The New Final 8th Edition game charts are now available and shipping for DYNASTY League Baseball.
New Umpire chart catcher pitch framing result
Umpire chart # 16-24 has been updated in the 8th Edition game charts to reflect a catcher’s pitch framing ability in addition to his ability to handle pitchers and call a game as part of the catcher’s handling rating. This gives more weight to a catcher’s defense. The perfect place to incorporate catcher’s pitch framing is in the #16-24 Umpire strike zone rating results on the Umpire charts.
The catcher pitch framing changes to the umpire chart are already included in DYNASTY League Baseball Online.
New updated and revised INJURY chart
Durability A results remain unchanged.
Durability B results are revised to reflect an increase in frequency and duration of injuries while still having the same 10 day maximum injury length. These changes will help to further replicate position players who played in 140-155 games and did not go on either the 15 or 60 day DL. Durability B Pitchers will reflect an increase in minor injuries and injuries that require extended rest.
Durability B, C, D and F have more results for the new MLB 7 day DL while removing the old 21 day DL.
Durability F now has #40-74 resulting in 60 day DL injury – a significant increase over the previous #60-74 and helping to replicate the 60 day DL injury that all Durability F ratings are based on.
New CONTROL chart check for injury to pitcher
If pitcher is pitching on Low “reduced” Endurance (Starters on 3 day rest or Relievers pitching in 2nd or 3rd consecutive day) there is a new injury check when rolling on the UMPIRE chart result if you are referred to the CONTROL chart. This injury check fits in perfectly with a wild pitch, passed ball or blocked pitch in the dirt and will help to regulate IP by providing a deterrent to pitching starting pitchers extensively on 3 days rest. It will also help to regulate relievers from being overused.
New Umpire? chart “Tired Situation” result line injury check
If you roll 514-540 and the pitcher is “tired”, use the yellow tired situation walk result and then check for injury to pitcher. This new rule will help prevent abuse of pitchers when “tired” in blow out games.
There are several new rule changes in the new 2016 DYNASTY League Baseball Official Rulebook. Next MLB.com blog post will detail these changes.
Among DYNASTY League Baseball fans there is a love affair with JAM and CLUTCH ratings and why not? Among other things, JAM ratings can turn a HOME RUN off the batters card into a “Deep Drive?” which requires a check of the Ball Park chart to determine how many feet the Deep Drive was hit adjusted by weather effects and how well the ball carries to potentially turn a sure HOME RUN into a Warning Track Out.
The Dark Night earned a JAM rating with a solid performance with RSP/2 outs (.213 BA/.230 SLG). Matt Harvey also didn’t miss by much in earning an OFF situation rating (turns a WALK on the hitters card into a “Foul?” requiring a check of the foul territory to determine if it is a foul out or foul ball strike), which I feel is overlooked and undervalued by many DYNASTY League Baseball players. After all, a lead off walk scores on average 38% of the time and results in .905 runs after the walk. Pitchers who walk the lead off man have in essence a 8.15 ERA in that inning. Thanks to John Dewan of Baseball Info Solutions (John and I played a 1983 White Sox vs. 1982 Brewers DYNASTY League Baseball Online game last year), you can read just how much impact lead off walks have and why the OFF situation rating was so important to have in DYNASTY League Baseball to simulate pitchers ERA in MLB.
We all remember Mark McGwire and some of his gargantuan HOME RUN result range #, but how about Giancarlo Stanton and a HOME RUN range of 131-250 vs. LH? WOW! Comparatively McGwire in 1998 had a HOME RUN range of 117-185 vs. LH in a year in which he hit 70 HR. Keep in mind that each DYNASTY League Baseball season is normalized for the league average. If you have not tried DYNASTY League Baseball Online yet, make sure you are not the last one on the planet – the Online version makes it really easy to have unprecedented access to any player card from the library of DYNASTY League Baseball seasons by clicking on “Series” and mousing over the player to see his player card.
The new DYNASTY League Baseball 7th Edition game charts makes the pitcher pickoff rating just that much more impactful. So which starting pitcher has the best pickoff rating in the 2015 season? Look no further than NL pickoff leader Clayton Kershaw (10) who earned a pickoff rating of 9 to go along with an “A” Hold frequency and a (-2) success rate Hold rating.
