FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For more information, contact:
OOTP 17 is the ultimate sandbox game for baseball fans – and it’s so big, we sometimes receive suggestions from new fans as well as longtime players about new and interesting ways to jump in and play. With that in mind, here are five really cool “hardball sandcastles” you can build, in no particular order.
And don’t forget that you can mix and match just about any options you want to create a unique experience that few baseball fans have ever seen!
Every winter brings with it a flurry of free agent signings, and this past baseball offseason was no different from years past. Opening Day 2016 saw many pitchers on the rosters of teams they didn’t end the 2015 season with, including a group of ten starters who are among the best in the game.
The San Francisco Giants were the winners in that sweepstakes, nabbing Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija to shore up their rotation as they hope to win another World Series during an even-numbered year. Meanwhile, the Boston Red Sox are hoping to bounce back with the help of free agent David Price, and the Arizona Diamondbacks nabbed Zack Greinke as part of a push to make some noise in the NL West.
We’ve put together a complete list of the top ten starters who switched teams this year, and we simmed the season to see how they might do. Here are the results:
Each annual version of Out of the Park Baseball and MLB Manager brings with it a roster update that’s accurate as of Opening Day, and in the case of OOTP, that includes all Major League Baseball teams and all the MiLB clubs, along with independent minors in the US, major and minor league teams in Japan, Korea, and Taiwan, and more.
It’s a herculean undertaking, one that requires a “24/7, 365 days a year process,” explains Howard Woolfolk, who oversees the team that handles all that work. Lukas Berger serves as his right-hand man, and the two of them graciously agreed to answer some questions and give readers a behind-the-scenes look at one of the most low-key, but crucially important, aspects of the games.
Want to use OOTP in your class or after-school club, or know a teacher who would like to use it? We’re happy to provide free copies of OOTP for use in K-12 and higher education settings. Please get in touch via the OOTP Developments contact page.
Could Out of the Park Baseball be a useful tool for teaching high school students about business math? That was the question teacher Joshua Dixon, of Lutheran High School in Illinois, asked himself when he decided to bring his love of OOTP into the classroom. He credits our interview with another teacher, Justin Lander, who did something similar, as his inspiration for the idea.
Dixon teaches Business Math, which is focused on consumer math but has some lessons covering owning and maintaining a business, so he thought the front office part of OOTP would be perfect for his students, who would also get the thrill of running a Major League Baseball franchise. Dixon had no trouble getting his principal on board with the idea, since “he was a big fan of the idea of combining a real world application to the information being learned in the classroom,” and soon he was off and running.
“With the business aspect of the class,” Dixon explains, “OOTP helped the students understand the importance of paying for employees (the managers, players, scouts) while making a profit and pleasing the customer base (the fans).”
No matter who wins the World Series this year, one team’s new generation of fans will finally know the thrill of a championship. The New York Mets last took a trip to the fall classic in 2000, when they lost a subway series to their cross-town rivals, the New York Yankees, but they haven’t won it all since that classic 1986 World Series against the Boston Red Sox. (To refresh your memory: Game 6. A rolling ball. Bill Buckner’s legs.)
Meanwhile, the Kansas City Royals have repeated as the American League pennant winner but are still seeking their first World Series win since 1985, thanks to a loss in seven games against the San Francisco Giants last year. Like the New York Mets, Kansas City’s previous World Series victory was a seven-game thriller that also featured a memorable Game 6 moment and wins in the final two games to seal the championship.
After simming the World Series 20 times with Out of the Park Baseball 16’s Simulation Module, we’re picking the Kansas City Royals to win it, since they prevailed 16 times, but they’ll likely need six or seven games to do so: Nine times the series went the full seven, with three six-game series, seven five-game series, and just one sweep. We used the Simulation Module’s new Game Importance dropdown that allows you to select “playoff,” so the AI behaves accordingly. (It will be a new feature in OOTP 17 next year.)
