Houston, we have lift off! First live DYNASTY League Baseball Online version game launch is perfect game


Last Saturday, August 1 at 6P ET, Jamie Hall and I got together for the launch of the first ever live face to face game ever played with the new DYNASTY League Baseball Online version.

The launch was as perfect as a Mark Buehrle perfect game and maybe even more exciting to watch and play.

I sent my 2006 Cardinals vs. Jamie’s 2006 Tigers in Game 1 of the 2006 World Series at Comerica Park.  OK, these are both our favorite teams so this was like Baseball nirvana for us with the Tigers and Cardinals not having played vs. each other in the World Series since 1968 and 1934.

 

The missing “League” is now found
Before we started the game, I was telling Jamie that the “League” in DYNASTY League Baseball has been missing since DYNASTY League Baseball debuted in 1994.  By that I mean a really easy way for people to join a league, for Commissioners to run leagues and for people to connect and play vs. each other across long distances and have standings, stats and scores updated in real time without having to export or import any files. 

The new draft room will allow you to draft live and show which players have been selected, which players are left in the draft, what your roster currently looks like, how many dollars of your budget you have left to bid on players and which roster slots you still need to fill.

Dan Mintz, Reede Stockton, Jamie and myself have been planning and talking about an Online version for a long time.  It really wasn’t until the past two years that the Baseball stars and sun were in perfect alignment to create the opportunity to develop what is a truly cutting edge technological marvel.   

Realizing that most DYNASTY League Baseball and Pursue the Pennant fans have never played an Online game the question is “What is this and why do I need it?”

There are three type of ways you will play your opponent:

  • You vs. another live opponent
  • You vs. computer manager
  • Computer manager vs. computer manager

Which type of game you will play depends on you and your opponent.

“Series” allow you to play a series solitaire vs. the computer manager or with a friend from any season in the DYNASTY League Baseball library.

There will be two primary play options:

  • Greatest Team bracket tournaments
  • Continuous draft leagues that use the Official DYNASTY League Baseball rulesYou always have time for DYNASTY League Baseball Online

    The neat thing is that there is always time to be in a league or tournament no matter how busy you are with work, family and friends.   If you find you are getting busy you can always have the computer manager take over and play games for you until you have more time to play the games live.

 

DYNASTY League Baseball Online runs on Windows or Apple Macintosh
How do I install the Online version and start playing?  You don’t install it – it is all ready to go for you.

You start your Internet Explorer, Fire fox or if you are on an Apple Macintosh, your Safari browser, and log on with your user name and password at a new web site being created just for DYNASTY League Baseball Online TBA.

If you are already in a draft league or Greatest tournament the first thing you’ll see is your up to date draft league standings and Greatest Teams tournament results and rankings. If this is your first time logging in you will choose your Greatest team for the Greatest Teams tournaments.  You also will be able to select a franchise for a continuous private or public draft league.

So now what after I select my team?  Click on the join game link to the game you want to play.  That is as easy as it was for me to connect and play Jamie.  One click and the first thing you will see on your screen is the outside of the ball park that you are playing in.  Click enter and you enter the ball park just as if you had walked into the ball park.

Similar to the Windows version, the next thing you will do is select your starting pitcher.  DYNASTY League Baseball Online includes injury and pitcher rest tracking as well as Use rating tracking so you can easily see who is available for the game.

You can see any players player card while you are selecting your pitcher and lineup.  You also have the OBP and SLG vs. LH and vs RH breakdowns.  Previously I would pull out my Bill James Handbook to look up these stats, but now they are all there.  Click on the Magglio Ordonez player card screen below to check it out.

 

 

Stats2.JPGThe lineup selection screen now allows you to move players up or down in the lineup.

Next we enter Comerica Park.  It is one thing to see screen shots and another to actually see the game interface on screen.  One word left my mouth.  “WOW!”  Joe DiMaggio would call it the Marilyn Monroe screen interface. Gorgeous!

You control your own mouse all of the time – you don’t have to share the mouse even though the game is turn based.

What I absolutely loved were the new tool tips.  When you roll over a player rating on screen a tool tip comes up describing the rating.

 

Pitcher BAA.png

Want to see a player card?  Just move your mouse over the player name and the player pops up for you.  The player cards look identical to the player cards in the board game in every respect.

The Cardinals struck first in the 1st when Albert Pujols launched a Justin Verlander pitch to center field for a home run.  I flipped when I saw the red target flash in center field where Pujols had just deposited the ball and then watched as Pujols circled the bases. 

The screen shot below is from another Pujols HR in a different game, but if you click on it you’ll get the full size image.

 

 
HomeRunlocation.JPG
 The game is far from a static text game and that is one of the first things you will notice.  There are all kinds of things flashing and moving during the game that really adds to the enjoyment of playing.  Also helps when your team is winning as mine was 2-0.

Worried about a disconnection or crash?  Don’t be.  Your game is automatically saved and will take you right back to where you left off so a game will never be lost.

 

Scott Spiezio opened up the top of the 2nd inning with a solo shot to right. Gee that flashing target is cool! Cardinals 3  Tigers 0

For each play result either the pitcher card or hitter card will come up on screen depending on which player card the result is on.  The dice roll is shown below the player card and the play results flashes right on the player card.  Click below to see a play result on Nate Robertson’s player card:

DicePlayerCard.png

During the game, you’ll also see the various Situation ratings highlight when they are in effect with a description of the Situation rating.  In the screen shot below, the ON rating (rarely allows HR with runners on base) is in effect for Justin Verlander.

Situation Popup 2.png

 

 

Top of the 3rd and Spiezio hits a solo shot to center field to make it 5-0 Cardinals.

Top of the 5th and Spiezio homers to right field for his third HR of the game!  Cardinals 6-0

Cardinals starter Chris Carpenter is just dominating until the 8th when Craig Monroe slams a two-run home run to left.

Final score Cardinals 6  Tigers 2

 

 

No exporting or importing needed for instant updated stats and standings
Now think of youself playing in a tournament or league where other players are playing and the scores are updated instantly for everyone to see along with the current standings, stats and league leaders.  No exporting or importing of files.  How cool is that?

Box score and Game Summary are easily accessible during and after the game

 

InauguralBox.html

I absolutely love the new Game Summary!