Another overlooked rating is the Error rating. Yes, the sabermetric community has known since 1982 that a fielders range is more important than his fielding pct., but fielding pct. still DOES matter. If you want ugly take a look at Pedro Alvarez and his “5” Error rating at 1b which is rock bottom on the 5-100 Error rating scale. Throw in a D range rating and you can see why he is looking for another position. For more ugliness check out ss Marcus Semien (C+/20). On the flip side, there is Joe Panik who earned a historically great “100” Error rating at 2b to go along with C+ Range and a very good (-5) DP Pivot rating. One of the ratings that I really wrestled with was Matt Carpenter’s Range rating. Carpenter’s BIS Plus Minus (-10) was right at the bottom for 3b along with players like the rapidly expanding Pablo Sandoval. The scouting reports were also none too favorable. I cross checked the rating with St. Louis Post Dispatch beat writer extraordinaire and BBWAA President Derrick Goold who felt Carpenter had average range at best. I couldn’t get past ranking at the bottom of the trailers in +/- and Carpenter’s player card was branded with a D Range rating.
Lead by A.J. Pollock, Arizona was one of the best fielding teams in 2015. Pollock not only fielded well (A/85/0), but was Durable (A), hit in the clutch and can run (Lead: 5/4/2), (Steal: 7/5/3). Emerging Mookie Betts with a BR Gain of (+24) earned an “8” Baserunning rating. In the turtle category, a slowing Miguel Cabrera (-22) received a “3” BR rating.
The Citi Field walls were moved in and those changes are reflected in the new 2015 season ball park charts along with a new high resolution image on both the DYNASTY League Baseball Board version ball park charts and in DYNASTY League Baseball Online.
Thank you to all of the great fans of Pursue the Pennant and DYNASTY League Baseball for 31 fantastic fun years of playing!
Some of the history of Pursue the Pennant and DYNASTY League Baseball is captured at the DYNASTY League Baseball reviews and feature link
We are celebrating 31 years of Pursue the Pennant and DYNASTY League Baseball during the Petco Park Tour Tournament Express September 5-6.
Your invitation to this amazing event is right here! We have had some of our biggest tour tournament participation in California.
The Petco Park Tour Tournament leads off Saturday September 5 from Union Station in Los Angeles, CA at 8:30 AM where we will board Amtrak’s Pacific Surfliner which travels on the shores of the Pacific Ocean to San Diego. You can join us at the stop in Anaheim or from north of Los Angeles via Metrolink connections in Oxnard into Union Station.
If you live in the San Diego area there is an opportunity to join us on Saturday, September 5-6 for the Tour of Petco Park, Greatest Teams bracket tournament and Dodgers vs. Padres games.
All of you native Padres fans 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.
Our Greatest Teams Board version tournament will allow you to select from any of the great teams. I’ll be on the tour tournament event 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.
Our Greatest Team Tournament will be held at the Manchester Grand Hyatt right next to Petco Park – the same hotel the Los Angeles Dodgers will be staying at so you may ride the elevator with Clayton Kershaw and Don Mattingly.
On Saturday September 5 we’ll head out to Petco Park for a 12:30 PM tour. On your behind-the-scenes ballpark tour of sensational Petco Park, the home of the San Diego Padres, you will get to go places only the players and staff go including:
The Field Warning Track
Indoor Batting Cages
The Visitors’ Clubhouse
The Press Box
The Luxury Suite
Ballpark Features and Views including the Western Metal Supply Building
After our afternoon tournament action, our group will see the Dodgers battle the Padres at Petco Park at 5:40 PM
At the league page there are links to recaps of previous tour tournaments which have some incredible stories to be told.
Petco Park Itinerary:
Saturday, September 5
Dp Los Angeles, CA 8:30 AM Union Station Pacific Surfliner
Dp Anaheim, CA 9:09 AM Artic Station
Petco Park Tournament on Pacific Surfliner
Ar San Diego, CA 11:22 AM
Petco Park Tour 12:30 PM
Petco Park Tournament 2:00 PM
Dodgers at Padres 5:40 PM Petco Park
Petco Park Tournament 9:00 PM
Sunday, September 6
Dodgers at Padres 1:10 PM
Dp San Diego, CA 6:45 PM Pacific Surliner
Ar Anaheim, CA 9:04 PM
Ar Los Angeles, CA 9:45 PM
Petco Park Express Tour Tournament includes:
– Greatest Teams tournament
Team selections are at this MLB.com News Blog:
– Round trip rail fare
– One night Manchester Grand Hyatt (same hotel the Los Angeles Dodgers will be staying at)
– Tour of Petco Park
– Two Tickets to Padres vs. Dodgers September 5-6.