This year’s National League Championship Series features two teams that are on the rise again after several down years. The Chicago Cubs haven’t been in the playoffs since 2008 and famously haven’t played in the World Series since 1945, with their only two championships happening in 1907 and 1908. And then there’s that much-talked-about movie angle: A news headline in a certain popular film sequel says that Chicago has won the 2015 World Series.
Meanwhile, the New York Mets’ previous postseason appearance was in 2006, and their last World Series appearance happened in 2000, when they lost a so-called “subway series” to the New York Yankees. Like Chicago, they have just a pair of world championships under their belts (1986 and 1969), but unlike their NLCS counterpart, they’ve only been around since 1962.
We’ve already simmed the ALCS and found that one possibly too close to call, although we’re giving an oh-so-slight edge to the Toronto Blue Jays. As with the sims we ran for that prediction, we’ve simmed the NLCS ten times and have created a composite of the results. This time, the results were more clear-cut: We expect the Chicago Cubs to win, and we explain why below.
The Toronto Blue Jays are in the American League Championship Series for the first time since 1993, thanks to a Game 5 ALDS victory over the Texas Rangers that featured one of the wildest innings in baseball playoff history. Meanwhile, the Kansas City Royals are in the ALCS for the second straight year and are seeking a repeat trip to the World Series.
(How’d we do with our ALDS picks? We were right on the money: We said Toronto and Kansas City would advance, and the majority of the series sims went five games. (Don’t ask us about our NLDS predictions.))
As with the previous playoff series this year, we’ve run multiple sims to create a composite of the results, but this time we’ve done so ten times, and we’re glad we did, because we saw some interesting results, as you’ll see. A caveat: Due to circumstances beyond my control, I needed to be out of the office on Friday, so I’m simming, writing, and publishing on Thursday evening. I’ve set up both teams’ rosters based on the information available to me right now, with some educated guesses made for things I don’t know. (It’s close to 7 PM Pacific time on Thursday night as I type this.)
While everyone is enjoying the playoffs (we’ve given our predictions for the two AL and two NL Division Series, and will do so for both League Championship Series and the World Series), we thought we’d indulge in a little “What if?” scenario, since this season’s trading deadline saw some big name players switch teams. The Toronto Blue Jays went all-in (and saw it pay off) by acquiring Troy Tulowitzki, David Price, Mark Lowe, and Ben Revere, while the New York Mets sought to bolster their offense in a trade for Yoenis Cespedes.
The Chicago Cubs and Pittsburgh Pirates gave their pitching rotations boosts by bringing in Dan Haren and J.A. Happ, respectively, while the San Francisco Giants grabbed Mike Leake but failed to see that deal help bring them a playoff spot. And the Los Angeles Dodgers, Miami Marlins, and Atlanta Braves completed a 13-player deal that set up the first team for the rest of the season while positioning the other two for their rebuilding projects.
But what if the players involved in those and other trades this season had been with their teams on Opening Day? Out of the Park Baseball 16 lets us answer that question, thanks to a recent roster update that’s current as of Sept. 1. (Visit our forum to learn how to get the update and enable the changed rosters when you start a new game.) We set up a new game, enabled commissioner mode, and let ‘er rip. (Want to download the league and continue where it left off? We’ve uploaded it for that purpose. (Warning: The file is over 300MB.))
The Chicago Cubs were seeking the first step toward ending a 100-year-plus championship drought. The Pittsburgh Pirates were hoping to win their first playoff game since 1992, after two Wild Card play-in game losses in 2013 and 2014. Chicago prevailed on the road, shutting down Pittsburgh in a 4-0 win that sent them to the NLDS against the St. Louis Cardinals.
(Did we mention that the NL Central had the top three records in Major League Baseball this year? Only one of those teams will make it to the NLCS. Wow.)
Meanwhile, the New York Mets and Los Angeles Dodgers knew they would be matched up once the regular season ended, and they’re ready to get started in their NLDS on Friday. New York hasn’t been to the postseason since 2006, while LA has been there the past two years and six times since 2004 but hasn’t played in a World Series since they won it all in 1988.