InauguralGameSummary.html

Shown below is the final game screen with the Cardinals winning 6-2 over the Tigers.  You can click on the screen to see Jason Isrinhausen warming up in the bullpen in the 9th inning – just in case.  The bullpen is right on the main game screen and shows you who it warming up and if they are ready.

Well, there you have it – Game 1 of DYNASTY League Baseball Online and there are so many more features still to come!  Amazing as the 1969 Mets don’t you think?  I sure think so.

 

Inaugural Final.JPG

 

 

This time it counts: How Managerial All-Star game strategy has changed and a simulated preview of the 2009 All-Star game retro-managed with DYNASTY League Baseball


With the All-Star game returning to St. Louis for the first time since 1966, you might be amazed at how differently that game was managed compared to recent All-Star games.

1966MLBAllStarGameLogo.gif 

Check out the box score from the 1966 All-Star game held in Busch Stadium in 105 sweltering degrees:

 


 
http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/NLS/NLS196607120.shtml

What do you notice about the starting lineups? Willie Mays, Roberto Clemente, Hank Aaron, Willie McCovey and Ron Santo all played not only the entire nine innings, but also the tenth inning when Maury Will’s single to right-field scored Tim McCarver to notch another victory for the NL 2-1.

If Joe Torre and Bob Brenly had managed the 2002 All-Star game the same way Sam Mele of the Twins and Walter Alston of the Dodgers managed the 1966 All-Star game, Bud Selig would never have come close to having to throw up his hands and declare it a 7-7 tie.

2009all_star_game_logo.png
One thing that jumps out from the 2009 All-Star game roster, is that among the 33 players, there are only two regular catchers on each team. On the 1966 All-Star game roster, there were three catchers on each team among the 27 man roster. The strategy and injury implications are huge here. With only two catchers, you are forced to use your starting catcher for all nine innings in the St. Louis heat because you will have no back up catcher if you use your second catcher. Imagine a scenario where the back up catcher gets hurt? Will Bud Selig instruct Bob Uecker to come out and put on the catching gear?

Late in the game, if catcher Yadier Molina comes up to bat in a crucial game situation, AL Manager Joe Maddon has several great right-handed relief options vs. the right-handed hitting Molina that can’t be countered with a left-handed pinch hitter like Ryan Howard, Prince Fielder or Adrian Gonzalez by NL Manager Charlie Manuel. Manuel could gamble if he wants to roll the dice and use up his last catcher, but can you imagine the backlash on “This time it counts” if backup catcher Brian McCann is injured? Note also that there are four first basemen for the NL in a game that Albert Pujols should play all nine innings in his home park – at least he would have in 1966.

In 1966, Walter Alston pitched Sandy Koufax for three innings for the NL followed by Jim Bunning (2 IP), Juan Marichal (3 IP) and Gaylord Perry (2 IP). That’s four pitchers leaving you with plenty of bullpen match-up options and no need to walk down to Bud’s field box and tell him you are out of pitchers. The 1966 extra inning game also was finished in a crisp 2:19 minutes. Are you taking notes Charlie and Joe for Tuesday’s tilt?

Our simulated DYNASTY League Baseball 2009 All-Star game was retro-managed with tactics similar to the way All-Star games were managed in the 1960’s, 1970’s and 1980’s. The game summary follows:

Teixeira’s 5 RBI’s lead AL to 6-1 win

Mark Teixeira was a one man wrecking crew wreaking havoc in the first inning by hammering a pitch from jittery Tim Lincecum into left field for a 3-run HR. Lincecum walked two batters in the first before Teixeira’s HR. Ryan Braun hit a 375 foot HR to right-center off Roy Halladay to close the gap to 3-1 in the bottom of the second. Teixeira struck again in the top of the fifth clearing the bases with a 2-run double to left-center off Johan Santana.

The relief trio of Jonathan Papelbon, Joe Nathan and Mariano Rivera shutdown any comeback hopes for the NL in the 7th, 8th and 9th innings.

Analysis: If Tim Lincecum can avoid first inning jitters and control problems he should settle down for a good if not dominating outing. The Teixera HR was the only hit of the 1st inning for the AL, but was the crucial blow of the game.

Who is not on the NL and AL rosters is going to play a factor as much as who is on the roster. Without injured Carlos Beltran, the NL outfield lacks depth in power, speed and defense (Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth are the only CF). The 2009 NL outfield of Ryan Braun, Shane Victorino and Raul Ibanez hardly compares to the 1966 NL outfield of Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Roberto Clemente.

Beltran could have provided excellent defense in CF with his A Range and -2 (very good) Throwing Arm and been a threat to take the extra base with his 9 Baserunning rating on his DYNASTY League Baseball player card.

The three top AL relievers Papelbon, Nathan and Rivera all give up a very high success rate on stolen base attempts (rated +4, +4 and +2 on their DYNASTY League Baseball player cards) so the NL needs to take advantage of this with the runners that they do get on base vs. the terrific AL bullpen trio.

Most of the NL left-handed power (Prince Fielder, Ryan Howard and Adrian Gonzalez) will be log jammed on the bench behind first baseman Albert Pujols so although Charlie Manual has some great pinch hitting options vs. the RH dominated AL pitching staff, it will be unlikely any of the trio will get more than one AB.

With all the emphasis on Albert Pujols and his place as the best hitter in Baseball (and deservedly so), Mark Teixera his AL counterpart may be overlooked, if that is possible as a Yankee in New York. Texiera is tearing up right-handed pitching at a .352 BA/.463 OBP/.591 SLG rate.

 

DYNASTY League Baseball from the designer of Pursue the Pennant is a landmark baseball simulation lauded for it’s high level of realism and is available in a Board version, Windows version and an upcoming Online version featuring Greatest Teams tournaments and continuous Draft leagues. This year marks the 25th Anniversary of Pursue the Pennant and DYNASTY League Baseball.

More information is available at designdepot.com

25th Anniversary Pursue the Pennant and DYNASTY League Baseball Tour Tournament event AT&T Park September 11-13


logo.gifThank you to all of the great fans of Pursue the Pennant and DYNASTY League Baseball for 25 fantastic fun years of playing!

