTP 12 that I found interesting.  One, during loadup times when you’re usually waiting for 5-10 seconds, they display baseball quotes.  I like that.  Also, during baseball play when you are the defense, you are given the option to “hit the batter”.  Fun!

Overall, I found OOTP 12 to be well-researched and very detailed.  Any baseball sim player who wants to knock out a season on the computer should be pretty happy with this product.  I didn’t try the online leagues but my guess is that the competitive edge would make it even more enjoyable. 

If you’re interested, check out OOTP at their web site.  They do allow free downloads of their trial game so you can try before you buy.

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Umpire Fantasy League

Here’s the most unique idea for a fantasy league I’ve heard in a while.  One based on MLB umpire ejections.

Billed as the MLB Umpire Ejection Fantasy League, this site documents all ejections by umpires in the majors and allows members to draft umps as you would a fantasy baseball team.  But as the name suggests, the stats are based on how many ejections the umpires are part of. 

Even if you aren’t a member, the blog is well worth the read if only for the useful/trivial? documentation of all the ejections that occur in baseball.

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2K Sports offers $1 mil for First Perfect Game

mlb2k10cover1 It’s a rather unique and impressive advertising trick.  They don’t pay these guys from Marketing lotsa of dough for nothing.

It comes down to this.  Video game maker 2K Sports will pay $1 million to the first person who can “throw” a perfect game in their upcoming release of their baseball simulation game, MLB 2K10. 

The promise of a million buckaroos would probably boost 2K10’s sales significantly alone.  Not to mention all the press and PR that the upcoming game will get from such an outlandish offer. 

If you go to 2K Sports Perfect Game landing page, you won’t get many details.  Only a brief one-sentence description of the contest and to “Come back soon for more details”.  But the hook has been baited and the fish are already jumping. 

According to Kotaku,com, this prize is most likely the largest ever for its kind.  Not only that, 2K Sports probably expects someone to cash in.

The million-dollar prize is believed to be the largest ever offered for this type of contest – a skill-based challenge, rather than a random drawing. 2K Sports isn’t putting up the money believing its game is so tough that no one can meet the challenge. It fully expects someone to pitch a perfect game – retiring all 27 batters without a single one reaching base by any means – and cash in during the contest period from March 2 (the game’s date of release) and May 2.

If past versions of 2K Sports’ baseball games are any indication, then it certainly IS possible.  Pitching a perfect game in 2K9 seemed to be entirely possible as evidenced by countless You Tube videos documenting them.  The trick is, I assume, doing it under the rules and guidelines set out by the company.  The biggest, I suppose, is that the whole thing has to be recorded.  One other, as specified in the small type, the game must be played on the Xbox or PS3 (not the Wii). 

Rules and guidelines aside, I think this is a marketing coup for 2K Sports.  Call it thinking outside the (batter’s) box. 

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Four Fidelity employees fired because of fantasy football league

The Fort Worth Star Telegram reports on a rather shocking story with some relevance to us baseball fans.  Four middle-management employees were terminated from their positions at Fidelity Investments’ Westlake, Texas office because they were in a fantasy football league.

Some points need to be clarified:

1.  The specified reason these four men were fired was that they violated the company’s gambling policy.

2,  Cameron Pettigrew, the main point person of the fantasy league who has worked for Fidelity for over 2 years, says the league was careful about not using company email to facilitate the fantasy league.  

But again, Fidelity’s big beef was the gambling issue.

3.  Pettigrew pointed out that the gambling policy was “poorly communicated” to employees.  Since management was known to engage in leagues themselves, there seemed to be mixed messages.

4.  Most importantly in my mind, there were no warnings given and no less stricter penalties meted out before the four employees were let go.

Pettigrew DID say company resources were not used but Fidelity found out when one employee used a work IM to message someone else and mentioned the league.  That’s how they found out about everything. 

There are always two sides to every story (let’s face it, I’m sure there was some talk of the league during company time) but still, I’d like to hear Fidelity talk their way out of this one.

