Results tagged ‘ Baseball simulations ’

Baseball Think Factory’s Jimmy Furtado on his draft league experience as Commissioner playing DYNASTY League Baseball


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Jimmy Furtado at front of room in red hat and jacket leads the Whalehead league draft.

Jimmy Furtado is the President of Baseball Think Factory, one of the leading sabermetric Baseball sites, and also the Commissioner of the 18 team Whalehead League that plays using DYNASTY League Baseball Online.

Q: DYNASTY League Baseball and its predecessor Pursue the Pennant are celebrating their 30th anniversary this year.  How did you originally find out about Pursue the Pennant and what are your recollections of playing the original Board game version?

Jimmy Furtado:
In my life I have played countless baseball games. I started with Ethan Allen’s All-Star Baseball and then tried every game I could find. I eventually settled on SOM and played that for a number of years, including in a few leagues with some of my friends. Shortly after getting out of the Air Force, I found PtP advertised in a magazine. The description appealed to me. I purchased the game and fell in love. The game play descriptions and assorted wild plays made the game seem more lifelike. The results of dice rolls weren’t just basic outcomes (1B, runners advance two bases) they were nuanced happenings (1B to short, just past his outstretched glove). Random plays, like having an outfielder steal a home run or having a HBP turn into a brawl, just made the experience feel more real.

Q: What are your favorite aspects of gameplay in DYNASTY League Baseball Online?

Jimmy Furtado:
My two favorite things about the online game are the live play-by-play and the automatic calculation of player statistics. Not having to compile stats and being able to see updated league leaders right after you play makes the game more like real MLB. After a series I can login to the league’s web site and see the whole league’s stats, including league leaders, right away. That’s pretty cool. The ability to view a game live is also very cool, especially down the stretch and in the post-season. One thing I learned playing simulation games is, the more people who personally see an event, the more real it becomes. When people witness a player hitting a go-ahead homer to win a World Series, they are part of the experience. With that, shared events become part of the history and lore of the league. For example, when my league was just starting out we were all young men with a lot of free time. One year a bunch of people gathered to watch my playoff series. I was down three games to two and behind one run with two outs and a runner on first in the 9th inning of game six. My opponent rolled the dice. A potential home run down the right field was the result. When I picked up the dice, I knew that, if I roll a 15 or higher (out of 100), I would win the game and force a game seven. If I roll 14 or lower, my season was over. I must admit I was feeling pretty good as I tossed the dice on the table. My emotions changed, though, when a one came up on the tens die as the ones die slowly spun around and around. Finally the die flipped and stopped. 14, game and season was over. First, stunned silence.  Riotous laughter followed. The thing is, that story still comes up for discussion twenty years later. It does because, as I mentioned above, it was a shared experience. Had I been alone with my opponent, only he and I would remember it. With the computer game, having that shared experience is even easier. My league has members all around the county. In the last two World Series each game was viewed with about 15+ members following live. As a result every managerial choice, every bad hop that turned into a run and every pivotal moment was something debated and discussed within the group following each game (and sometimes months later) – just as if it really happened -. This aspect of the game makes the experience far more enjoyable.

Q: Pursue the Pennant and DYNASTY League Baseball have always been known for their high level of realism incorporating many subtle nuances of baseball that Bill James first popularized in his Baseball Abstracts. What realistic aspects of DYNASTY League Baseball separate it from other Baseball simulations including the player rating process?

Jimmy Furtado:
Over the years Mike Cieslinski has written quite a bit about the process he uses to rate players and how the game works. I also have been able to spend some time talking to him about his process of rating players. I have learned that he painstakingly rates every player in various categories. He blends together cutting-edge statistical analysis and traditional scouting techniques. That’s why, although I occasionally disagree with his ratings on individual players, I respect and appreciate the end results. I believe his player rating are the best available. The game itself is very well designed. It does an excellent job of realistically recreating MLB baseball. It has some great touches. Ball parks matter. A pitcher’s ground ball/ flyball tendency matters.  Whether the batter is a pull or spray hitter matters.  If a shortstop is better at turning the double play, it matters. If a pitcher is homer prone, it matters. Ball Parks matter.  A team playing in Fenway will give up doubles off the wall.  A catcher’s ability to call a game and frame pitchers matters.  If I take all these realistic factors into account and build my team accordingly, I have an advantage. If I ignore them and bring a homer-friendly pitcher into Coors Field, for example, I will pay the penalty.  In other words, team building in Dynasty League Baseball is much more realistic than other games. I also like having the card numbers and game engine open and available to me. Being a person with a sabermetric bent, I like being able to analyze and compare player cards. If a game player is so inclined, he can calculate how many runs created and wins a player’s card is worth. I do it myself, using an updated version of my own eXtrapolated Runs/ Wins (http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/btf/scholars/furtado/articles/IntroducingXR.htm) It’s not required, though. Most of the guys in my league don’t get down into the nitty-gritty numbers and still win. For people like me, however, it’s a great feature.