Some of the history is captured at the DYNASTY League Baseball reviews and feature link with a new column just added “Yanks Control Board Meeting” from Michael Bauman of the Milwaukee Journal and MLB.com that left us all smiling.

at&tpark3.jpgWe are celebrating 25 years of Pursue the Pennant and DYNASTY League Baseball during the AT&T Park Tour Tournament Express September 11-13. Your invitation to this amazing event is at the DYNASTY League Baseball League link

If you are on Facebook, you can read about the AT&T Park Tour Tournament event at the DYNASTY League Baseball Fan page

The Tour Tournament leads off Friday, September 11 from Union Station in Los Angeles, CA with connections from San Diego, Anaheim and Santa Barbara where we will board Amtrak’s Coast Starlight premier train with first class accomodations and private roomettes.

If you live in the San Franciso bay area there is an opportunity to join us on Saturday, September 12 for the Tour of AT&T Park, Greatest Teams bracket tournament and Dodgers vs. Giants game. 

All of you native Giant and A’s fans in the bay area we want you to join our group coming from Los Angeles!

If you live in other parts of the country please contact us so we can help you connect into Los Angeles or San Diego.

PacificParlourcar.jpgAs our on-board chef prepares breakfast, we’ll watch some of the most spectacular scenery in the USA roll by in the Dining car.  After breakfast, we’ll head to the one of a kind Pacific Parlour car (the only passenger Parlour car on Amtrak) accessible to first class passengers only and ideal for gaming. In fact, it has a cabinet of board games.  The Pacific Parlour car will be serving appetizers, wine and cheese so prepare to be pampered.  This doesn’t even happen in the Legend seats at Yankee Stadium!

Our Greatest Teams tournament will allow you to select from any of the great teams. I’ll be on the tour tournament event of course and will be skippering the 1985 Cardinals.  You’ll have your chance to play me with your favorite greatest team as well as all the other fans on the trip which will be some of the top competition.

On Saturday September 12 we’ll head out to AT&T Park for a tour.  On your behind-the-scenes ballpark tour of sensational AT&T Park, the home of the San Francisco Giants, you will get to go places only the players and staff go including:

The Field Warning Track
The Dugouts
Indoor Batting Cages
The Visitors’ Clubhouse
The Press Box
The Luxury Suite
Ballpark Features and Views 
 
AT&Tparknight.jpgAfter the tour, we’ll be starting up a local mini-Greatest Team bracket style tournament right at AT&T Park that DYNASTY League Baseball fans from the Bay Area can join in with the group from San Diego and Los Angeles.

The tournaments will include play with the Board version, Windows version and the debut on the new Online version using the Giants Wi-Fi broadband wireless network at AT&T Park.

After the tournament our group will see the Dodgers battle the Giants at AT&T Park.

attparkupperdeck.jpgAt the league page there are links to recaps of previous tour tournaments which have some incredible stories to be told. 

FenwayDugout096.jpg
 A hurricane at Fenway Park, the lost George Brett folder, the miracle comeback on the Three Rivers express, the young titans battling in the Amtrak cafe car enroute to the Busch

Stadium Express are just a few of many stories.  Above, Dan Treuden (middle) and Mike Mack (right) join me with the Green Monster looming behind before the hurricane hit on the Fenway Park Oympic Stadium Express Tour Tournament.

AT&T Park Express Tour Tournament includes:

- Greatest Teams tournament

Team selections are at this MLB.com News Blog:
http://mlblogsdynastyleaguebaseball.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/fenwaydugout096-thumb-400×271-11505911.jpgarchives/2009/04/new_greatest_teams_tournament.html

- Round trip first class rail fare with private roomette and chef prepared breakfast, lunch and dinner on both Friday and Sunday.

- Two nights San Francisco Hilton Garden Hotel

- Tour of AT&T Ball Park

- Club Level ticket to Giants vs. Dodgers September 12, 2009

Double occupancy: $448

Tour, Tournament and Game only on September 12 for local DYNASTY League Baseball fans in the Bay area: $124

Space is limited…

Team selections on first come basis.

Deadline for reservations is Monday June 15, 2009

Call 561-494-2711 or email orders@designdepot.com

See you in September!

- Mike

Dinner with Milwaukee Braves Eddie Mathews: 1957 season re-release and a trip back to the 1950’s with friends Willie, Mickey, Duke,


The DYNASTY League Baseball 1957 season board version card set is being re-released this Summer in the new color format with updated vs. LH and vs. RH batting and pitching splits.  The 1957 season Windows version will also be updated with new vs. LH and vs. RH splits.

EddieMathewsdinner.jpgWhat would have it been like to sit in the empty chair and have dinner with Eddie Mathews (middle) in what looks like a typical German restaurant in Milwaukee?

First off, you haven’t eaten unless you’ve been to one of Milwaukee’s famous German restaurants the king of which is Karl Rausch’s.

Most of you are like me. We never had the chance to see the great stars of the 1950’s. So here is your chance to learn a bit more`and take in some of the images of what Baseball was like in 1957.

My Grandfather from my father’s side of the family owned an Optical company near Mitchell St. in Milwaukee.  In the 1950’s, Mitchell St. was a thriving area and some of the Milwaukee Braves would come in as customers including Eddie Mathews.  The unique thing about the Milwaukee Braves and their fans is that it was a mutual love affair.  It was more than the Milwaukee attendance records that were set while outdrawing larger markets in Chicago and New York.  The fans loved the Braves and the Braves loved the fans. 

MilBravesfans1957TV.jpg

From the new book “Milwaukee Braves: Heroes and Heartbreak” author William Povletich explains the love affair: “People ask me what the common theme is for all the guys I talked to, and it’s almost like they all have been brainwashed with the same script,” Povletich said. “It’s ‘We loved Milwaukee. When we came here our money was no good. They installed lockers in the dugout and filled it with meat and dairy products and ice cream. When we came home from a game, there’d be cases of beer on our front porch.

Shortly after Pursue the Pennant began in September of 1984, Bob Allen and I took the Amtrak train from Milwaukee to Chicago to meet with the Advertising agency that we were designing the Pursue the Pennant logo and Ad campaign with.  Bob was the Milwaukee Braves PR Director for all 13 winning seasons of Milwaukee Braves history from 1953-1965 and was also Hank Aaron’s agent.  He actually had the Milwaukee Braves Championship trophy in his house!  Bob did not want to have the Braves memorabilia taken to Atlanta when the Braves were hijacked to the deep south.

