I've gotten a couple questions recently about the MWR violations so I wanted to address some of those questions, and hopefully more.

We had two MWR violations this season, and a couple other teams not-so-subtly gunning for low win totals. For the MWR, Portland only won 45 games, and over two seasons Houston only won 114 games. The Houston owner in particular was newer to HBD, and I've had a couple people message me asking for leniency. The rules, as constructed, do not allow for this, specifically because a 55/120/185/260 win minimum should not be difficult to meet, even for a new player. Furthermore, the fact that a handful of other teams are clearly trying to NOT be competitive should underline how important a definitive MWR really is.

On that note, I had multiple owners message me last season about teams giving bad players 500+ ABs in the Majors, players that would struggle to get a .600 OPS in the minors; I have had messages about owners playing left-handed fielders in the infield with plenty of better options available; I've seen teams start players with terrible righty splits against only right-handed pitchers. As far as I know, we've avoided the dreaded "catcher at shortstop" so far. But as much as I would like to create rules to eliminate this behavior, these are ultimately subjective measures. In the past I've personally been accused of tanking for starting a gold glove SS who could barely OPS .600; and for starting a bad catcher in RF because he was such an offensive stud. I thought these were good decisions that benefit my team, and other owners saw it differently, which is completely within their rights. This game is ultimately about allowing YOU to control your team. It's extremely difficult to draw a line regarding what personnel moves dictate an intentional attempt at fielding a bad team, and I certainly won't claim my own preferences toward competitive balance are "right" or even held by the majority.

That said, a Minimum Win Requirement is not subjective. Sure, it doesn't care if you are making an earnest shot at winning but have had bad luck. But it also avoids forcing me/you all to make a guess at an owner's intent.

So, the MWR is an attempt at drawing that line between a bare-minimum effort at fielding a competitive team, and actively trying to lose. If you miss the MWR, the fact that you inherited a particularly bad team is not an excuse. Having bad veteran contracts is not an excuse. Getting hit with injuries is not an excuse. This game is ultimately about luck and is full of unknowns, so if you're at all concerned you are headed for a MWR violation, err on the side of winning too many, and ask for advice and/or spend some money. We all know the best way to create a powerhouse team is to cut salary and accumulate high draft picks/expensive IFAs -- but if doing so causes you to miss the MWR, too bad.

I understand the need for a rebuild, and the fine line between not trying to win and actively trying to lose -- hell I just traded my World Series-winning starting rotation to get a head-start on a rebuild. But the MWR is designed to remove any subjective judgment from the process. To those truly struggling to build a MWR-safe team, let me know if you need help -- myself and several other owners would be happy to lend some advice. To those intentionally shooting for the MWR, that is a skill in itself, and I wish you a sarcastic good luck.
Or, Why You'll (Likely) Never Draft a Prospect That Exceeds Your Projections. 

I'd like to balance out the new, exciting, optimistic blog re-design with a negative, pessimistic inaugural blog post.

Approximately 1 year ago, WhatIfSports introduced the largest Hardball Dynasty update in quite some time. Included in this update was an overhaul to the scouting system:
In the new system, the accuracy of the high school, college and international scouting departments is now different and less accurate than the advanced scouting department. And because current ratings are no longer visible for prospects, scouts can now under project a prospect's ratings. This means the shift in projected ratings once a player enters your advanced scouting department can be potentially larger in the past.
This also means the Amateur Draft will be less formulaic.  Budgets still matter very much, but there is more variability.  Can you occasionally have a scout be way off on a player with a $15 budget? Sure, but it'll be less likely than if you had a $10M or $5M budget. But it also means your scout may be wrong in a favorable way as well.
Prior to this update, the draft was relatively formulaic -- as long as you had a decent enough scouting budget and didn't get stuck with a terrible draft class, a top 10 pick would usually turn into an All-Star or better. This generally eliminated from HBD the concept of a "draft bust", but it also eliminated much hope of getting a top 10 talent at the end of Round 1 or later. The idea that you could draft a player that exceeds your scouting expectations was generally well-received.

In the year since the update, I have anecdotally heard many accounts of owners being disappointed by their scouting, and very few being pleasantly surprised. Examples of TRUE diamonds in the rough appear few and far between.