Assuming that Fidelity is being sincere and that the true reason for terminating the employees was because of gambling (it IS the Bible Belt, after all), it does seem pretty invasive, heavy handed and uncompromising (most employers I would think would issue a warning to a otherwise productive employee).

What are your thoughts?  Does your workplace allow fantasy leagues or “friendly” sports pools of any sort?

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NASCER Race – Going, Going, Gone!

AdrianGonzalezI’m not talking about NASCAR where the great strategy is GO FAST & TURN LEFT, very tough concept for redneck fans to grasp. I’m talking about the fantasy baseball league I belong to, NASCER, it’s an acronym for something, but don’t ask me what it stands for. I’ve been away from fantasy baseball for about ten years. When I returned my friend gave me a caveat, he told me, “You’ll love it, until the trading deadline”. Well I’m not sure that’s completely accurate, I didn’t love it when one of my mercenary ballplayers, Brandon Webb, went down for the season after just one start, nor when I lost Alex Gordon & Carlos Delgado to injuries, nor when My Main Manny, Manny Ramirez, was suspended for fifty games.

But I managed to weather those storms, picking up Ubaldo Jimenez, Juan Pierre, & Marco Scutaro, to keep the ship afloat. I was in 3rd place as the trading deadline approached. The only trades that happened thus far were during the season between teams going for it, I was involved in both of them, both centered around, now out for the season hurler, Johan Santana. First I got Santana for fast-starting Raul Ibanez and then I traded Santana, along with Mike MacDougal & Jason Jaramillo, for Jermaine Dye, Frank Francisco, & Kurt Suzuki. Both trades turned out to be classic examples of SPY vs SPY, Johan had the worst week of the season while with me, so I sent him packing, he got hurt shortly after moving on to his 3rd team of the year. While Francisco & Suzuki have been okay for me, neither Ibanez nor Dye have performed for their new squads.

As the trading deadline approached, NASCER had eight of ten teams within fifteen points of first place. The 2nd place team made the first trade sending Mark Reynolds, picked up off the waiver wire, but having a terrific season, despite his whiffs, for Adrian Gonzalez, Yovani Gallardo, Trevor Hoffman, & Huston Street. The next deal had the first place team trading Adam Jones & Wandy Rodriguez in exchange for Joakim Soria, Francisco Cordero, Roy Oswalt, Brian McCann, & Brad Hawpe. Then there were the two deals made by a hard charging team from the middle of the pack that was looking for hitting, they found it in the two deals they pulled off, did they have to wear a mask? They got Jason Bay, Michael Wright, Brandon Phillips, Bengie Molina, & David Price in one trade for Josh Johnson, and throw-ins Carlos Guillen & Jason Varitek in one trade. And because that wasn’t quite enough, they dumped, rather than cutting him, Carlos Quentin for ready-to-go Ian Kinsler. It’ll be difficult to keep these three teams out of first, second, & third place, just because they got to the feeding troff first.

You may ask, where was I during this feeding frenzy, was I asleep in a corner? Blame it on the beer, I was a little slow on the draw, and didn’t come up with a proposed deal until three in the morning, I sent out my offer bright & early Friday morning, Shin-Soo Choo & Ubaldo Jimenez, two young stars, who’ve performed well for me all year would be sent packing in exchange for Felix Hernandez, Curtis Granderson, Adam Dunn, Ian Kinsler, & Francisco Cordero (I’d forgotten that he’d already been gobbled up). When I didn’t hear back from him by Sunday evening, it became obvious I’d have to compete down the stretch without having the benefit of a lopsided trade. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I didn’t make a deal, that’s got me upset. It’s that three deals were made, which in effect ended a great race, a race where anybody from 1-8 could’ve ended up in the money. All teams were playing by the rules, there was no collusion, the bottom feeders were trying to help their teams for next year by acquiring keepers signed cheap, while the teams in the hunt were trying to secure their positions.