Bob Allen borrowed his 1957 Official scorebook to me so I could research the Milwaukee Braves vs. LH and vs. RH splits.  I sent copies of his scorebook to retrosheet.org to help with the project of finding original scorebooks from past seasons.

Bob Allen appears in the dugout at the start of this incredible video with rare color footage of Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Joe Torre and Eddie Mathews in Milwaukee County Stadium. How lucky is this kid?  Best day ever?  You bet. When you get right down to it isn’t this really what Baseball is all about?

Aaron.jpgMy parents took me to St. Louis to see the Cardinals play vs. the Atlanta Braves in August of 1973.  I became a Cardinals fan in 1967, but had never seen them play in St. Louis.  We went to the historic Chase Park Plaza hotel that the Braves were staying at and sure enough here comes Hank Aaron walking through the lobby. Hank was in the midst of his chase of Babe Ruth’s home run record. I went up and told him I was from Milwaukee and Hank signed my baseball. 

Later that day we went to Stan Musial’s restaurant and as soon as we walked in there was “Stan the Man”.

Musial.stance.jpg

Stan was extremely friendly and asked me where I was from and “Can you hit?”  I said, “Yeah!”  Stan signed the same baseball Hank signed. Best day ever?  Certainly right at the top of the list.

This Spring while at the St. Louis Cardinals camp in Jupiter, FL I ran across Peter Gammons and told him about the 1957 Milwaukee Braves winning the DYNASTY League Baseball ESPN.com Greatest Teams bracket style tournament. Peter’s reaction was, “How did that happen?”

Peter would put the 1939 Yankees at the top of his list, but what about the 1957 Milwaukee Braves?

MilBraveslogo.gifBelow are Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract rankings for the Milwaukee Braves:

BILL JAMES POSITIONAL RANKINGS INDEX

Del Crandell, C____________30
Red Schoendienst, 2B_______28
Eddie Mathews, 3B___________3
Johnny Logan, SS___________39
Hank Aaron, RF______________2
Joe Adcock, 1B_____________43
Bobby Thomson, RF__________59
Warren Spahn, P_____________5

The big three of Eddie Mathews (3), Hank Aaron (2) and Warren Spahn (5) may be the highest ranking trio of any greatest team.

 

Spahndelivery.jpgBy comparison, the 1939 New York Yankees big three had Joe DiMaggio (5), Joe Gordon (16) and Bill Dickey (7) as their highest ranking trio.  Below: Joe DiMaggio playing casino on a train trip with teammates.  Too bad Joe and the rest of the Yankees didn’t have a copy of the  DYNASTY League Baseball board version on the train to have their own tournaments! The 1950’s marked the last decade that players would travel by train.  In 1957, the furthest most western team was still Kansas City.

DimaggioTrain.jpgFrom the Wisconsin Historical Society:

The Milwaukee Braves were already a very good baseball team when Albert “Red” Schoendienst joined them in June of 1957. Featuring future Hall of Famers Warren Spahn, Eddie Matthews and Henry Aaron and a strong supporting cast, the Braves had dueled the Brooklyn Dodgers for the 1956 National League pennant, losing by a single game on the last day of the season.

Schoendienst, a 12-year veteran and 10-time All-Star, was just what the Braves needed. Acquired from the New York Giants, Red brought sharp hitting and excellent fielding to the second base position, along with a wealth of baseball knowledge and understated experience. Many people consider Scheondienst the player who transformed the Braves from a competitive team in 1956 to World Champions in 1957.

Henry Aaron recalled, “I’ll never forget it. Red came in to the clubhouse and put on the Braves’ uniform, and it made us all feel like Superman. We knew he was going to mean so much to our ballclub that wouldn’t show up in the boxscore. He provided the leadership in the clubhouse and on the field. He was never a rah-rah college kind of guy, but he definitely became the leader of that ballclub.”

BurdetteWifecelebrate1957.jpgAbove: 1957 World Series hero Lew Burdette and wife celebrate winning the championship in Milwaukee.

What about some of the great stars of the 1950’s that Eddie Mathews and the Braves played against?  Let’s take a look:

Williams.Musial.Mantle2.jpgAbove: Pull up a chair. Ted Williams, Stan Musial and Mickey Mantle all part of the new 1957 season DYNASTY League Baseball re-release. 

Mantleswing2.jpgAbove: Mickey Mantle had one of his best seasons in 1957.  .421 BA with A Power vs. LH and .339 with A Power vs. RH on his DYNASTY League Baseball player card.  Where do you think this ball is heading?

 

YankeeStadiumbleachers.jpgAbove: Maybe the bleachers in Old Yankee Stadium, one of the parks included in the new ULTIMATE Ball Park charts for the 1957 season.

 

Mantlerunning.jpgAbove: Before his knee injury, Mickey Mantle could really run and was the fastest player in the AL earning a 10 Baserunning rating on his 1957 DYNASTY League Baseball player card.

WilliamsComiskey2.jpg
 Above: Ted Williams hitting in Old Comiskey Park.  Williams had one of his best seasons in 1957 hitting .388 with an OBP of .528 and SLG of .731.  With RSP, Williams hit .373 with an .800 SLG easily earning him a Clutch hitting rating on his 1957 DYNASTY League Baseball card.   

 

MaysWrigley.jpgLeft: The joy of Willie Mays playing for the New York Giants in Wrigley Field.  1957 was the last year the Giants would play in New York before moving to San Francisco. Has there ever been a better defensive CF (Mays A+/65/-3 defensive player ratings)? 

What couldn’t Willie Mays do?  Run (10 Baserunning rating),
hit (.333 BA), hit for power (A Power), get on base (.411 OBP), and hit in the Clutch (Clutch hitting rating earned in part by hitting  .361 with a .701 SLG in Close and late situations).

You’d be hard pressed to come up with better CF than in the 1950’s with Mantle, Mays and Duke Snider.

 

 

PoloGrounds.jpgAbove: Polo Grounds DEEP CF distance of 430 feet for a HR off the DYNASTY League Baseball ball park chart.
Duke Snider.jpgLeft: Duke Snider hit 40 HR in 1957 (A Power) in the last year the Dogers would play in Brooklyn.

EbbetsField2.jpgAbove: Ebbets Field.  Has anyone hit a 395 foot HR into the DeSoto car dealership in RF using the DYNASTY League Baseball Greatest Team Ball Park charts?