But as WiS stated above, scouts can now under-project a prospect's rating. I've personally experienced a prospects current rating in a category end up better than my scout's projected rating, so it certainly is possible. I'm sure if an owner compared every player scouted in the draft to the player's actual peak development rating, we'd find a good percentage that ended up better than the projections predicted. 

But will you ever draft such a player?

I don't think so.

For a given prospect, 31 other teams are potentially scouting that prospect. And statistically speaking, it's likely a good percentage of those teams either projects the prospect accurately, or over-projects the prospect. Assuming teams rank players based on their projections, that player is going to be ranked higher for other teams than for myself, and will therefore in all likelihood get drafted before he reaches me. 

An over-simplified example:

If we have a group of 10 players, one rated 80 and the other nine rated 70. I see the 80-rated guy as a 65, but I see the other nine accurately at 70. If I drafted him I'd be super stoked -- he's better than any of the others I'd seen!

However, if I draft before any other owners, I'm screwed -- I'll take one of the nine guys rated 70ish.

In order for me to take the 80-rated player, the following two conditions must be met:

Condition 1: I pretty much have to draft after everyone else to have hope of getting this guy, since my board will take any of the 70 guys before the "65" guy. Ok this is easy if you have a lower draft pick.

Condition 2: I also have to hope zero of the nine-plus owners drafting in front of me see that 80 guy as better than any of the 70 guys -- some combo of under-rating the 80 guy, over-rating the 70 guys, and perhaps not seeing the 80 guy. For all nine-plus owners.

So, in order to draft a player your scouts significantly under-rate, all teams drafting in front of you have to draft all your "incorrectly-higher-projected" players before your spot, AND either not see the "under-rated-good-guy" or also consistently under-project in similar fashion.

All that said, because projections are "fuzzier", there appears to be a higher chance a guy you accurately project as good could fall further than in the past, because so many other teams are over-projecting and under-projecting other players. But I still don't think we'll be hearing many stories of owners drafting top-ten talent at the end of Round 1 or lower.

Unless we can figure out WTF happened with Kolten Cook.
How much money will that guy have made in his career by the time this deal is up? He may well end up netting the most wealth out of any player in Plumpy history.
Based on the above World Chat comment, I thought it might be a fun inaugural mini-post to total up Julio Rijo's projected career earnings.

Entering his 12th Major League season, Rijo is already one of the most decorated pitchers in the history of Plumpy Rules. His list of personal awards includes: Rookie of the Year, 10 straight All-Star appearances, two Silver Sluggers, 7 Cy Youngs, 3 World Series, and 1 Gold Glove. And at age 31, he also places inside the top 5 in: career batting average allowed, career complete games, career ERA, career OBP allowed, career shutouts, career slugging percentage allowed, strikeouts per nine innings, career WHIP, and career winning percentage. It's only fitting he'll likely end up as one of the top earners in Plumpy history as well.

Rijo was signed as an International Free Agent by the (then) Syracuse Magma to a Major league contract in S24. His season-by-season earnings are as follows:
  • S24 (minors) -- Salary: $327K; Bonus: $42M
  • S25 (minors) -- Salary: $327K
  • S26 (Major League debut) -- Salary: $327K
  • S27 -- Salary: $342K
  • S28 -- Salary: $360K
  • S29 -- Salary: $378K
  • S30 -- Arbitration Y1: $2.3M
  • S31 -- Arbitration Y2: $8M
  • S32 -- Salary: $10M; Bonus: $6M
  • S33 -- Salary: $10M
  • S34 -- Salary: $10M
  • S35 -- Salary: $10M
  • S36 -- Salary: $10M
  • S37 -- Salary: $20M; Bonus: $10M
  • S38 -- Salary: $20M
  • S39 -- Salary: $20M
  • S40 -- Salary: $20M
  • S41 -- Salary: $20M (Player Option)

Assuming Rijo exercises his Player Option in S41, that will leave him at age 36, having earned $178,362,000. Over those 18 seasons, that averages out to $9.909M per season.

Considering $42M in Prospect Budget really translates to $20M + 2x$22M = $64M, Rijo's total COST at age 36 will have been a whopping $200,363,000. Over those 18 seasons, that averages out to $11.131M per season.