Double occupancy: $399
Triple occupancy $369
Tour, Tournament and Games only on September 5-6 for local DYNASTY League Baseball fans in the San Diego area: $197
Space is limited…
Team selections on first come basis.
Deadline for reservations is Monday June 15, 2015
Call 561-494-2711 or email email@example.com
See you in September!
Joe Posnanski is one of the best baseball and sabermetric writers. He recently wrote
a new blog post “Things I learned from Strat-O-Matic”, but what might Joe have
learned playing Pursue the Pennant and DYNASTY League Baseball?
Back in the spring of 1985 (this is the 30th Anniversary), Pursue the Pennant debuted
as the “First Sabermetric Baseball Simulation”. Yes, SOM and APBA were the first
baseball board games, but they were designed decades before the baseball world was
enlightened by the sabermetric teachings found in Bill James Baseball Abstracts and
John Thorn and Pete Palmer’s book “The Hidden Game”. When I designed Pursue the
Pennant from 1981-1984, Bill James had just come out with his first Baseball Abstract.
My goal was to design the first sabermetric baseball simulation that incorporated as
many of Bill James insights as possible.
Pursue the Pennant and DYNASTY League Baseball are most well known for their
detailed ball park effects. Joe’s Lesson #3 is that “Ball Parks matter”. Those new
SOM diamond symbols that were introduced in 1986 were a clumsy knee jerk reaction
by SOM to Pursue the Pennant’s ball park effects. In Glenn Guzzo’s Strat-O-Matic
Fanatics book he devotes part of a chapter to Pursue the Pennant and even SOM game
designer Hal Richman acknowledges that Pursue the Pennant is a more realistic game
than Strat-O-Matic. DYNASTY League Baseball has seven different outfield locations
for “Deep Drive” results. Play results are determined in feet so a 340 foot drive down
the left field line at Fenway Park is a HR into Green Monster seats. “Robbed?” results
can occur depending on the wall height and the range rating of the outfielder. Deep
Drives off the Green Monster in left field are often singles that can be stretched into
doubles. In the deep triangle area in right-center a drive of 420-425 feet is a triple.
Weather effects also impact the ball park effects. The DYNASTY League Baseball
Weather charts use actual weather bureau data by region, month and day/night to
determine sky/temperature and wind direction and speed (Can you tell I love the
Weather Channel?). In the Summer months at Wrigley Field the wind often blows out.
When the wind is blowing out at 20-29 mph Deep Drives get a +20 foot boost to
distance traveled, which often makes the difference between a “HR into the basket” or
a ball caught on the warning track.
Pursue the Pennant was also the first simulation to incorporate foul territory, hitter
background visibility and infield surface conditions.
Joe’s Lesson #1 “You really need a defensive short stop with range” and states “but I
would argue that the thing that Hal got right before almost anyone else was how
baseball defense works.” Defensive range has always been difficult to measure, but
Bill James enlightened us about range factor and now we have other defensive metrics
like John Dewan’s Fielding Bible +/- which equates to defensive runs saved. Well here
is where SOM gets defensive range wrong Joe. SOM only has four grades 1-4 for rating
range. In 2014 Tulowitzki is rated “1” range in SOM (best rating possible). This means
on a historical scale Tulo’s 2014 range was as good as Ozzie Smith’s in his best years
according to SOM. Tulowitzki wasn’t even the ss with the best defensive range in
2014 (7 defensive runs saved compared to Andrelton Simmons 28). DYNASTY League
Baseball graded out Tulowitzki with “B” range in 2014.
DYNASTY League Baseball has defensive range ratings from A+ to F which gives eight possible range ratings and a far more realistic defensive spectrum with all defensive ratings in DYNASTY League Baseball based on a historical scale.
Then there is the visualization and different types of range plays. In SOM you go to an obtuse “X” chart. In DYNASTY League Baseball you go to a “Range” chart that has slow roller, smash up the middle, hot liner, high chopper, deep into the hole, drilled down the line range plays. All of the range plays have different outcomes that could be play results like diving stop, bang bang play and gets thru and further divided into different surfaces for grass and artificial turf.
