Out of the Park Developments, an official licensee of MLB.com, MiLB.com, and the MLBPA, today announced “16 in ’16: Baseball’s Tournament of Champions.” This unique competition will determine which Major League Baseball team truly is the greatest of all time, thanks to the new Out of the Park Baseball 17 Historical Series feature and the game’s powerful simulation engine that has delighted baseball fans for the past seventeen seasons.
out of the park baseball
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).”
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.))
(This article is based on a 2015 season sim conducted in late February, during the Out of the Park Baseball 16 Beta period, so anything that has happened in Major League Baseball since then is not reflected. However, it’s still useful for looking at how the current season might unfold.)
By John Comey
In Major League Baseball, consider 2015 a year of transition in an era of transition.
Yes, we have tons of great stuff in store for Out of the Park Baseball 16, leading off with an official MLB.com license that includes league and team logos, jerseys and ball caps, and historical MLB logos.
OOTP 16 also features 2015 Opening Day rosters, new team owner goals, improved team finances, an upgraded manager and coaches system, a revamped team strategy screen, simulated realistic OOTP Hall of Fame voting and interactive All-Star Game voting, and much more.
You can read all about it in our latest newsletter. If you pre-order by February 15, you’ll save $5, get a free Steam key, receive the game three days early in March, and earn an entry in our sweepstakes for three $500 MLB.com Shop gift certificates. (Official sweepstakes rules are on our site.)
But as always, there’s even more in store, and one of the oft-requested features we’ve added this year is Manager-Only mode. You may recall that the GM-only mode was added in one of OOTP 13’s updates, and it was well-received by those of you who don’t want to get your shoes sticky from the dugout floor during games. (Yes, the idea was that it would keep you from winning a Manager of the Year award, but it provided the foundation for improving the mode this year, so you can only go so far messing with team strategy, thanks to the new managers system.)
Well, what about those of you who don’t want to put on a suit and tie and go to work in the GM’s office every day? OOTP 16 has you covered: It adds a Manager-Only mode that lets you focus on whipping the players into shape while your GM deals with prima donnas who demand contract extensions, trades a hapless overachiever in his contract year for a couple prospects, and handles all those other things you don’t feel like mucking around with.
Let’s take a closer look at Manager-Only mode in OOTP 16, starting with the set-up. Since we obviously don’t have Opening Day rosters available right now (pitchers and catchers haven’t reported yet, folks), I’ll go with an historical league. And because I was born in 1970 and I’ve been a Philadelphia Phillies fan since I was a kid, I’ll choose 1977. (Also the year Star Wars, another of my pleasures, was released.)
Last month, we decided to turn to our loyal fans and see if you could help us come up with a promotional tagline that would sum up our company as the publisher of great sports management games. Over 250 of you sent in entries, and many of them had multiple suggestions (one person sent us about 50 ideas spread across several entries). We thank all of you for your thoughts.
We waded through the hundreds of taglines that were suggested and came up with a top 10 for internal discussion:
- “Be the Future of the Franchise”
- “The Past, Present, and Future of Sports Management Games”
- “Your Fantasy is our Reality”
- “The Road to Legend Starts With You”
- “Your Only Limitation Is Your Imagination”
- ” Where Awesomeness meets Realism”
- “Turning Fans Into GMs”
- “Imagine Your Dynasty”
- “The Next Best Thing to Real”
- “We Make YOU The Franchise”
Everyone who works for OOTP Developments voted, and we cut that list in half before settling on the winner:
Out of the Park Baseball and the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) are the perfect couple, so it wasn’t a surprise when Chuck Hildebrandt, SABR’s Baseball and the Media Research Committee chair, chose OOTP for his Retroactive All-Star Game (RASG) series.
The idea behind the RASG series was to imagine that the All-Star Game began in 1916, rather than 1933, and then simulate the results of those contests through 1932. Hildebrandt set up online voting for each game, and Seamheads‘ Mike Lynch simmed the games and produced box scores and game logs on which Hildebrandt based his write-ups.
As Hildebrandt dove into OOTP for the RASG series, he “was very quickly knocked out by just how in-depth the game was,” he told us. That led to another idea: What if baseball became popular in England toward the end of the 19th century? And thus The English Baseball League (est. 1888) was born.
Here’s our Q&A with Hildebrandt:
Like many players who aspire toward the big leagues, pitcher Zach Jadofsky pays a lot of attention to baseball’s inner workings. As of August 2014, he’s plying his trade with the A-ball Rome Braves and hoping to work his way up Atlanta’s farm system. During his down time, of which there’s plenty for a 24-year-old minor leaguer, he plays OOTP. (You can follow his adventures on Twitter.)
“I first discovered OOTP on my iPhone,” Jadofsky recalls. “I got the app and the first year, I sold my minor leagues just to win it all, and I did, but it ruined my seasons moving forward. Then I decided to try the computer version and that’s all it took to get me hooked.”
He adds: “I enjoy games like MLB The Show, but this is a different kind of baseball game. OOTP is deep, and to succeed at it, you have to truly understand the game of baseball and not just press buttons to swing and throw. I used to start a franchise on my Xbox and then get tired of playing and simulate the rest of the season.”
Like Curt Schilling, Pat Neshek, and others with professional experience, former major league pitcher Bryan Rekar was attracted to OOTP because, as he recalls: “I first found OOTP in 2013 as I was searching for a truly realistic baseball game that allowed me to be the General Manager and/or Manager. I had tried other games for years, but none of them really had what I was looking for in a true simulation baseball game.”
He adds: “Then I found OOTP and was totally blown away with not just the realism of the play, but the unbelievable detail of every aspect of the game: from the amount of true players and their true, detailed abilities, to the off-season and drafts every year. It is exactly what I was looking for and more.”
As is the case with many other OOTP players, Rekar had some experience with the dice-and-cards version of Strat-o-Matic Baseball, as well as Micro League Baseball on the Commodore 64. He remarks: “OOTP is the first game I have played since then that is truly realistic and uses real players with their real abilities. I have played the video games, but they are too unrealistic for me as I am all about the games being true and keeping realistic stats.”