It is difficult to find the highest paid players throughout our league history. The following is a sampling of players who had both long and successful careers:

Einar Pena (SP): $280,671,000
Amos Phillips (SP): $206,902,000
Brian Lewis (LF): $175,509,000
Juan Seguignol (SP): $158,068,500
Edge Yount (1B): $144,216,000
Vic Herrera (SP): $136,017,000
Dorian Dunham (LF): $129,173,000

At his current rate, Rijo would already end up as #3 on this list, $28.54M behind Phillips and $102.309M behind Pena. It seems likely Rijo will surpass Phillips for #2 on this list.

But for Rijo to surpass Pena, he would need to:
  • Pitch 5 more seasons (through age 40) at an average of $20,461,800 per season
  • Pitch 6 more seasons (age 41) at an average of $17,051,500 per season
  • Pitch 7 more seasons (age 42) at an average of $14,615,571 per season
  • Pitch 8 more seasons (age 43) at an average of $12,788,625 per season

All in all, as good as Rijo is, I think it'll be tough for him to surpass Pena. Giving what amounts to a second max contract at age 36 seems steep, although Pena was signed to a $104M deal at that exact age...
Dearest Plumpy owners, after much time, thought, and deliberation, I have decided it is time for me to step down as commissioner of our league.  The MWR needs an overhaul and much like we did 12 seasons ago when we created the MWR and I first took over, I believe it would be best for the league for a new dedicated commissioner to step in, take the reigns, and re-establish the league rules.  I am also simply ready to just play this game for awhile.  I would like to nominate Pajammies as my successor.  He has done remarkable work as commissioner in Double Mendoza (their blog is FANCY), and is someone I know will do what is in the best interest of the league.  That said, if anyone else is interested in becoming commissioner, please let it be known now.  I will of course continue to play in the league, and I will continue to recruit new owners at every roll over as it has become a passion of mine.  It has been a pleasure being your commissioner, and thank you everyone for making this world as awesome as it is.  -zeustis01
Every once in a great while in this game of HBD, a player comes along who redefines what it means to be elite.  On August 15th, 2012 at 3:03pm EST, Zyrion of the then "rebuilding" Syracuse Magma signed <a style="color:black;" href="http://www.whatifsports.com/hbd/Pages/Popups/PlayerProfile.aspx?pid=5125671" target="_blank">Julio Rijo</a> to a record $42 million dollar signing bonus to play fake baseball in Syracuse.  In addition to changing the landscape of Plumpy forever (for newer owners, this signing prompted the development of the league's Minimum Win Requirement), Rijo immediately became the top prospect in the league.

His projections looked legendary, to the extent that when two weeks after the signing Rijo tore his labrum, some league members wondered aloud if the game makers let Rijo slip through by mistake and set him back with the injury to level the playing field.  2 World Championships, 9 All-Star Game appearances, and 6 Cy Young Awards later, the verdict is in: Julio Rijo was no mistake, he's just that damn good.

The question then must be asked, how could an owner of this fake man who has 223 career wins and 2,771 career strikeouts (all accrued before turning 30 this season!) possibly trade such a player?  Well, trade rumors began circulating when Zyrion revealed on World Chat that Rijo would not re-sign with the team after his contract expires this season.  Rather than risk the unpredictable Type A FA market, he made Rijo available in hopes of landing significantly more of a return than he would likely get next season.  The results are the mega deal that went down last night, almost three real years to the day when Rijo was first signed, between the now Madison Magma and the Fargo Malvos.  Let's take a look at why this trade should be a win for the Magma, and why it should be a win for the Malvos as well.

The Deal: 

Madison Magma get https://www.whatifsports.com/HBD/Pages/Popups/PlayerProfile.aspx?pid=7301723, https://www.whatifsports.com/HBD/Pages/Popups/PlayerProfile.aspx?pid=6892554, and https://www.whatifsports.com/HBD/Pages/Popups/PlayerProfile.aspx?pid=6761635

Fargo Malvos get https://www.whatifsports.com/HBD/Pages/Popups/PlayerProfile.aspx?pid=5125671, https://www.whatifsports.com/HBD/Pages/Popups/PlayerProfile.aspx?pid=5917254, https://www.whatifsports.com/HBD/Pages/Popups/PlayerProfile.aspx?pid=4245077

Why it's a win for Madison:

Let's start with the main prize of the return package for Rijo, which is Geraldo Terrero.  Terrero is a true blue chip prospect, signed out of El Seibo, DO last season.  Not only is he already Major League ready, he could make the All-Star team this year, and he's only 21.  With a versus righty split already at 86 and velocity in the high 80s as well, it is not hard to project this SP having both important ratings climb into the mid-90s before his development is complete.  He's not Julio Rijo, but he is a rotation anchor, and is far more of a return than Zyrion would have received next season on the open FA market.