While I’m still currently in 3rd place, hoping against all hope, I look toward next year, and look for a solution to what I view as the problem of “getting to the feeding troff first”. I’m asking the question, looking for a solution IMHO something is taken away when the yearly race comes down to, who you can swipe at the trading deadline for stud (or dud) keepers for next year. Maybe, if you trade for a keeper, it has to be a one-for-one trade, at least then you’d only be getting one stud rather than three, four, or five guys. Or perhaps, the salary cap has to be lowered, there is one currently in place, but it’s so high, that nobody really even had to think about it, when these trades were consummated.

All I know is that my team pretty much has the perfect name WTLNXTYR, which is what most of the teams competing for 4th place this year will be doing, rather than competing in one heck of a race, what a shame.

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Yahoo suit of NFL Players Association has MLB roots

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Yahoo Inc is in the process of suing the NFL Players Association basically saying it doesn’t have to pay royalties for stats, photos and other NFL data related to its online fantasy game.  Yahoo claims that this data is already publically available. 

Why is this relevant to baseball fans (other than the obvious fantasy league angle)?  It’s this.  The MLB Players Association and MLB Advanced Media lost a case very similar to this in 2007 when an online fantasy baseball called CDC Distribution Marketing Inc didn’t have to pay the baseball players for data very similar in the Yahoo case (stats, photos, etc). 

Yahoo is clinging to a court decision between CBS Interactive and the NFL Players Inc which claims it doesn’t need authorization.  And apparently, that decision based a lot of their ruling on the 2007 MLB decision.

Copyright and freedom of information issues are always tough.  How people come down on them usually depends on how it affects them (i.e the most positive outcome possible).  That goes for fans, too.

What do you think?  Are stats public information?  How about a photo of a baseball player? 

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WTLNXTYR Sputtering in Fantasy League

manny Following his dominating, eight-inning pitching performance in a 2-0 White Sox victory against the Pirates at U.S. Cellular Field on Friday, Gavin Floyd hoped he’d finally thumbed to a happier chapter in his “Tale of Two Gavins” story this season. Those first few pages, after all, were pretty frightening. They told the account of a pitcher struggling to find his rhythm, a pitcher whose first eight starts resulted in a 2-4 record with a 7.71 ERA, the second-highest ERA among qualifying starters in the Major Leagues. “I hadn’t been performing very well,” Floyd said. “I was able to mentally block it out and just focus on where I’ve been going. I’ve been working at it in the bullpen and pretty much transferring it in the game. I think I was able to do that tonight.”
That was where the other Floyd showed up — the aggressive, dominant pitcher reminiscent of his 2008 season, when he posted a 17-8 record and 3.84 ERA.

FANTASY BASEBALL – two words that strike fear into thinking baseball fans everywhere. I’ve been following the game since the 1968 World Series. I still remember that epic battle between the St. Louis Cardinals and the Detroit Tigers like it was yesterday. Motown’s Mickey Lolich, Denny McLain, Al Kaline, & Bill Freehan, matched up against the Redbirds Bob Gibson, Lou Brock, Curt Flood, & Mike Shannon. Taking the knowledge I’ve garnered over the last forty plus years I decided to apply it by matching wits against other baseball geniuses in fantasy baseball.

My team, WTLNXTYR, is in a ten team mixed league format, because I was an expansion team I got to pick from all the discarded players to come up with eight keepers. I chose to keep Kevin Youkilis, Chris Davis, Stephen Drew, Willy Taveras, Roy Halladay, John Danks, Gavin Floyd, & Edinson Volquez. The two high paid free agents I decided to grab were Manny Ramirez & Brandon Webb. I might’ve overpaid for Brian Roberts, but I really wanted him. In addition I decided to pay for three quality closers, Mariano Rivera, Francisco Rodriguez, & Joe Nathan. Then I got into a bidding war for Jason Motte, Carlos Delgado, & Raul Ibanez. I was able to get Vernon Wells, Elvis Andrus, Chan Ho Park, & J.A. Happ after the auction was over. Other bargains on my team were Chin Soo Choo, Mark DeRosa, Paul Konerko, John Baker, & Ramon Hernandez.