Joe’s Lesson #4 “Clutch hitting is baloney”. First off, I am well aware of “The Hidden Game’s” study of clutch hitting and trying to determine if it is a skill. I am not sure that is the right question. The right question should be “Do hitters change their approach in a clutch situation – especially in high leverage clutch situations such as when there are RSP/2 outs? I am convinced a few players in a given season are able to change their approach with RSP/2 outs. Part of this is being able to “quiet the mind” and often this is a learned approach that some of the games greatest hitters have developed over time. Case in point is Paul Molitor.
In Paul’s final season in 1998 he hit .393 with a SLG of .536 with RSP/2. In reverse order here is Molitor’s BA and SLG with RSP/2 preceded by Age/Season:
41 1998 .393/.536
40 1997 .257/.378
39 1996 .354/.512
38 1995 .250/.250
37 1994 .340/.547
36 1993: .367/.494
35 1992: .279/.361
34 1991: .338/.529
33 1990: .341/.477
32 1989: .302/.453
31 1988: .300/.350
30 1987 .383/.617
29 1986 .400/.540
28 1985 .278/.333
27 1984 .333/.333 (small sample size – injured with only 6 AB)
26 1983 .200/.262
25 1982 .299/.469
24 1981 .250/.438
23 1980 .235/.324
22 1979 .243/.392
21 1978 .259/.481
Around age 29 Molitor started to figure out how to approach RSP/2 situations
differently. With the exception of 1997 (injured) and 1995 (strike in which he was
heavily involved and distracted as one of the union heads involved in negotiations
with the owners) he not only hit well in those situations, but thrived. Compare this
with ages 21-28 when he struggled with RSP/2.
DYNASTY League Baseball was the first simulation to categorize elite clutch hitting
performances in a given season and display their impact on overall runs scored and
DYNASTY League Baseball was also the first simulation to identify the three most
important situations for pitchers and those unique pitchers that thrive in those
situations. Pitching out of a jam and the JAM rating are awarded to those pitchers
who demonstrate pitching extremely well with RSP/2 outs. Pitchers who rarely give up
a lead off walk are awarded to OFF ratings – Curt Schilling and Adam Wainwright are
great examples of pitchers who understand how important it is not to allow a lead off
walk. Jim Palmer never gave up a grand slam HR and it is pitchers like him that are
awarded the ON rating for reducing the ratio of HR allowed with runners on base
compare to HR allowed with the bases empty.
I am just scratching the surface and the DYNASTY League Baseball game design page
goes into more detail on all the realistic nuances, but my point is that if you really
want to learn about baseball nuances from a sabermetric view point, DYNASTY League
Baseball “the leader in realism” is the answer to the question.
So Joe, when is our DYNASTY League Baseball Online game match-up?
Minnesota Twins GM Terry Ryan’s comments about Torii Hunter’s range
in Mike Berardino’s St. Paul Pioneer Press Dispatch column point out why
DYNASTY League Baseball takes the time to research many of it’s player ratings
instead of relying strictly on formulas. I had struggled with what range rating to
assign Hunter. Hunter’s range factor just nipped the extreme bottom of the (C+)
historical scale, but he ranked rock bottom among all MLB rf with a BIS Plus/Minus of
Originally I had Hunter at (C) range, but could not get past ranking rock bottom in +/-
and rating below average in acceleration (38 on a scale of 0-100), reaction instincts
(45), velocity (44) and hands (41) in the Tango Tiger scouting poll. I ended up
downgrading Hunter to (D) range (rf: D/60/0), but it was very interesting to have
Terry Ryan come out with his comments on defensive metrics and how Twins scouts
rated Hunter”adequate”. It is one of those “grey” ratings that really could have gone
either way and I am sure MLB organizations would each rate Hunter a bit differently
as well depending on how much weight they want to give to their scouts vs. the defensive
Beradino’s column leads off pointing out Kurt Suzuki’s poor pitch framing (-19.8 RAA)
and it is one of the most important stats that goes into a catcher’s Handling rating.
Suzuki ranked as the 4th worst catcher in pitch framing relegating him to a (D)
catcher Handling rating (c: B/85/0/A/D).
