Inside Diamond Mind Baseball
Introducing Diamond Mind Baseball
We make Diamond Mind Baseball, a computer baseball game that was first published in 1987. Reviewers and customers have consistently rated DMB at the top of its class for realism, accuracy, ease of use, flexibility and speed. But many people haven't heard of us.
With so many computer baseball games on the market today, it can be hard to find the game that is right for you. Some are visually-appealing arcade games that challenge your ability to work a joystick. Others are computer versions of baseball board games that were designed long before personal computers arrived on the scene. Still others, like Diamond Mind Baseball, are strategy-oriented games that were designed from the start to take advantage of the power of personal computers.
So we've written this technical note to give you an opportunity to learn more about Diamond Mind Baseball and see how it compares to other games. To provide some structure to the information, we've grouped our comments into the following four categories that sum up what we're trying to accomplish:
Realism and accuracy. For many people, a game can't be fun if it's a vastly simplified copy of the real game of baseball or if the simulated statistics bear little resemblance to real-life totals.
Statistics and reports. Stats are a big part of baseball tradition and one of the ways in which computer baseball games can shine.
Flexibility. There are lots of different ways to play a computer baseball game. Play head-to-head over the internet, join a league, or play by yourself. Use today's players or players from long ago. Use real-life rosters or release everyone and draft your own. Play against another person or against the computer manager. Focus on individual games or quickly play full seasons.
Ease of use. No matter how many features are offered, a game isn't going to be much fun if it's not easy to install and use on your computer.
Two additional sections will help you understand the difference between our game and other baseball games on the market:
- Comparison with Arcade Games
- Comparison with Translated Board Games
In the last section, you can read about the company that stands behind the product.
Naturally, we're hoping that you'll decide that Diamond Mind Baseball deserves a little space on your hard disk. But we understand that you may be looking for something else. Maybe an arcade game is more your style. That's okay. Our game does a lot of things really well, but it isn't for everybody. Whatever you decide, we hope that your time spent with this note has been helpful, and we thank you for taking the time to read it.
Realism and accuracy
What makes a computer baseball game realistic and accurate? We think it boils down to three things. First, if something is important in professional baseball, it should be important in the game. Second, just about everything that can happen in real baseball should happen in the game. And, finally, things should happen just about as often in the computer game as they do in real life.
Let's start by making a list of some of the most important things in professional baseball. Pitchers getting ahead of the hitter. Wearing down the opposing pitcher by taking or fouling off a lot of pitches. Picking the right count for the hit and run. Using pickoff throws and pitchouts to defend against the running game. The unique characteristics of the home ballpark. Weather. The little things -- taking the extra base, bunting a runner over, making a strong throw -- that make the difference in a close game. A deep bench to cope with injuries to key players. Overall playing conditions -- bunting and stealing a lot in the dead-ball era and swinging for the fences in the mid-1990s. These things are important in real-life baseball, and they should be important in a computer baseball game.
As you know, all kinds of strange and wonderful things can happen in baseball. Botched rundowns. Homerun-saving catches. Catcher interference. Bench-clearing brawls. Arguments and ejections. Fly balls lost in the sun. Wind-blown homers. Bone-jarring collisions at the plate. Balks. Stupid baserunning errors. Triple plays. Dropped third strikes that prolong an inning. These things don't happen every day, but they're a big part of what makes baseball interesting and fun.
But it's not enough to toss all of these things into a computer baseball game. There has to be a sense of proportion and context. Homerun-saving catches don't happen every day, and they only happen in stadiums where the fences are low enough for an outfielder to leap above them. Catcher interference is called only about ten times per season. Triple plays are even less common. A game in which these things happen quite often would feel more like a blooper film than a typical professional baseball game. A well-designed game, on the other hand, reminds you every so often that almost anything can happen, even if many plays are routine.
A key innovation in Diamond Mind Baseball is the first and only statistically-accurate pitch-by-pitch baseball simulation. This doesn't mean that your games will take much longer to play, because you can toggle between batter-by-batter and pitch-by-pitch mode at any time during the game with a single keystroke or mouse click. Many people like to use batter mode until a potential base stealer gets on or until a key batter-pitcher matchup arises, then switch into pitch mode for those situations. So you can still play games in 10-15 minutes (or less) if you want to.