As the season progressed I was able to pickup Randy Wolf, Marco Scutaro, Dave Aardsma, Freddy Sanchez, Alberto Callaspo, Juan Pierre, Jair Jurrjens, Ubaldo Jimenez, & Shairon Martis. But in the process, I’d cut loose guys that I wish I could get back, like, Randy Wolf, Dave Aardsma, J.A. Happ, & now Gavin Floyd.

By the 2nd week of the season I was fighting for first place. Then Webb went on the DL & Manny Ramirez got a 50 game suspension. I cut Randy Wolf because despite pitching well, he wasn’t winning. Then I tried, unsuccessfully, to get him back because all of his other numbers were solid. I grabbed Aardsma when Brandon Morrow was hurt, cut him when Morrow came back, and then tried, unsuccessfully, to get him back when he was named Seattle’s closer. Now I cut Gavin Floyd with his 7.71 ERA & 2-4 record, but would like him back after he pitched eight shutout innings last night against the Buccos. Another guy I cut, Happ, is now going to start for the Phillies, so I’d like him back. Then there was Park, whom I cut because he had an ERA over seven with no wins, of course when I cut him, he pitches strong, picking up the victory.

The way fantasy baseball works is like this, there are ten offensive categories & ten pitching categories, you get ranked by how well your team does compared with the other teams in the league. Right now WTLNXTYR is closer to the bottom than to the top, so maybe I’ll end up getting some of my waiver claims, as it goes in reverse order of standings. Fantasy baseball is maddening!

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WTLNXTYR Back in Nascer

tommy-greene Sixteen years ago in 1993 I won it all in a fantasy baseball league, my team was called WTLNXTYR, and there was no waiting till next year. Tommy Greene was a 26 year old righthander with nasty stuff for the Philadelphia Phillies. Wilson Alvarez was a 23 year old lefty with the Chicago White Sox. These two hurlers were instrumental to my team’s success.

Now, after all this time, I’m back again, looking to catch lightning in a bottle. CLuke & Rob T are long time members and will be out there opposing me, along with some other very good competition, Rob T’s son Tim is also in the league. Tim is top a notch GM. I think Rob T has won twice, Tim once, and CLuke has won three times. So I’ll have my work cut out for me.

The way fantasy baseball works is like this… There’s an auction where you bid on players, building your team, you need two catchers, one firstbaseman, one thirdbaseman, one first/thirdbaseman, one secondbaseman, one shortstop, one secondbaseman/shortstop, five outfielders, two utility players, five starting pitchers, and five relief pitchers. You compete for five offensive categories and five pitching categories with the other teams in the league. The higher you are in each category, the more points your team gets, the team with the most points, wins.

This isn’t just about bragging rights, this is about hard, cold, cash! Each owner puts up $200, with more money being potted for player moves & trades throughout the year, and something like the top five teams get a piece of the pot.

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Fantasy Funny

Fantasy Baseball owner bashes his team to the press.  Reported, of course, by the Onion.

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Baseball Zealot Radio: Interview with Erick Robertson from Simyard

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It’s been a while since we’ve put out a show but this is a good one.  Teddy Ballgame and CLuke put me in touch with Erick Robertson who is a programmer who has created an online fantasy baseball “universe”.  I took the time to create a login at Sim Yard and it looks pretty interesting.  It allows people to create teams of players and and build franchises.  It’s a brand new project so we thought we get Erick on the show to talk about it.

Using the best marketing tool out there, viral marketing, Sim Yard lets people play for free for as long as they want.  Of course, if you want to build a franchise, the subscription route is the way to go.  Erick explains that Sim Yard is not just about winning the game but also developing your ballclub and increasing your franchise revenue.

HNT_retrobluesmWhile we were emailing each other about logistics, Erick told me he had the chance to watch more than a few baseball games while in Japan.  Not only that, he took part in one of Hanshin Tigers’ cheerleading organizations.  So I couldn’t pass up the chance to ask Erick about his experience with Japanese baseball from a fan’s perspective.

Finally, Erick is a Cubs fan so we  wrap up the show trying not to get too giddy about the Cubs’ latest successes.

Thanks to Erick for being on the show!

Time: 49:21

Date Recorded: 6/15/08

External Links:

Simyard.com

 

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