Derrick Goold from the St. Louis Post Dispatch is one of if not the best MLB beat
writer. Derrick is also a DYNASTY League Baseball player and we hope to have a new
Bird Land tournament in 2015. Here is how Derrick answered my cross checking
question on Jhonny Peralta’s range.
MC: I remember when Peralta was signed last year Mo said they had him as having
average range which is how I graded him last year as well (C). This year Peralta had
almost an identical range factor to 2013, but his BIS plus minus jumped to an
excellent level. Thoughts?
DG: All about the positioning. He doesn’t have the greatest range but he puts himself
in a good place and doesn’t flub the routine plays. True arm. Smart player.
Peralta (ss: B/85/-5) fielding line: Range/Error/DP pivot
(-5) DP pivot is excellent in DYNASTY League Baseball. Peralta ranked 2nd in the NL
in DP pivot (0.645) behind Andrelton Simmons (ss: A/80/-5) who also was awarded a
(-5) DP pivot rating.
J.J. Hardy had another solid defensive season in 2014 +/- (3) with a fielding line of
(ss: B/80/-5). Tango poll had Hardy’s reaction/instincts at 86.
Toronto’s Anthony Gose (cf: A/85/-1) was rated by Blue Jays broadcaster Mike Wilner
as “Among the best defensive cf I’ve EVER seen.”
Gose’s defensive metrics were above average, but not eye poping RF (2.65), +/- (3).
Wilner and the Tango poll (88 velocity, 82 acceleration) prevailed in bumping Gose to
Another “grey” rating was David Freese and his (Clutch) rating. Freese only had 55 RBI which is a very low number to qualify for consideration of being awarded a Clutch hitting rating. In the end I liked Freese’s .291 BA/.491 SLG with RSP/2 outs enough to give him a Clutch hitting rating and because he was such a border line case his playoff history including a deceptively good .500 SLG in the ALDS was an additional stat I looked at. Freese probably does not get a Clutch hitting rating in a season with a higher run environment.
An easy Clutch hitting rating to award was Giancarlo Stanton with his .340 BA/.620 SLG with RSP/2. Terror!
Anaheim’s Hector Santiago has a 10 pickoff rating for his Pickoff/Hold (10/C+(-1)) on the basis of 6 pickoffs.
Looking for a pitcher that is tough to run on? Try Dallas Keuchel (2/A+(-4)). Keuchel posted just one of 16 seasons in which a pitcher allowed only one SB with 200 or more IP since 2002 (no one has allowed zero).
Clayton Kershaw has Situation: jam/off to go along with Range: (A+) and Endurance: (35). The rare baserunner that reaches (#963-969 vs. RH are the only WALK’s on his player card) has to face Kershaw’s Pickoff/Hold: 5/A (-1).
Washington’s Aaron Barrett:
Wild Pitch: F
St. Louis’ Justin Masterson is one of the more extreme GB pitchers with 1.5 DP/9 and
(#614-715) vs. LH Hard Ground Out.
There was one significant change to the 2014 season ball park charts. Comerica Park now had increased triple ranges in lc, cf and rc. You will also find updated ball park images.
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.
Mike Wilner is the Toronto Blue Jays radio play-by-play announcer for SN 590 THE FAN. Mike is also the commissioner of the THROW League which is a face to face local DYNASTY League Baseball Board version league established in 1987.
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?
Mike Wilner: I was introduced to tabletop baseball by my father, who created a very rudimentary version for me when I was very young. Basically it was a pair of six-sided dice with an outcome for each of the 11 possible rolls. “7” was a single, so there was a lot of offense. Then, when I was 11, we went to Detroit for a cousin’s bar mitzvah and I was introduced to the wonderland that is Toys R Us (it hadn’t moved into Canada yet). There, I found a tabletop baseball game called “Statis Pro” and went nuts with it. I did a full 162-game replay of the Blue Jays’ 1980 season (went 81-81, Dave Stieb had over 30 wins and Mike Willis threw 9 perfect innings of relief in a long extra-inning game).
Once that was done, my best friend in junior high introduced my to Strat-O-Matic and we had some great battles using teams from the early ’70s. Then, when I was 17, I walked into my local comic book store and saw a Pursue The Pennant display. It looked fantastic, so I bought it and loved it. I was blown away by the fact that there were 500 possible outcomes for both pitcher and hitter, that there were weather charts, that defenders were assessed ratings for both the ability to get to the ball AND the ability to field it cleanly once they did. It was sensational, an entirely different simulation baseball experience.