F.Robinsonclubhouse.jpgLeft: Frank Robinson in the Crosley Field clubhouse. The clubhouse is typical of what they looked like in the 1950s’.

I had the chance to meet Frank Robinson while working for the Baltimore Orioles and he is a super guy – friendly and open. On the field he was a tremendous team leader (A Intangible rating) and a fierce competitor who would cut your heart out.

Perhaps one of the most overlooked stars.  Somehow he was not elected on the MLB All-Century team even though his 586 HR ranked him 5th on the All-Time HR list.  Bill James ranks Frank Robinson as the third best RF of All-time.

 
F.Robinsonripped.jpgLeft: Frank Robinson is ripped!  Robinson was a tremendous athlete and fierce competitor having played with Celtics Bill Russell on his high school basketball team.

In 1957, Robinson was coming off his previous  rookie of the year season with the Reds and hit .322.  Robinson was also an outstanding outfielder with the Reds (A+/80/-2).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Banksss.jpgAbove: Ernie Banks playing shortstop.  Other shortstops had more range (Banks has B range on his 1957 player card), but how many hit 43 HR?

Banks14.jpgAbove: Mr. Cub.  Fans could literally reach out and touch the players at Wrigley Field.

Hope you enjoyed dinner with Eddie Mathews and remember this is the Milwaukee Braves in the 1950’s so remember to pick up the check!

 

 

 

New Greatest Teams tournament teams for DYNASTY League Baseball Online


The updated list of 70 teams for DYNASTY League Baseball Online Greatest Teams tournaments is below:

You can read about the DYNASTY League Baseball Greatest Teams including the ESPN.com tournament at the Greatest Teams link

Note that the green teams are new and the orange teams are updated.  The 1970 Orioles replaced the 1969 Orioles and the 1973 A’s replaced the 1974 A’s.

The goal was to have at least one representative team from each franchise.

We’ll have more details in future posts of exactly how the Greatest Teams Online tournaments will work.

1924 WASH 92-62
1927 NY A 110-44
1929 CHI N 98-54
1929 PHIL A 104-46
1934 STL N 95-58
1934 DET 101-53
1939 NY A 106-45
1942 STL N 106-48
1946 BOS 104-50 
1954 CLE 111-43
1955 BRK 98-55
1957 NY A 98-56
1957 MIL N 95-59
1961 NY A 109-53
1962 SF 103-62
1965 LA 97-65
1967 STL 101-60
1968 DET 103-59
1969 NY N 100-62
1970 MIN 98-64

1970 BAL 108-541971 PIT 97-65

1973 OAK 94-681975 CIN 108-54
1975 BOS 95-65
1977 NYA 100-62
1977 KC 102-60
1977 LA 98-64
1977 PHIL 101-61
1979 PIT 98-64
1981 MON 60-48
1982 MIL A 95-67
1982 BAL 94-68
1982 CAL 93-69
1982 STL 92-70
1983 CHI A 99-63
1984 CHI N 96-65
1984 SD 92-70
1984 DET 104-58
1985 STL 101-61
1986 NY N 108-54
1986 HOU 96-66
1986 BOS 95-66
1988 OAK 104-58
1993 TOR 95-67
1993 PHIL 97-65
1994 MON 74-40
1996 CLE 99-62
1997 FL 92-70
1998 SD 98-64
1998 NY A 114-48
1999 ATL 103-59
1999 TEX 95-67
2000 NY N 94-68
2001 SEA 116-46
2001 AZ 92-70
2002 SF 95-66
2002 ANA 99-66
2004 BOS 98-64
2004 STL 105-57
2005 CHI A 99-63
2005 HOU 89-73
2006 DET 95-67
2006 MN 96-66
2007 COL 90-73
2008 TB 97-65
2008 PHIL 92-70
2009 NY A 103-59
2010 TEX 90-72
2010 SF 92-70 

Ball Park tips for the Windows version via the 1972 World Series


I’ve been playing the 1972 World Series recently and to jog your memory it is regarded as one of the tightest World Series of All-Time with six of the seven games being decided by one run.

You can read more about 1972 World Series in the Sports Illustrated Mustaches All the Way story by William Leggett.

To get started with the Windows version though you may need to update your ball park file at the DYNASTY Download if you have not already.  To check if you already have the updated ball park file go to pre-game setup and click on the ball park button shown below:

Pregamesetup.JPGNext, you’ll be able to view all of the ball park effects by selecting the radio button on the left for All Seasons shown below:

BallParkratings.JPGScroll down to Oakland and you should see a year range from 1970 to 1995.  If you don’t see that year range for Oakland Alameda you will want to update your ball park chart.dyn file at the DYNASTY Download.

You should always select the correct year of the game you are playing in pre-game setup because the game uses that to determine which ball park effects and ball park image to use in the game you are playing.  

If you encounter a ball park image for the wrong home team it may be that the year for that ball park is not available yet as part of the ball park effects.  This may happen with some of the past season sets for certain parks. The remedy is to select the next closest year in pre-game setup that is available by looking at the year ranges of that park.

After you have completed pre-game setup and clicked Play Ball you should see the ball park image display.  If not, you need to complete step 3 found in your v2.2 install insert.

And finally a BIG CAUTION about never using the Groundskeeper menu option to view Stadium pictures.  It’s like kryptonite to the game so just stay away from that feature.  It was only included as a way to test the ball park images and should have been taken out in the final version of the game.  It will corrupt your game and you will get VACANT results in the lineup and all kinds of other funky errors.  Stay away from that menu option and you’ll be fine. If you have used that menu option and the game is coming up with strange errors like the VACANT error and skipping players in the lineup chances are you will need to delete and reinstall the game.

1972CinatOak.JPG     

 

Cardinals Ricky Horton and the story of the 1985 locker room celebration champagne bottle


Many of the great St. Louis Cardinal Legends are in Jupiter, FL January 21-25, 2009 playing against 102 Cardinal fantasy campers at Roger Dean Stadium to benefit Hire Heroes USA. Hire Heroes USA is dedicated to providing job assistance to our wounded and disabled military personnel returning from conflicts overseas.

St. Louis Cardinal Camp coordinator Sara Trask invited me to camp for a meeting with St. Louis Cardinals left-hander Ricky Horton. First, I had a chance to see the Cardinal Legend team play and I spotted pitcher Ken Dayley in right field and also said “Hi” to catcher Mike Matheny. Many former Cardinals participate in camp including Lou Brock (instructor), John Tudor, Mike Lavalliere and Joe Magrane just to name a few.