Q: You are the Commissioner of the Whalehead League, a draft league that plays via DYNASTY League Baseball Online.   Tell us about the league, its players and the appeal of playing friends and co-workers with DYNASTY League Baseball online?

Jimmy Furtado:
My league was originally formed in 1989. It operated 20 consecutive seasons before disbanding in 2009. I recreated the league in 2013, when the online version debuted. When I created the league, my friends and I were young, carefree guys without many responsibilities. We spent a lot of time together talking baseball. We often disagreed on the moves of our favorite teams. Playing in a fantasy league was a natural extension of those debates. By playing a game, I told my friends, we could put our theories into practice and get bragging rights by proving who really knew what he was talking about. The league played head-to-head. We started with seven original members and grew to as many as 16. As enjoyable as the league was, over time, it became increasing more difficult to find the time to play. Kids’ teams need coaching. More responsibility got piled on at work. Spouses needed us to cut the grass. Discretionary time became scarce.  Eventually it grew impossible to play face-to-face. Finally we tried to transition to a computer-based league, but the coordination of distributing league files was just too much for many members. Ultimately the league disbanded without completing a single computer-based season. We all missed playing and the connection it provided, however. The league was more than just a competition. It was a mechanism to keep in contact with friends and relatives. We all missed it and my long-time members kept bugging me to restart the league. When I saw DLB online debut, I figured it was worth a try. Most of the old members rejoined and I added a few new ones via DLB Facebook group and from my web site, BaseballThinkFactory.org. We just recently concluded our second season. We now have 18 members, most who live in Massachusetts. Other members live in England, Florida, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Tennessee. We coordinate using a Facebook group. The draft is conducted live. Some members fly in to attend. Other remote members participate using Google Hangout. It’s a very competitive league with a lot of personal interaction and trash talking. We are all enjoying it immensely.

Q: From a Commissioner’s standpoint, why did you choose DYNASTY League Baseball Online rather than trying to run a league using a stand alone game like Strat-O-Matic or Diamond Mind Baseball?

Jimmy Furtado:
As a commissioner of a league, making sure people are playing on time is big. DLB makes that task pretty easy. To see where the league stands, I log into the league page and can quickly see everybody’s current status. If the teams haven’t played their games in the allotted time, I can autoplay them with the computer. That really keeps the games moving without requiring me to spend a bunch of time tracking things. Not having to process and distribute current rosters is a real time saver as well. With DLB Online, I can process a trade and all team rosters are done. When a manager options a player off his roster and recalls another player, he does it himself. I don’t have to get involved. The other games required me to collect, process, and distribute files, which is time consuming.

Twitter Sports Geoff Reiss talks about his draft league experience with DYNASTY League Baseball


Twitter Sports Geoff Reiss  joined the DYNASTY League Baseball Online  Sunday Night Baseball League this spring and shares his experiences of being in a Baseball simulation draft league. Geoff previously held positions with ESPN as SVP/GM.

GeoffReiss

Q: DYNASTY League Baseball and it’s predecessor Pursue the Pennant are
celebrating their 30th anniversary this year. How did you originally find
out about Pursue the Pennant and what are your recollections of playing theoriginal Board game version?

 

Geoff Reiss:
I was on a business trip to the Milwaukee area – must have been the summer of 1988 – and found PTP in a store called Hobby Horse at Brookfield Square.  As soon as I played the game I was hooked – it was more nuanced than any thing I’d seen at the time.