But you can also play those games knowing that:
you can call for pitchouts and pickoff throws by pitchers, two new weapons with which to defend against steal attempts and suicide squeeze bunts. Even if you have a weak throwing catcher and/or a pitcher who doesn't hold runners well, you can still give yourself a fighting chance to throw out a runner by throwing to first or calling for a pitchout at the right moment. And you can put the suicide into the suicide squeeze by pitching out at the right time, too.
you can order your hitter to take the 3-0 pitch or give him the green light to swing
pitcher fatigue is based on pitch counts, and to help you keep track, the game displays the number of pitches thrown and the number of strikes
runners are automatically on the move with two out and the count full
the game generates realistic patterns of balls, called strikes, swinging strikes, foul balls and balls put in play, and produces highly-accurate walk and strikeout rates
pitchers throw more strikes when behind in the count, especially with three balls, and expand the strike zone when ahead, while batters swing at strikes more often when behind in the count, especially with two strikes, and are more selective when ahead
batters hit for a higher average and more power when they are ahead in the count, and swing more defensively when behind
when pitchers tire, they have more trouble finding the strike zone, more of their strikes are put into play, and more of the batted balls they allow are hit for power
for those of you who like to play with past seasons, the game accurately reproduces the lower rates of walks and strikeouts that occurred earlier in the century. And you can play realistic games among teams from very different eras, because DMB makes the necessary adjustments.
the game correctly charges walks and strikeouts when substitutions are made in mid-count, as required by rules 10.17(b) and 10.18(h)(3) in the official baseball rule book
We've done detailed studies of real-life manager tendencies using play-by-play and pitch-by-pitch data from recent seasons. We've learned how the count affects decisions made by real-life managers -- which types of hitters are allowed to swing on 3-0 counts; favorite counts on which to steal, hit and run, make pickoff throws, or pitch out; and a lot more. All of this information has been used to provide you with an intelligent computer manager that provides a very challenging opponent and that can be trusted to manage your team when you're playing in a league.
All Diamond Mind Baseball player ratings are adjusted for the effects of their home park, making it possible to play realistic games using players who move to a new home park because they were traded or drafted by another team.
Diamond Mind Baseball provides comprehensive ratings for both present-day and old-time parks, including the type of stadium (outdoor/dome/retractable), surface (grass/turf), amount of foul territory, distance to the fence and fence height at seven locations, weather conditions that are typical for that park, and, most importantly, the statistical impact of the park on the number of singles, doubles, triples and homeruns hit by left- and right-handed batters.
These park ratings influence your Diamond Mind Baseball games just as they affect real-life games. You'll see lots of runs in Coors Field and Sportsman's Park and plenty of pitchers' duels in the Astrodome or the cavernous fields of the early 20th century. Many more foul balls will be caught in Oakland than in Camden Yard. Line drives that would be cut off on grass fields will scoot through the gaps for doubles and triples on artificial turf.
Detailed weather system
The weather has always been a major factor in baseball, and so it is in Diamond Mind Baseball. The weather for a game is based on the prevailing weather for the home park and adjustments for seasonal and daily variations.
In New York and Philadelphia, it will be cool in the spring and hot in the summer, while San Diego and LA will enjoy moderate temperatures all season long. Texas will fight the heat most of the year, and Florida fans will have to watch for frequent rain clouds. It will be much windier in Chicago than in LA. And, of course, if the home park has a retractable roof, the roof will be left open when it's nice out and closed when it is too cold or rain is in the forecast.
And the weather report isn't just for show. The official scorer will be kept busy if the wind is blowing out and the pitchers can't keep the ball on the ground. A wet field may cause fielders to lose their footing and botch routine plays. Pitchers tire more quickly when it's really cold or really hot, and may have to leave a game if their arm stiffens after a long rain delay. Scoring goes up and down with the temperature.
Comprehensive player ratings
One of the best ways to judge the quality of a baseball game is to look at the player ratings. Many arcade games and some translated board games use a simplistic set of ratings that leave out important baseball skills.
All Diamond Mind Baseball hitters are rated for their ability to hit for average, hit for power (doubles, triples and homers), draw walks, avoid strikeouts, and stay out of the double play. And all are rated for their tendencies to hit ground balls and fly balls and to pull the ball or spray the ball around the park. All pitchers have a similar set of ratings. And the importance of left/right matchups is a standard feature of the game.
Many games, especially arcade games, gloss over important elements of defense. A common fault is to assign only one set of fielding ratings to each player, overlooking the fact that some players play more than one position and aren't equally effective at each one. Defense is a very important part of baseball, and each Diamond Mind player is rated for his ability to make plays (range), avoid errors, and throw out runners (for catchers and outfielders) at each position he plays. Catchers are also rated for their ability to prevent passed balls. It's not unusual for a highly-rated catcher to be given low ratings for his occasional play at first base or in the outfield, for example. Utility infielders are often rated at three or four positions, giving their managers lots of flexibility for late inning substitutions.
Serious baseball research
Over the years, we have purchased detailed pitch-by-pitch and play-by-play data for all big-league games from various vendors. Using this data, we've developed sophisticated research techniques to assess each player's ability to bunt, play defense, throw, and run the bases. We know how often each player failed to get a bunt down in a sacrifice situation. We know how often each player took an extra base on a single to right when playing on artificial turf. We know how many outfield assists are important (nailing the runner at home) and how many are somewhat meaningless (catching the batter between first and second after two runs had already scored on the play). We know which pitchers are easiest to run on and which runners take advantage of artificial turf to bolster their stolen base totals. We use this research to go well beyond a superficial evaluation of the players and get much closer to the truth.