This is Field of Dreams Cardinal style.

Oh yeah, and while I was waiting for Rick Horton we had to find a glove for Lou Brock so he could play in the afternoon game. Pinch me am I dreaming?

Rick Horton is the St. Louis Cardinals Legends Camp Commissioner and also is one of the Cardinals television color commentators.  He arrived in his golf cart by the batting cages where we met for our interview. I shook Rick’s hand and told him this was not the first time we had met and that I had something to show him.


 
RickyHorton.dynplayercard.JPG
Ricky Horton reviews his 1985 Cardinals DYNASTY League Baseball card in the shadow of the 1985 celebration champagne bottle 

I had boxed and packed what I was about to show Rick like it was the Ark of the Covenant from Raiders of the lost ark. Rick watched wide-eyed as I unwrapped a champagne bottle from the Cardinals locker room on Saturday October 5, 1985. The Cardinals had just clinched the NL East Pennant in a 7-1 win vs. the Cubs with John Tudor getting the win. On the bottle are the signatures signed in the champagne drenched locker room of John Tudor, Andy Van Slyke, Jack Clark, Joaquin Andujar (#47), Ozzie Smith, Willie McGee (1985 MVP) and Ricky Horton

Rick’s reaction was “WOW! This is so cool! We have to show this to John Tudor and the rest of the guys.”

Rick’s signature was the only one in ink (the rest were from a sharpie that Willie McGee was nice enough to borrow me) and was faded. After our interview, Rick re-signed his signature with a sharpie so this one of a kind piece of Cardinal memorabilia would not forget him.

The champagne was flowing that day in the Cardinal Busch Stadium locker room. I was in the locker room after meeting with Mike Rappaport of the old St. Louis Globe Democrat who wrote a column in which we pre-played the key October 1-3 series vs. the rival New York Mets in a thrilling pennant race that went right down to the wire.

After Willie McGee borrowed me his sharpie, I went locker to locker to congratulate the players and record the moment on the champagne bottle. As I walked out of Busch Stadium with my prize firmly in hand, waiting outside were thousands of fans. I was like Moses parting the red sea of Cardinal fans as they cheered loudly realizing what I had in hand had come from the victorious locker room. What a moment!

Rick was one of the key pitchers out of Whitey Herzog’s bullpen for the 1985 Cardinals. The 1985 Cardinals are part of Greatest Teams 1 so everyone pull out your Ricky Horton DYNASTY League Baseball player card or fire up the DYNASTY League Baseball Windows version and load a game with the 1985 Cardinals (maybe vs. the 1986 rival NY Mets?) to view Rick’s player card.


 


RickyHorton.champagne85.JPG
“Is my 7/A (-2) pickoff hold rating good?” – Ricky Horton

I handed an uncut sheet of 1985 Cardinal player cards to Rick with the Ricky Horton card in the upper left-hand corner of the sheet. Rick studied his player card and immediately asked if his Pickoff/Hold rating of 7/A (-2) was good?

I explained that the 7 Pickoff rating was excellent on a scale of 1-10 and that the A Hold rating was excellent at preventing runners from attempting to steal and the (-2) reduced the SB success percentage of opposing base stealers.

I then went on to show Rick the Deep Drive Ball park chart distance numbers in feet with the various power ratings, wind and temperature adjustments along with the Ball Park charts of Busch Stadium 2 from both 1966-1969 and 1977-1991.

“I used to play Strat-O-Matic, but DYNASTY League Baseball is much more realistic.”, said Rick.

Then we went on for a few questions:

MC: You were especially tough vs. LH batters (.219 BA vs. LH in 1985). Which pitches did you feel were your best pitches vs. LH batters?

RH: “Slider away and fastball in were the pitches that I used most to get LH batters out.”

MC: Did you feel that the Cardinals had an advantage over other teams with Whitey Herzog managing?

RH: “Absolutely.” “I saw many times how Whitey boxed other Mangers in.” “Whitey was an incredible Manager and always was thinking one step ahead.”

I followed up by saying that Whitey Herzog has to be in the Hall of Fame as a Manager and Rick agreed that there is no question he has to be in the Hall of Fame.

MC: You were an excellent fielder. Is fielding ability something that you took extra pride in given that the Cardinals were such a great defensive team?

RH: “The bar was set high with the Cardinals.” Rick said that there was a team influence and emphasis on defense. Since he was not a power pitcher, fielding was one of the things he focused on.

MC: In 1985 you lead the Cardinal staff with 3 pickoffs pitching only 89 innings.

You had a very good pick off move and ability to hold runners. Were you especially conscious of stopping the running game since it was such a big part of the Cardinal attack?

RH: “When I was in college I would look in the mirror to work on my pickoff move instead of studying for calculus.” Whitey Herzog told Rick that since he was not an overpowering pitcher that it was important to do the little things right. Rick mentioned that in 1986 he was voted Best Move in the League by NL Managers.

We ended exchanging contact info and the real prospect of DYNASTY League Baseball becoming a sponsor of St. Louis Cardinals Legends Camp. So stay tuned and hopefully we’ll have much more with Ricky Horton and the rest of the Cardinal Legends with their take on DYNASTY League Baseball.

 

 

2008 Season JAM ratings preview: Who are the pitchers who are the best at getting out of a jam?


JAM rated pitchers can dominate non Clutch Hitting rated batters with runners in scoring position and 2 out and in close and late situations in DYNASTY League Baseball.  They also are the kryptonite to otherwise terrorizing Clutch hitters by neutralizing their Clutch hitting ability.

Pitchers in DYNASTY League Baseball are awarded a JAM situation rating based on their performance primarily with RSP/2 and in Close and late situations with RSP/2 weighted more heavily. 

I asked Dennis Martinez in our previous interview why he pitched so well in JAM situations and the answer seems to be in part being able to bear down in those situations.  Great pitchers with great stuff more often than not perform exceptionally well in jam situations. 

NL Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum is a great example. 
Lincecum.jpgLincecum has made a meteoric rise to best pitcher in the NL.  I love watching this guy pitch.  Lincecum is a fast working pitcher who absolutely attacks the batter with a blazing fastball.  In RSP/2 situations, Lincecum allowed a BA and SLG of .200/.311.