 

Q: At Starwave you helped originate the first real time server based online
Fantasy Baseball Leagues for ESPN.com. How would you compare your
experience playing Fantasy Baseball with that of a DYNASTY League Baseball
Online simulation Draft league?

Geoff Reiss:
The experiences are really very different. With the exception of higher-end keeper leagues most fantasy leagues don’t involve the long-term roster considerations that are in play in Dynasty.  Player values in fantasy are more fluid while in Dynasty they’re far more absolute.  You also don’t get the fun of real head to head competition.  They’re both a lot of fun and highly complimentary

 

Q: What are your favorite aspects of game play in DYNASTY League Baseball Online?

Geoff Reiss:
I wasn’t well prepared for this year’s draft so that will be more fun next year.  I really enjoy figuring out the moment- to-moment aspects of managing a game.  Everything from trying to create the best batter/pitcher matchups to managing your bullpen, planning rest  – it’s all a lot of fun

Target Field Night screen shot

Target Field Night screen shot

 

Q: DYNASTY League Baseball Online is the first and only real time Baseball
simulation that allows you to play and manage your series live as well as
the option to have the computer manager profile play the series for you.
What are your thoughts on how well the real time experience works and the appeal?

 

Geoff Reiss:
Live is great and there’s nothing like it. Though sabremetrics has helped redefine what we think of as “the book” no two people think exactly the same way and playing an opponent live really adds an element of surprise to almost every series.

 

Q: Do you find yourself watching or following other live league games in our league as they are being played live?

Geoff Reiss:
not really.  I’m super-busy and barely have time to play my own games.  I suppose if I’m in the hunt later in the year I might do some scoreboard watching

 

Q: The DYNASTY League Baseball Official Draft League rules are actually the
Official Rotisserie League rules adapted for Baseball simulations. What are
some of the GM strategy differences that you have experienced playing in a
DYNASTY League Baseball Online Draft league compared to Fantasy Baseball?

Geoff Reiss:
I’m still new to the sim side so I’ll have to see how applicable my long-term fantasy experience is.  Grabbing players early in their career and on the cheap is a prime tenant of all forms of success in baseball and is no different here.  Grabbing an emerging player and controlling him at a great price is a huge part of this, and real baseball.  As we approach the trading deadline figuring out if I’m a buyer or seller will be an interesting excercise

 

Q: Pursue the Pennant and DYNASTY League Baseball have always been known for
their high level of realism incorporating many subtle nuances of Baseball
that Bill James first popularized in his Baseball Abstracts. What realistic
aspects of DYNASTY League Baseball separate it from other Baseball simulations?

Miller Park Night screen shot

Miller Park Night screen shot

 

Geoff Reiss:
From the first time I played the board version of PTP I loved how nuanced the game is. I immediately – and still do – appreciate the greater depth in fielding ratings, park factors and things like bullpen warm-ups that add a ton of realism.

 

Q: I’ve had several Broadcast, Media and Front Office MLB people tell me
that they learned a tremendous amount about Baseball and each player¹s
strengths and weaknesses from playing both Pursue the Pennant and DYNASTY
League Baseball. Have you had a similar experience and what have you learned?

 

Geoff Reiss:
Bill James once wrote that he didn’t think a major league manager should get hired until he played some crazy number of simulations and I’d have to agree. Playing this game has certainly rounded out my overall sense of many of these players

 

Q: One of the things you mentioned when you joined our DYNASTY League
Baseball Online SNBL was that you were not sure how many series you could
play live (as opposed to having the Computer manager profile manage your
series) because of your busy schedule. As it turns out, to date, you have
managed every series live. What makes being in a DYNASTY League Baseball
Draft league and live game play easier than what you expected?

 

Geoff Reiss:
My having played all of the series live probably speaks more to my being a control freak than anything else!  I don’t think playing is any easier than I expected – I think I’m enjoying it more than I thought I would which has made it easier to make it a bigger priority.

Follow @MikeCieslinski

 

 

Greatest Regular Season Day in MLB History? | Preview of the new 2011 season player cards


Rays react after Dan Johnson 2 out 9th inning HR caps 7 run comeback

September 28, 2011 arguably goes down in MLB history as the Greatest single day in regular season history with a finish so unlikely and so dramatic it seemed it was scripted from the writers of “24”.

