Friday, April 25, 2008

Random comments

Simulation bickering

One thing I've learned is that people who enjoy games like Diamond Mind, APBA, Replay, Strat-O-Matic and so on tend to become extremely defensive of their favorite game. For example, I can remember reading APBA Journal articles years ago about how lefty-righty splits, a Strat-O-Matic specialty even then, didn't really add much to the realism of the simulation. You can see similar bickering occasionally between fans of competing games like OOTP Baseball and Action PC Baseball. And, as I learned last week, you can still find an 11-year-old article on the official Strat-O-Matic website about why Strat's computer game is better than APBA and DMB.

As I've noted before, my purpose here is not to recommend one game over another. Whether you play Replay Baseball or Baseball for Windows homebrew disks created by Skeetersoft, I think you should play whichever game you feel is right. Still, something irks me about a company willing to claim statistical superiority just because Gold Glove winners tend to receive better fielding ratings for its product, and because you can see the player's "cards" during the game (see above article). It's a silly marketing strategy, one that makes you feel like you're reading about the Jehovah's Witnesses and not a game intended to simulate baseball. Notice, of course, that there is no mention of the awful Strat copy-protection system that puts you out of luck if you ever dare change computers. Honestly, I'm surprised (and a bit shocked) that this article is still on Strat's website.

Then again, at least Strat-o-Matic is still actively advertising their product. I don't know how Diamond Mind expects to sell its stand-alone game to new customers with no advertising whatsoever, not even a link on the popular Simnasium website. Heck, even the bland and repetitive John Madden series gets a tournament aired on ESPN2 (just watched the finale a few minutes ago); why can't a more realistic sports simulation get at least some mainstream advertising? I remember seeing APBA Baseball for Windows ads in computer magazines over 10 years ago, and I know that Diamond Mind used to have an ad under "fantasy" in Baseball Weekly as recently as five years ago. What happened?

If the head honchos at DMB were smart, they would have capitalized on all the free advertising they were getting on Baseball Think Factory threads a few years back. I mean, when Dan Szymborski uses DMB to create extremely accurate projection disks every year, and when the boys over at "Count the Rings" used DMB to run this multi-era simulation, you'd think Diamond Mind would try to at least stick up a banner ad or two. It's a little bit too late now, though, especially after all the message board bans and widespread criticism.


I guess my league is about as far from "realistic" as possible, especially since it's not even logically feasible. Still, it's important to me that the numbers feel right in the end, that nobody throws 10 no-hitters, hits over .500, etc. In short, I'm trying to avoid the situation in the above mentioned multi-era simulation, where the champion 1954 Indians were led by Joe Ginsberg (.496/.672/1.344) and Jim Dyck (.812/.867/.826). Ginsberg, of course, hit .500 in two real life at-bats, but was used in 131 simulation at-bats. Dyck hit 1.000 in one at-bat in real life, but had 69 at-bats in the simulation. Something just doesn't feel right there.
It would be like using this 1960 APBA Fred Green card as a pinch hitter. Granted, Green did hit two home runs in 8 at-bats in real life, but it doesn't seem right that he have one of the greatest offensive hitter cards of all time.

I guess this brings up the old debate between creating cards based on a player's season or on a player's projected (or retro-jected) performance. People usually mention the 1980 George Brett problem. Brett hit .390 in 1980, as you already know, but hit only .305 lifetime, never even coming close to .390 in any other season. Would it be fair to give him a card that could potentially earn him an average north of .400? It all depends on your philosophic attitude toward these baseball simulations, I guess.

Anyway, I'd better get going. We've got company coming over tonight.


Anonymous said...


I enjoyed your blog post.

I was curious if you've ever played SimLeague Baseball on WhatIfSports?

Anonymous said...

Terrific post, and it happens that the first (and only) complete APBA card-based replay I did was of the 1960 N.L. I didn't use Fred as a PH, but you better believe I left him in the game to bat quite a bit -- or put him in to relieve if the game was on the line and the pitcher's slot was coming up the next inning. I also vaguely recall that Elroy Face also had a great hitting card that year, giving them a great edge in tight games -- plus they were both very good relievers. (But I did feel a little guilty about "mis-using" them.)


b said...

this game is so interesting i dally play this game in my home my office.
even also in my coaching class.
diamonds texas