In addition to Terrero, Juan Esposito is a legit ML bat at 1B, and while questions remain about his defense, his potential to OPS close to .900 against RHP makes him a valuable acquisition as well.  Cecchini should slot into the back end of the rotation at some point, though that ugly vs. Lefty rating may prove a hinderance.  In short, Zyrion received 3 future MLers, 1, possibly 2 All-Stars, with Terrero having a shot at winning a Cy Young award or two throughout his career.  Addiitonally, Zyrion cleared $16 million off the books, giving him room to be a player in FA if he so chooses to be this season.  Whether or not Zyrion turns this into the beginning of a full on re-build has yet to be seen, though early indications are that he's willing to move more of his elite veterans for prospects as well.

Why it's a win for Fargo:

They get Julio F'ing Rijo, the greatest pitcher in league history.  Boom, end of story,  Nunez and Nieves are solid additions as well, but this side of the debate starts and ends with Rijo.  Yes, it's only for one season, and yes, losing Terrero to a division rival may sting for the next 11 seasons, but... IT'S JULIO RIJO!  This franchise already won the championship last season, and immediately becomes the favorite to win it again in Season 36.  Fargo also now has the extremely advantageous "home field tie breaker" should they decide to go to a max offer on Rijo next season.  Rijo will undoubtedly hit the open market next season, and if he returns to Fargo, this trade unquestionably will go down as a win-win for both teams.  If Fargo doesn't win the championship this season then loses Rijo to FA while winding up with a mid comp round + 2nd round pick for him, it will be harder to call this one a win for the Malvos.  Then again, it's Julio F'ing Rijo; who wouldn't want to have him for at least one season just to enjoy the ride?
Recently some long term owners have violated our league's established Minimum Win Requirement (MWR) which has sparked some discussions about why we would allow dedicated owners to leave Plumpy.  Rather than take up an incredible number of World Chat posts, I decided to write a blog post about the history of our league's Minimum Win Requirement and why I consider it a vital piece to the health of our league.

Some history...

In Season 24, there was no Minimum Win Requirement.  Teams were allowed to lose or win as much as they wanted.  The then Memphis Problems were poised to win their 3rd of 4 championships over a 6 season span, a period of dominance where the rest of the league constantly felt like they were fighting for second place.  Simultaneously, the then Syracuse Magma were in the midst of an historically bad season, one in which the Magma won only 43 games.

Then along came Julio Rijo on the International market.  When his career is all said and done, it is entirely possible that Julio Rijo will go down as the greatest pitcher in Plumpy history.  In Season 24 when he appeared, 15 owners had budgeted at least $20 million in prospect payroll.  Everyone who saw him wanted Rijo, but the problem was, one team had filled his ML squad with sub-AAAA scrubs for the league minimum and was paying less than $18 million dollars in player salaries.

Julio Rijo signed with the Syracuse Magma for a record $42 million in prospect money, a record that holds to this day.  When taking budget transfers into account, Zyrion spent a total of $64 million dollars to get Rijo.  On his signing day, the World Chat lit up with protests about how unfair it was that the Magma were doing everything in their power to lose, and were rewarded with arguably the greatest pitcher in league history.  The precedent that was being set was scary: if you wanted to get the best IFA, you had to systematically destroy your team for a 3-6 seasons in order to do so.

Now this is not meant to in any way demonize Zyrion.  He broke no league rules that we had in place at the time.  He is an incredibly savvy and dedicated owner, who was far from the only guy tanking at the time.  He just did it the most effectively.  He also got the #1 draft pick the next season which turned into Cy Young award winner Frank Leonard.  Once he started competing again, his low player payroll allowed him to continue to splurge on IFAs, as he signed superstuds Lariel Cubillan, Pedro Martin, and Pablo Macias over the next several seasons, helping to create the Magma that we know and fear today.  (Editor's note: Zyrion has also made some brilliant trades and ballsy free agent signings that have turned his franchise into an empire.  As I said, the guy is a savvy.)