Lincecum: JAM

After having a mediocre year in 2007 and failing to get a JAM rating, Mariano Rivera came back with a vengeance in 2008.  Rivera had a 1.40 ERA for the Yankees and a dominating RSP/2  BA/SLG of .045/.045.  Your eyes are OK and it isn’t a typo: .045

Rivera: JAM

This years biggest surprise at not getting a JAM? AL Cy Young winner Cliff Lee.  Lee had a tremendous season, but not in JAM situations where his RSP/2 BA/SLG was .289/.382.  What Lee did do well was keeping lead off runners off base and was awarded an off situation rating (off ratings awarded to pitchers who rarely walk the lead off batter).

Here is a guy I hate to see pitching vs. either of my favorite teams the Cardinals and Brewers.  My lasting memory of Roy Oswalt was during Game 6 of the 2005 NLCS.  Albert Pujols had just launched a Brad Lidge pitch onto the railroad tracks at Minute Maid Field in Game 5 to save the Cardinals season and send the series back to old Busch Stadium. Oswalt faced off vs. Mark Mulder as I watched from my center field bleacher seat.  The momentum was all with the Cardinals as Cardinal fans were sky high and Astro fans were deflated. Everyone hoped this would not be the last game at Busch Stadium, but Oswalt ended the Cardinals season and Busch Stadium in a completely dominating performance.
RoyOswalt.jpg 

Oswalt was as tough as ever in 2008 with RSP/2 BA/SLG of .189/.243.

Oswalt: JAM

The Red Sox pitching staff, even without the injured Curt Schilling who perennially is as tough in JAM situations as any pitcher, still came through exceedingly well in the JAM situation awards.

Lead by “Dice K” Matsuzaka, the Red Sox staff has four JAM rated pitchers for 2008.  Daisuke Matsuzaka blew away hitters with RSP/2 with a BA/SLG of .153/.222.  Jonathan Papelbon, Josh Beckett and emerging lefty ace Jon Lester join Matsuzaka for Baseball’s most dominating pitching staff in JAM situations.

DiceKMatsuzaka2.jpgMatsuzaka: JAM

Beckett: JAM

Lester: JAM

Papelbon: JAM

Smashing the All-Time single season saves record held by Bobby Thigpen in 1990, Francisco Rodriguez recorded an amazing 62 saves in 2008.  In both Close and late .194/.264 and RSP/2 situations .208/.292, K-Rod excelled at getting out of jams.  

48 batters stepped to the plate with RSP/2 and 20 of them went down in smoke to K-Rod.
frodriguez.jpg 

 

2008 Season Fielding ratings preview: Who deserved Gold Gloves and who didn’t?


With the 2008 AL and NL Gold Glove ratings being awarded here are a few highlights from the 2008 season DYNASTY League Baseball fielding ratings that have been awarded.

One of the more challenging fielding ratings to rate is a players Range rating.  No one statistic can accurately rate a player’s fielding range. So how are Range ratings determined in DYNASTY League Baseball?

DYNASTY League Baseball uses a players Zone rating and his Range factor to determine where the player grades out on a historical scale.  From there, the grade is cross-checked with input from major league scouts, beat writers, broadcasters and even players and managers.  In 2008, more use is being made of John Dewan’s +/- fielding ratings as another source to check against.

OK, now onto the good stuff…

Albert Pujols.  We all know he is the best hitter in Baseball.  Do you know how great a fielder Albert Pujols is?  Here is how Pujols ranked in +/- the last three years among first basemen:

Year   Rank
2006   1

2007   1

2008   2

Pujols1b.jpgPujols zone rating in 2008?

.935 which ranks first among all regular first basemen.

Want more?  Pujols Range factor at 1b was 10.64, again easily ranking first among all first basemen.  Range factor at 1b can be misleading, but the fact that Pujols ranks so high in +/-, Zone rating and Range factor gives him a clean sweep.

Amazing.

Pujols not only has great range, but also rarely makes an an error fielding at a .996 clip with only 6 errors.

The NL Gold Glove first base award went to Adrian Gonzalez (B+ / 85), but the greatest hitter in Baseball is also the greatest fielding first baseman.

Pujols 1b: A+ / 85

St. Louis Post Dispatch’s Derrick Goold has a great blog on “Adding to St. Louis Cardinals’ golden history of Gloves” that includes the All-Time Gold Glove team leaders.

The Phillies and Rays were two of the best defensive teams in Baseball in 2008 so it is no surprise that both teams ended up in the World Series.  Emerging as one of the prime fielding second basemen in Baseball is Chad Utley.  Utley’s 5.18 Range factor and .844 Zone rating were both excellent.  What stands out even more is Utley’s +47 +/- rating which ranked 1st among all second basemen by a wide margin (Mark Ellis +26 2nd).

ChaseUtleycatch.jpg

Utley  2b: A / 75 

One overlooked defensive outfielder is the Orioles Jay Payton.  Payton put up outstanding to excellent Range factors in both LF (2.96) and CF (3.14) and also has a good arm allowing only 11 extra bases in 40 opportunites to advance (.275) in LF and (.432) in CF.    


JayPaytoncatch.jpg
Look at some of the fan expressions as Jay Payton makes a great leaping catch at the wall. 


Payton scored +6 with his +/- rating.

OK, the guy has Range, but does he commit a lot of errors a la Arizona’s Justin Upton (5 Error rating on a scale of 100)? Zero errors.  A pristine perfect 1.000 fielding .pct earned Payton a 100 Error rating.

Payton lf: A / 100 / -1

           cf: A / 100 / -1

Thankfully the Gold glove voters did not award the AL Gold Glove to Derek Jeter who once again had one of the worst Range factors (4.05) in Baseball.  You saw how great Pujols was at first base. Now compare Jeters +/- rankings the last three years among regular shortstops to Pujols:

 

Year   Rank

2006   34

2007   34

2008   31

What Jeter did do well in 2008, was to make the plays hit to him as his .979 Fielding .pct earned him an 80 Error rating.

Jeter  ss: D / 80

Player who has not received a Gold Gold yet and most deserves it?

Yadier Molina finally broke through in 2008 with a Gold Glove even though he had better defensive years previously.