Dan Johnson’s 2-out, 2-strike Home Run in the bottom of the 9th that capped off a seven run comeback vs. the Yankees and saved the season for the Rays.  For Johnson’s heroics he earned a Clutch hitting situation rating on his new 2011 season DYNASTY League Baseball player card.  It is very unusual for a non-RBI leader to earn a Clutch hitting rating, but it has happened before with Al Weis 1969 Mets, Tom Lawless 1987 Cardinals and Manny Mota’s 1977 Dodgers player cards.

The Tigers Victor Martinez epitomized Clutch hitting by raking at a  .375 clip with RSP/2 outs and .394 with RSP along with Miguel Cabrera (.382/724, .388/.673).

The AL East perennial powers Boston and New York both failed to earn a JAM situation rating for their relief aces Jonathan Papelbon and Mariano Rivera.  Papelbon lost his chance for a JAM with an unimpressive .273 BA with RSP/2 out.  Rivera was not only mediocre with a .261 BA/.435 SLG with RSP/2 out, but got rocked with RSP at a .326 BA/.488 SLG clip.

DYNASTY League Baseball fans Dave Kerpen and Andrew Kaufmann debated the merits of the Mets R.A. Dickey chance for a JAM rating in the 2011 season player card set.  What it came down to is that even though Dickey won only 8 games he was a candidate for a JAM rating because he was amongst the Official ERA leaders with his 3.28 ERA.  Dickey earned his JAM rating on the basis of a .184 BA/.241 SLG with RSP/2 out.

The poster boy for a JAM rating is Tim Lincecum who dialed it up with RSP/2 out allowing a .115 BA/.177 SLG.  Now THAT is a pitcher who can get out of a jam!

Carp JAM rating?  This year a resounding YES for Cardinal Ace Chris Carpenter.

How could he not after besting Phillie Ace Roy Halladay in a Game 5 NLDS 1-0 duel of aces to end all pitching duels?  A .236 BA with RSP/2 outs during the regular season helps too.

Chris Carpenter celebrated after his duel with Halladay in Game 5 of the 2011 NLDS

Beer in the bullpen?  The Red Sox cleaned house after the season becaue the clubhouse chemistry had gone awry.  The starting rotation of Beckett, Bucholz, Lackey and Lester all got slapped with a D intangible rating for their Boston beer party.

Mark Buehrle staked his claim on this generation’s version of Jim Kaat with an A+ Range rating and 90 Error rating.  Buehrle ranked #1 in the Fielding Bible Plus/Minus leaderboard for pitchers with a +4 score to his right, +2 in the middle and 9 runs saved.

Troy Tulowitzki (A/100/-5) earned an A Range rating  on the basis of his excellent  5.05 Range Factor (1st) and his solid Fielding Bible +10 score.  Error 100 ratings are historically rare and Tulowitzki’s .991 Fielding pct. got him the top historical rating on the scale.  Tulo’s player card is a true gem topped off by his -5 Double Play pivot rating which was earned on the basis of his #1 ranked DP pct. of .681.

In the AL, Brendan Ryan (A/70/-5) ranked 1st in the shortstop Fielding Bible rankings for the second year in a row with a +22 Plus/Minus.

It’s rare that a rookie would debut with an A range rating, but that is exactly what the Angel’s Mark Trumbo (A/70)  did ranking 1st in Fielding Bible Plus/Minus (+11).

Washington’s Rick Ankiel continues to not just impress, but to put himself in the pantheon next to Clemente in terms of throwing arms.  Ankiel’s 7 “kills” and 9 runs saved ranked him 1st among all CF.  MLB scouts also graded Ankiel’s arm an 8 on their 2-8 scale.   Ankiel (B+/90/-4) earned a very rare -4 throwing arm rating in 2011 in both CF and RF.

Atlanta’s Michael Bourn continues to be as menacing as Jason Bourne – only Michael does his killing on the basepaths.  Bourn scores a 10 Baserunning rating and top tier lead (7/6/2) and steal (8/7/1) ratings at 2nd/3rd/Home.

The new DYNASTY League Baseball 2011 season player card set is available for DYNASTY League Baseball Online right here right now and available in the original Board version format at the Ticket Window.

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