The aforementioned Memphis Problems had utilized a similar albeit less blatant tanking strategy when creating its powerhouse.  With no MWR, the Problems accrued 7 consecutive seasons worth of top 10 picks, while simultaneously leading the league in IFA spending.  This created an absolute juggernaut of a franchise that won 4 World Series in 6 seasons, boasting the league's best record year after year.

Between Memphis's dominance and Syracuse's IFA spending, the overwhelming consensus in Season 24 was that something needed to be done in order to bring parity and competitive balance back to the league.  Several ideas were proposed at the time, and a league vote was held to determine which MWR would best fit our league.  The consensus was that all owners had to win 55 games in one season, 120 games over two seasons, 185 games over three seasons, and 260 games over four seasons.  This allowed owners room to undergo a rebuilding project, while also protecting the league from teams intentionally having a bottom 10 record for 4 years or more, and from filling out their ML roster with AAAA quality players.  The hope was that as time went on, parity would return to the league and the game would become more fun again.

And it's worked.

It's taken a long time, but the league is more competitive and balanced now than it's been in a long time.  7 teams are poised to make the play-offs this season that did not last season.  That's incredible.  In the three years before the MWR was put into place, we lost 7, 6, and 10 owners each season at the rollover.  Over the past 5 seasons with the MWR firmly in place, we've lost 3, 2, 3, 1 and 5 owners each season.  There are many factors that I believe keep owners interested in returning to the league, but knowing you have a shot to turn your team around and make it a play-off contender without losing 100 games for multiple seasons in a row is massively important.

Ultimately, we're all here because we love baseball and we love fantasy sports.  This is fun and for many of us, it's one of the main hobbies of our day to day lives.  It really sucks having to lose people who want to be here, but we have to draw the line somewhere.  The 55-120-185-260 MWR is the fairest way we've been able to come up with.  Bad luck happens, and that's why we have a vote.

I am firmly in favor of allowing owners who violate the MWR and are removed from the league to return at the helm of another franchise, and I am open to discussing that idea further on the World Chat.

Thank you all for being a part of this league.  It is a pleasure being commissioner of Plumpy.  Good luck to everyone in the post-season.

Today's interview is with one of the longest tenured and most successful owners in Plumpy history, 3 time World Series Champion and owner of the Oakland Hammers, mattwithanh!  Be sure to read the entire interview, especially his answer to question 10.  It may become an official part of the league charter:

1.) What do you do in real life?
I work in the legal department for a large bank and brokerage firm. 

2.) How did you learn about HBD?
When I was in law school, I read Twins blogger Aaron Gleeman who had an HBD league and was looking for members. I applied and was invited to play in Gleeman World I and fell in love with the game. It makes regular fantasy sports seem so superficial. Gleeman World was a really tough world to learn how to play in, but it made me better a whole lot quicker. 

3.) Who is your all time favorite ballplayer in Plumpy?
Well, Einar Pena would have to my best player ever and might be the best Plumpy pitcher ever. But probably my favorite player would have to be Ken James. He was a DITR who got most of his hitting ratings bumped up to all 90s, the fascinating thing was he had 20 durability and 20 health. He could only get 200-300 PAs but hit would OPS 900+

4.) What is your proudest moment in Plumpy?
Winning my first HBD World Series in season 11. Playoffs are such a crapshoot it’s a real thrill when you make it all the way through and get the trophy graphic on your dashboard the whole next season. 

5.) Which player is your proudest draft pick?
I am sure I am in the minority, but the draft is one of my least favorite parts of HBD. It’s a lot of work to get any real value past the 2nd round and I usually pick pretty late. But my season 9 draft is probably my best ever, I think I got 7 guys who ended up contributing at the ML level. Specifically though, I think someone was impressed that I got Juan Aquino at #33 in season 13. 

6.) What is the most devastating injury one of your players incurred?
I honestly have no idea. It was probably to a draft pick who then never made it and thus I never gave any real thought to. 

