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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Around the Zealot horn: Lou Boudreau and APBA

I’m feeling lazy on this cold Saturday night so here are a couple good articles from the Zealot network from the past few days worth reading:

As you may have already read, I took part in the Kiwanis Sports Trivia Championship last weekend.  What I didn’t mention in my article was that there was only one University of Illinois baseball trivia question asked all day.  Being a huge UI baseball fan, you would think I would have gotten it right but Murphy’s Law took effect here. 

Sheepishly, I’m learning all I can about the question’s topic and writing about it.   It’s all there in Lou Boudreau and Darrin Fletcher: not a trivial mistake at the Illinois Baseball Report.

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If you are an APBA Baseball fan, you might want to check out The APBA Blog’s 10 Tips for Trading in an APBA League.  It’s getting to be that “hot stove” time of year for our league not to mention many other APBA leagues around the nation.  It’s not rocket science but some of us (myself included) need to be reminded of some of the basic tips and suggestions on how to deal with others when trading in an APBA league.

Though this piece is geared toward the APBA game, I’d wager that 90% of it applies to traditional fantasy leagues as well.

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Speaking of APBA baseball and APBA leagues, our Illowa APBA League is finishing up its 35th season.  I’ve finally redone and updated our league web site.  IAL awards winners have just been announced and playoff spots determined.

If you’re a fellow APBA player, check us out.

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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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APBA’s disk is shipping!

It’s cold as heck out there but it’s a good reason to celebrate baseball.  The APBA Game Company has begun shipping their disks for the 2009 Baseball season. 

While our APBA league (and many others) play the dice and cards version, the disk gives us an idea what the cards will look like.  Those of us in leagues all around the country have been waiting with bated breath to see how our teams will shape up for the coming year. 

Rob Moore has an article celebrating the fact over at The APBA Blog.

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Illowa APBA League convenes for All-Star weekend

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I spent this past weekend with the Illowa APBA League as we had our All-Star get-together in Naperville, Illinois

Check out photos and summary of the festivities on The APBA Blog

The Illowa APBA League is a 10-team keeper league that is in its 35th year of existence. 

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Yahoo suit of NFL Players Association has MLB roots

yahoofootball

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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Illowa APBA League’s 34th annual All-Star Game this weekend

pujolscard markakiscard

This coming weekend is our annual All-Star weekend for the Illowa APBA League.  It’s one of the most fun weekends of the year for me as the ten managers in the league gather from 3 different states, play some APBA baseball.  The climax of the weekend, of course, is the IAL All-Star Game.  The league history dates back a while as this will be our 33rd All-Star Game. 

Above you see my team’s entries for the West Division for this year.  I’d like to say there are more but seeing that we are keeping the cellar warm in the Illowa League this year, we are only sending two.  Albert Pujols will be a starter and for that I am glad. 

I have a favorite story to tell that illustrates the fun we have at the All-Star weekends.  It goes back a few years when we got my friend Brando into the league (a great find, in my opinion!).  On our drive up to our destination, Brando expressed his confusion about his first All-Star Game.  Why was everyone was getting so excited about watching two managers play an APBA baseball game?  It didn’t occur to him that at least in our league, we roll for our own players when they are up to bat.  That simple change in perception changed everything.  The All-Star Game in the Illowa APBA League is a loud, raucous affair where every member is part of the game.  Yes, rolling for their players but also voicing strategic suggestions to their manager, high-fiving on any success and even a little trash talking across the table. 

The 34th annual IAL All-Star Game will take place this Saturday in Naperville, Illinois. 

Let’s Go West Division! and Go Twin City Thunderchickens!

What is APBA and What is the Illowa APBA League?

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Illowa APBA League: 34 years and still rollin’

I spent last weekend at the Illowa APBA League World Series and Draft Convention.  This is the 34th year of the IAL’s existence and we’re lucky to have one or two of the founding managers still around. 

IAL Commissioner Mike Bunch presents the championship trophy to Rob Moore

First, a big congratulations goes to Rob Moore and his Chicago Highlanders who captured the IAL Championship by defeating Marcus Bunch’s Moline (IL) Upperdeckers in the World Series.  This was Rob’s first World Series win after making the playoffs three times.    Congrats, Rob! 

Todd V announces Ryan Braun as the first pick in the 2008 IAL draft.

After a brief (but not brief enough in most people’s eyes) league meeting, our rookie draft commenced.  Two things need to noted:  One, we are a continuous ownership or keeper league and draft rookies to replace players that have retired or did not play.  Two, since APBA is a replay game based on last year’s statistics, we are drafting 2007 rookies.

That said, here is our the first 15 picks went in our rookie draft:

  1. Braun, R.
  2. Tulowitzki, T.
  3. Pedroia
  4. Upton, J.
  5. Lincecum, T.
  6. Pence, H.
  7. Young, C.
  8. Gallardo, Y.
  9. Moylan, P.
  10. Hamilton, J.
  11. Gordon, A.
  12. Matsuzaka, D.
  13. Soria, J.
  14. Hughes, P.
  15. Garza M.

The pick of Braun, who went to Baseball Zealot Radio co-host Todd V was no surprise.  I had pick #2 and the rumor had gotten out that I was hot on Tulo so despite the fact that I took a good portion of my 5 minutes, everyone knew I was taking him.

In all, 38 rookies were chosen, the oldest, I believe being Okajima from Boston.  No doubt, Teddy Ballgame will be coming out with his annual draft review sometime in the future.  With my sucky performance (Tulo, McGowan, Kendrick, and Pie), I don’t expect a good review from him.

Rolling dem bones.  We start the 2008 IAL season.

With the 2007 postseason, league meeting and rookie draft out of the way, we still had 30 games to begin the 2008 season to play.  I won’t bore you with the details though we did have one exciting occurrence.  One game after C Luke’s Northside Hitmen’s Brad Penny no-hit me, I came right back with Rich Hill who countered a no-hit game of his own.  In the 34 years of the Illowa APBA League, no one can remember back-to-back no-hitters. 

My record for the weekend??  A pathetic 11-19 due to a lack of hitting and an inflexible bullpen. 

Congrats to Rob Moore and congrats to the IAL for 34 years of fun!

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