                       Range  Error  Throw  Passed Ball  Handling   
Yadier Molina   A+ /     40 /    -1 /      B /               A

crawford_carlcatch.jpg
Carl Crawford has been one of the premier defensive left fielders in Baseball for years in the anonymity of what has been Tampa Bay Rays Baseball.  In 2008, Crawford lead regular LF in Range (2.28), Zone rating (.909) and +/- (+23).  We have been watching or for many fans not watching one of the great defensive left fielders not only among current players, but of All-Time. 

Crawford  lf:  A+ / 70 / 0

 

 Who has Baseball’s best OF throwing arm?

It may well be Rick Ankiel. 
ankiel.arm.jpg
The Pitcher turned Outfielder was featured in two amazing ESPN web gems throwing out a runner at 3rd from the warning track.  Ankiel ranked 3rd best among CF in preventing runner advancement (.468) and the only question with his rifle arm is if it ranks with Roberto Clemente (-4 with that rating being reserved for the best of All-Time).  

Rick Ankiel -3 Throwing arm (scale of -4 best of All-Time to +4 horrible) 

Even though Brandon Inge has been moved all over the field defensively he still continues to amaze at third base even in a part-time role.  In 51 games at third, Inge made only one error.

Inge  3b: A+ / 100

Among AL regulars at third base, Adrian Beltre had an excellent defensive season ranking first in Zone rating (.844) and +/- (+32).

Beltre 3b: A / 80  

Dennis Martinez plays DYNASTY League Baseball and Pursue the Pennant: Part One


“The most exciting series I’ve ever played in was the last four games against Milwaukee.”
- Cal Ripken

DennisMartinez.AlBumbry.jpgDennis Martinez and Al Bumbry meet in Camden Yards for the Orioles 25th Anniversary reunion.

With the new release of the 1982 season for DYNASTY League Baseball, I wanted to ask “El Presidente” Dennis Martinez about his new 1982 Orioles DYNASTY League Baseball player card and then have us play game 1 of the final four game series of the 1982 season in Baltimore between the Orioles and Brewers that determined the AL East winner on the last day of the season.

Why Dennis Martinez?  Dennis has a special place with not only the 1982 Baltimore Orioles, but also with Pursue the Pennant and DYNASTY League Baseball.  Back when I was first designing Pursue the Pennant in 1981 and 1982, I interned as Assistant Public Relations Director at the 1982 Baltimore Orioles Spring Training site in Miami, FL. 

During that time Dennis Martinez and I played some of the first games of what was to become Pursue the Pennant and DYNASTY League Baseball. 
ElPresidente.jpg 

Here we are playing in the Miami Stadium dugout with Dennis Martinez managing the Orioles as Earl Weaver and I’m managing the Brewers as Buck Rodgers with player cards based on the 1980 season. 

What I remember most is how much fun it was to play Dennis.  Each roll of the die with him on the mound he literally pitched the dice.  Ever see a dice roll curve ball when you have played?  Dennis was throwing curveballs, fastballs and changeups.  Every play result seemed do or die with Dennis and I as Gorman Thomas, Paul Molitor and Robin Yount would try and hit the Baltimore star pitcher.

After Spring Training ended and I graduated from University of Miami, FL , I went back home to Brookfield, WI to experience the greatest season in Brewer history.  I went to more Baseball games in 1982 than any other year.  When the Orioles came into Milwaukee I met Dennis at the Pfister hotel to get together and drive him to Milwaukee County Stadium.

We played another memorable game that day in the visiting clubhouse of Milwaukee County Stadium before the scheduled Brewers vs. Orioles game.  This time Dennis was joined in our game by relief ace Tippy Martinez and infielder Lenn Sakata taking turns rolling the dice and managing.   Just about every Oriole in the clubhouse stopped by to watch our game including none other than Earl Weaver.  Earl’s a bit old school so I’m not sure he grasped all of the realism and attention to detail that Pursue the Pennant and DYNASTY League Baseball have, but it did catch the legendary Manager’s attention in what was to be his last year of Managing.

Twenty six years later and Dennis and I are sitting together outside Roger Dean Stadium in Jupiter, FL, Spring Training home of both the Florida Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals as well as home to the Marlins and Cardinals Minor League Florida State League High – A teams.   Dennis is now pitching coach for the Palm Beach Cardinals helping to create future stars of top prospects like Jess Todd the Cardinals Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2008.

I brought along Dennis” new 1982 DYNASTY League Baseball player card with me to show Dennis and asked him about his ability to get left-handed batters out.  I had researched the vs. LH and vs. RH splits before our meeting and found that there were many years that Dennis was more effective vs. LH than RH even though he throws RH.  In 1982, Martinez allowed a BA and SLG of .248/.392 vs. LH and .285/.430 vs. RH. Dennis said that he was able to throw his change-up vs. LH batters giving him an extra pitch and had trouble throwing the same change-up vs. RH batters.

Have you ever wondered what it is that makes some pitchers better in “JAM” situations?  Dennis Martinez earned a JAM situation rating on his 1982 DYNASTY League Baseball player card based on his .218 BA and .338 SLG allowed with runners in scoring position.   When I asked Dennis how he was able to pitch so well in JAM situations, Dennis started to change his body language and said it came down to heart and you could see that a JAM situation was a transforming situation for him that helped make him the top latin pitcher in wins All-Time over runner-up Juan Marichal.

I also brought along the box scores and play by play from Game 1 of the October 1, 1982 doubleheader matching up Dennis Martinez vs. Pete Vuckovich.  The Brewers came into Baltimore three games up with four to play.  Dennis remembered the game well and asked with great interest if he could take the box scores and play-by-play home with him.

Dennis Martinez and I play Game 1 of the October 1, 1982 final series with the DYNASTY League Baseball Windows version in Part 2 …

Stay tuned…

As a sidenote, I rode my bicycle to the Publix on Palm Beach early in the morning last week to pick up a few items.  In the bakery was Jim Palmer.  I recognized him immediately having looked at his photo on the cover of The Sporting News 1974 Baseball Guide I have been studying for the new 1973 season that has just been released.  

PalmerMurray.jpgI introduced myself and Jim Palmer and I talked about some of the people I worked with for the Baltimore Orioles.  Jim was friendly and dressed in work out shirt and shorts looked at the age of 62 like he could still take the mound.  I told him of the game with Dennis Martinez and extended an invitation to join us up in Jupiter, FL.

 

 

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