7.) What is the most overrated rating on a player card? (if you feel this gives away part of your competitive advantage, feel free to ignore it)
I think pitcher splits are pretty overrated. They are just so reliant on the other ratings. Anyone who has a had a pitcher with high 70s-80s splits but doesn’t have an out pitch rating will consistently be disappointed by their performance.

8.) What is the most underrated rating on a player card? (same caveat as above)
The high baserunning/speed combo can add a ton of value to a fringe player and can make a good player a great one. For pitchers, its durability. The difference between a guy who can throw 170 innings of 3.50 ERA and one who can throw 230 innings of 4.00 is really stark and underappreciated because likely it’s going to be a much worse pitcher throwing those 60 innings.

9.) Do you have a nemesis in the league (either another owner or a particular player?)
I sure haven’t won many AL West titles since tlally came along, but he just left. I would say there are lot of guys I respect: Tjack, Jerico, Dawei, bcpcbpccpc, goodtymes, grecianfox

10.) As one of our most seasoned owners, how do you think Plumpy could improve going forward?
Be excellent to one another. This is a for-pay, fake player fantasy league with a high barrier of entry. It boggles my mind that we can find 31 other guys who want to do this much less those who will pay for it and participate consistently. Cherish the fact we found each other and can pretend to run baseball teams together.
Many years ago, a league was born.  That league would go on to become perhaps the most active, enthusiastic, and fun league in the world of HBD.  A league destined for such greatness needed an equally great name:  Plumpyrules!!!!!!!!111 was born.  As we embark on Season 33, Plumpy himself has rejoined this fine world.  Today, we sit down with the namesake of the league, and get to know the man behind the pixels.

1.)  What do you do in real life?

I am a Postal Clerk for the United States Post Office. Basically I sell stamps, help the elderly, talk sports to the guys and ogle the women all day. (and now with my cell I'll be able to follow our league all day!)

2.)  How did you learn about HBD?

Waaay back in 2002 I saw an ad for HBD. I started a team and then Hoops Dynasty was just starting. I played alot of HD but I still love HBD!

3.)  How does it feel to have the best league in HBD named after you?

I am honored!! Really! Through out the years I'd goto your blog and see what's up. And to see how quickly this season filled is a testament to this leagues greatness!

4.)  What was your reaction when you found out the league would be named after you?

Honored and proud. As a matter of fact...some of my friends, who have never played WIS, read your blog. lol

5.)  Is there a back story to the “!!!!!!!111” part of the league name?

Well I was stressing a point to a coach who did not believe me. To make my point even more pronounced I added many exclamation points and accidentally threw some ones in the end. It caught on. lol

6.)  Which player on your team are you most excited about owning?

Arthur Hogan...LF...22...AA...I love the name and I am interested how he will do.

7.) & 8.) (will be answered at a later date).

9.)  Do you have a nemesis in the league (either another owner or a particular player?)

None yet but I'm pretty competitive so I'm sure one will pop up. I'm not afraid to speak up in the forums or chat. So it should be fun.

10.)  What are your goals for the Portland Porks in your first season back in the league?

To win atleast 60 games! lol Also to have fun and possibly make new friends!!!!!!!!111

With 4 games to play, the AL Playoffs are in a huge log-jam: two Division Titles are still up for grabs, as is the second Wild Card spot.

I figured the straightforward playoff scenarios are pretty easy to eye-ball -- the most wins is in -- so I thought I'd take a shot at outlining any (all?) potential tie-breakers, since it seems quite possible we will have some.

I'm just going from the top of the Standings page to the bottom, so don't get all bent out of shape because the Ottawa Eh's are first, ok?!

Clinched Division:

AL East: New York Knights (current record: 78-80)
AL West: Omaha Settlers (97-61)

Clinched Playoff Spot:

Nashville Merchants (95-63)
Little Rock n Roll (94-64)

Nashville has already clinched the season series, so Little Rock needs to finish with a better record to claim the AL South title.