Great scoresheets, too. I still use them to this day – I have scored every Blue Jays game since 2002 on PTP scoresheets in the broadcast booth.
Mike Wilner; I like how easy the game is to play. I mean, you have to get the hang of it, just like anything, but once you do, a nine-inning game can be played in less than half an hour, which is great. It seems to be the most accurate of all the sim games out there – at least it takes the most things into account and the 1,000 possible outcomes on each roll of the dice (plus variable plays involving charts to which the results take you) blows everybody else away. The gameplay is second nature to me now, having been playing DLB for two decades, but I still think it’s pretty intuitive. The results make a lot of sense, baseballically, which makes it really easy to pick up.
Oh, the online version? Oops. It handles the charts for you, which speeds things up a little, and the ability to always still be able to look at the cards means that nothing is taken away from the strategical component. It, too, is quick and easy.
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
Mike Wilner: I really enjoyed it when I got the chance to take part in the media Greatest Teams League last year. It’s quick and easy, and the chat function with your opponent doesn’t get in the way of playing the game. I will always prefer the face-to-face experience, for sure, but when circumstances prevent people from getting together in person, the online version is a great substitute.
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
Mike Wilner: There’s just so much extra stuff. Separating range and fielding was big, I thought, weather and ballpark charts, intangibles ratings, the two things that go into a pitcher’s hold rating, so many things you can’t find anywhere else. Even which umpires have a temper and which don’t.
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
Mike Wilner: Oh, absolutely. There are a lot of fallacies revealed by the defensive ratings on DLB. Thanks to the game, I know which outfielders have a good arm and which are poor throwers, what kind of speed people have, what kind of defense they play, who should be platooned and who shouldn’t, all those things. The offensive stuff is more important, because it seems to be far less subjective than the defense (and I often disagree with some of the defensive ratings given to some Blue Jays, who I watch 162 times every year), but at the very least I’m pointed in the right way. Most importantly, DLB lets me study every player in the big leagues, so I can find out a lot about players I may only see once or twice in a season.
Q: You are the Commissioner of THROW, a draft league that plays most of its
games locally in the Toronto area. Tell us about the league, its players
and the appeal of playing friends and co-workers face to face with the Board
Mike Wilner: The league was founded way back in 1987, with just four teams. We each took a stock team (I had the Blue Jays and there were also the Expos, Mets and Pirates) and then drafted three players each from the rest of the set. I remember drafting Steve Sax, but I can’t remember my other two (Fernando Valenzuela rings a bell). Back then we were very liberal with the rules, figuring that just because a big-league manager didn’t, say, start Mark Eichhorn, didn’t mean that I couldn’t if I felt he’d help me more in that role. I wound up losing the championship in a seven-game series.
The next year, we expanded to 8, then later to 16 and to 24, collapsed back to 20 but got back up to 24 by the mid-’90s and that’s where we have been ever since. I have won the whole shebang seven times, no one else has more than two titles.
We reset the league at some point in the early 90s, allowing each team to keep six players (I kept Mussina, Thomas, Bonds, Ben McDonald and two other guys I can’t remember) and redrafting from there, introducing a contract system, financials and a rookie draft. I handed one of the other owners a sealed envelope that contained a list of the 24 players I planned on drafting and wound up getting 23 of them. I would have had all 24, but Don Mattingly was still available in the 10th round, so I grabbed him instead of Lonnie Smith.
Many of the owners in the league have been around for two decades or more, and we’ve seen each other through college graduations and first jobs, marriages, children, divorces, all facets of life. I can’t wait until our first second-generation THROW owner enters the league. I’m the only one of the original four still remaining, and I was in high school when we started this thing – who would have ever imagined that I’d wind up being a big-league play-by-play broadcaster? We have people from all walks of life – a few others who work in sports, a comic-book writer, a teacher, a claims adjuster, a squash pro. One of our former owners got a PhD from Harvard, another moved to Malaysia, another publishes a magazine on film and has made a movie that played in some major film festivals around the world. it’s really been an interesting group.
We still all play the board game, not the online version, and if we can’t get together in person we do it over Skype with an online dice roller. I try to get as many of my games in as possible face-to-face. I find it’s much more fun to sit down with someone, feel the dice in your hands and hear my kids ask me if one of the nerds is coming over.