Still Alive:

Ottawa Eh's
Burlington Bulldogs
Columbus Dodger Blue
Oakland Hammers
San Juan Elephant Seals
Helena Hellas


Assuming the paired teams' records end up the same, tie-breakers are as follows (for a quick tie-breaker summary, scroll to the bottom of this post):

Ottawa Eh's vs Burlington Bulldogs:
  • Ottawa wins season series 6-4

Ottawa Eh's vs Columbus Dodger Blue:
  • Teams conclude season against each other -- Ottawa currently leads season series 4-3. For teams to tie, Columbus must win final series 2-1:
  • Series tied 5-5;
  • Division record would be tied in any scenario: 17-13 or 16-14;
  • Ottawa has a +86 run differential, Columbus has a +12 run differential -- Ottawa will win the tie-breaker unless Columbus' run differential is 74 or more than Ottawa's over the final 4 games

Ottawa Eh's vs Oakland Hammers:
  • Oakland wins season series 7-3

Ottawa Eh's vs San Juan Elephant Seals:
  • Ottawa wins season series 6-4

Ottawa Eh's vs Helena Hellas:
  • Series tied 5-5;
  • Ottawa wins Division record, either 16-14 to 14-16 OR 15-15 to 13-17

Burlington Bulldogs vs Columbus Dodger Blue:
  • Burlington either wins season series 6-4, OR tied 5-5;
  • Division record would be tied in any scenario, 17-13, 16-14, or 15-15;
  • Burlington has a +18 run differential, Columbus has a +12 -- Burlington will win the tie-breaker unless Columbus' run differential is 6 or more than Burlington's over the final 4 games
  • Final tie-breaker is last season's record, which Columbus would win

Burlington Bulldogs vs Oakland Hammers:
  • Series tied 5-5;
  • Oakland wins Division record in any scenario: 19-11 to 18-12, 18-12 to 17-13, 17-13 to 16-14, or 16-14 to 15-13

Burlington Bulldogs vs San Juan Elephant Seals:
  • San Juan wins, 6-4

Burlington Bulldogs vs Helena Hellas:
  • Series tied 5-5;
  • Burlington wins Division record in any scenario: 16-14 to 14-16, 15-15 to 13-17, or 14-16 to 12-18

Columbus Dodger Blue vs Oakland Hammers:
  • Series tied 5-5;
  • Oakland wins Division record in any scenario: 19-11 to 18-12, 18-12 to 17-13, 17-13 to 16-14, or 16-14 to 15-15

Columbus Dodger Blue vs San Juan Elephant Seals:
  • Series tied 5-5;
  • San Juan wins Division record in any scenario: 19-11 to 17-13, 18-12 to 16-14, 17-13 to 15-15, or 16-14 to 14-16

Columbus Dodger Blue vs Helena Hellas:
  • Helena wins season series 7-3

Oakland Hammers vs San Juan Elephant Seals:
  • Series tied 5-5;
  • San Juan wins Division record in any scenario: 19-11 to 18-12, 18-12 to 17-13, or 17-13 to 16-14

Oakland Hammers vs Helena Hellas:
  • If Oakland wins at least one game against Helena, Oakland wins the season series;
  • If Helena sweeps Oakland, series would be tied at 5-5;
  • Oakland wins Division record in any scenario: 17-13 to 14-6 or 16-14 to 13-17
San Juan Elephant Seals vs Helena Hellas:
  • Series tied 5-5;
  • San Juan wins Division record in any scenario: 18-12 to 14-16, 17-13 to 13-17, 16-14 to 12-18, or 15-15 to 11-19

Summary Table:

    With Season 32 just days away from beginning, here are ten things to watch going into Opening Day:

    1.)  Can the Magma actually get better? 

    5 seasons ago, the Syracuse Magma (now residing in Minnesota) won an impressive 111 games, dominating the NL North, winning the National League Pennant before losing the World Series to the Chicago Fatties.  Despite the Championship defeat, it seemed clear that the next great Plumpy dynasty was upon us.  Fast forward to Season 32, and the Magma are coming off of an astonishing 120 win season, that was ended abruptly in an astonishing second round play-off defeat.  Now two full seasons removed from it’s last NLCS appearance, the Season 29 champs have to be wondering if this once assumed “dynasty” is turning into an incredible team that was bitten by bad post-season luck too many times.  With the past 5 NL Cy Young and past 4 NL MVP award winners on the roster, the Magma aren’t going anywhere anytime soon.  Anything short of a World Championship in Season 32 will be a disappointment.

    2.)  Will Boise land a stud with the first overall pick despite 0-0 scouting?

    Never before in league history has there been an owner with the top pick so dedicated to winning now, and so disinterested in the draft.  Bob’s Basturds have a long history of playing to win now, regardless of the future, which has been taken to new heights this season.  Boise has elected to totally punt all amateur scouting, despite having the top pick in the draft, in order to free up more money to sign free agents.  With 0-0 scouting, will the Basturds even see a star-caliber player, and if they do somehow manage to draft one, will they even want him?

    3.)  Can Nashville repeat it’s outstanding season?

    In Season 26, jquick1 took over one of the most badly damaged franchises in league history, with the previous owner having saddled the Merchants with multiple, multi-year, multi-million dollar contract for minor league players.  With only a handful of future ML prospects in the farm system, the Merchant of Nashville set upon a lengthy rebuilding process.  After 4 fourth places finishes in 5 seasons, Nashville broke through the glass ceiling of the ultra-competitive AL south, winning the division by an astonishing 16 games, and clinching the top seed in the American League.  Despite a disappointing second round play-off exit, the Merchants have more top prospects ready to contribute at the ML level this season, and are ready to take the next step towards being perennial contenders.

    4.)  Will Little Rock and San Juan bounce back?

    Speaking of the AL South, most pundits had the ‘N Roll and Elephant Seals finishing 1-2 in some order in the division heading into last season.  Free agency hit both teams hard though, as San Juan didn’t land an impact pitcher, and Little Rock lost Roger Conroy.  Those losses, combined with some shocking under-performances by key players (Fernando Manto and Einar Rivera, we’re looking in your direction) kept both teams from making the play-offs.  For San Juan, it was their first missed post-season opportunity in 14 seasons.  While Little Rock appears ready to improve from within, San Juan has been a major player in free agency, signing four veteran SPs, including last season’s World Series clinching Game 6 winner, Nicholas Sampson.  At some point the rebuild will have to happen in San Juan, but today... today is not that day!

    5.)  Which teams are most likely to end their post-season droughts?

    The Syracuse Wiffleballers franchise won three of the first ten World Series... and haven’t been back to the play-offs since.  With new management in its second season, and uber prospect Myron Byrnes ready for ML action, it’s only a matter of time before the Wiffleballers are in the Dance.

    In Season 13, the Helena Hellas franchise won the World Series... and haven’t been back to the play-offs since.  In fact, the Hellas haven’t finished higher than third in the ultra-competitive AL West since that World Series title.  That said, foodew has done a fantastic job retooling this franchise with top prospects, none more valuable than Enos Leonard who is just entering his prime.  With an 87 win season under their belts, the Hellas may be more poised than any other team to end its post-season drought.

    The Washington D.C. Snipers franchise has been waiting 10 seasons for a play-off team.  With the trade of Ace Shelley Olson, it appears the team is re-tooling for the future.  With co-Ace Patrick Graham still very young and in his prime, and several top prospects in the farm system, this team should be ready for the post-season in the near future, just not this season.

    6.)  Can anyone dethrone Pedro Martin from the top of the NL MVP ballot?

    Probably not, but we can hope, can’t we?

    7.)  Who will be competitive in the NL West?

    Vancouver has definitely been on the rise lately, but Arizona has perhaps the best pitching prospect in the game in: 
    who will be ready for action by at least Season 33, San Francisco is dedicated to getting the team back to it’s winning ways, and Boise has already been a major player in free agency.  The smart money is on Vancouver winning the division for the second season in a row, but any of the four teams could be contenders before the season is through.

    8.)  Will a team reach .500 in the AL East?

    Probably not, but we can hope, can’t we?

    9.)  Which division will total more wins:  the NL East or the AL South?

    More importantly, will either division ever total 400 wins in a season?  With Washington in re-tool mode, the AL South is the front runner for most total wins amongst the super divisions, but Louisville, Scranton and Durham will all have something to say about that.

    10.)  Can Scranton and Oakland go back to the World Series?

    It’s been seven seasons since a World Series winner has gone back to back, and Oakland is in the aforementioned murderous AL South.  That said, both teams have reloaded this off-season and will have legitimate shots at going back to the promised land.