In this section, we'd like to share with you some of the types of plays that occur in Diamond Mind Baseball that you won't often (or ever) see in arcade games and translated board games. We think these plays represent much of the richness and diversity of real baseball. A complete baseball experience requires that these plays, none of which are all that uncommon, occur in the game in a statistically meaningful way. Here are a few examples:
Catcher interference. This play occurs only about 8-10 times per season in real life, so it's tempting for game designers to leave it out.
Ball hits runner. This play is even more rare. The batter is awarded a single but the runner is declared out on the play.
Catcher pickoff throws. DMB includes all of the associated types of plays (runner back safely, runner picked off, runner out advancing, rundowns). Just as in real life, catchers rarely try to pick runners off when they are leading by four or more runs or when an errant throw could produce the tying run. They're more common for teams that need a momentum-turning play. The best throwing catchers have a much better chance of getting a pickoff, while the worst won't even try pickoff throws very often.
Out advancing on short passed balls and wild pitches. Passed balls and wild pitches occur hundreds of times per season, yet many arcade games leave them out. Diamond Mind Baseball goes one step further by including the plays on which the runner tries to advance on a short passed ball but gets thrown out. These plays don't show up in the official stats, but they're not all that rare.
Pickoffs. About 15-20% of the real-life runners thrown out stealing second are thrown out by the pitcher, not the catcher. The pitcher makes a good pickoff throw, the runner breaks for second, and the first baseman either throws the runner out or tags the runner in a rundown. Other games that don't compile fielding stats often gloss over these details and simply report that the runner is out.
Rundowns and botched plays. Some rundowns are executed in textbook style, with the defense making one throw, chasing the runner back to his original bag, and making the tag. But even the pros occasionally mess up a rundown by dropping a throw, making a wild throw, or failing to cover a base. Diamond Mind Baseball rundowns usually lead to outs, but all of these other things can happen too. Including the play where the runner at first gets in a rundown, and the runner on third breaks for home, and the defense has to switch gears and throw home.
Brawls. Most batters will take their licks and their base quietly, but some will ignite a bench-clearing brawl by charging the mound. Brawls can lead to injuries for players in the game and anyone on the bench. And you'll usually see at least one player ejected from the game for their conduct in the melee.
Arguments and ejections. Batters and pitchers sometimes argue ball and strike calls by the home plate umpire. The ump will put up with a little abuse, but you may find a hitter or pitcher getting tossed just when you need them most.
Dropped third strikes. In most cases, this is a harmless miscue, with the catcher recording an easy out by tagging the hitter or throwing to first. But the pitch may go all the way to the backstop, perhaps prolonging a rally that should have ended with the strikeout. Catchers will also make a few wild throws to first, letting the batter reach safely and perhaps allowing other runners to move up as well. As with any other play, Diamond Mind Baseball complies with the official rules. The batter is automatically declared out if first base is occupied with less than two out. If there are two out and the bases are loaded, the catcher won't risk the throw to first because he can simply step on home plate to force the runner.
Dropped throws and throwing errors. About a third of the errors charged to outfielders result from wild throws. Most other games don't include throwing errors as a possible outcome of a running play. But this is an important factor in deciding whether to throw for the lead runner. The game also includes plays where the catcher or another fielder is charged with an error when he drops a good throw.
All Diamond Mind Baseball season disks include every player who appeared on a big-league roster that season. Team rosters can hold up to 80 players. This gives you a full bench and a reserve roster to work with when everyday players are tired or injured, and makes it possible to conduct highly accurate replays of real seasons.
Strategy on the field
Realism requires that strategies and tactics that are important in real baseball are equally important in the game: choosing lineups, making substitutions, positioning your defense, sending the runner, calling for a pitchout, conceding a meaningless run to get a sure out, giving a hitter the green light on a 3-0 pitch, or walking a hitter intentionally.
In Diamond Mind Baseball, for example, making a pickoff throw to first gives you a chance to pick off the runner, but opens you up to the possibility of a balk or throwing error. Bringing the infield in helps you prevent a runner from scoring from third on a ground ball but creates the possibility that more grounders make it through the infield for singles. Guarding the lines reduces the number of ground ball doubles and triples but significantly increases the number of grounders that get through the hole for a single. Holding a runner on first opens up a hole for a left-handed batter to pull a grounder into right field. We've made sure these tactics increase or decrease the odds that certain events will take place in Diamond Mind Baseball in just the same way that they do in real life.
Strategy in the front office
And, as you know, many important baseball decisions are made outside the foul lines. Diamond Mind Baseball lets you build your team through the draft, manage your farm system, and make trades. A shrewd general manager can make the job of the field manager easier by acquiring players with the right skills for all situations.
Much of baseball's rich tradition is due to the unchanging nature of the game. Nevertheless, some aspects of baseball have changed dramatically over time. For example:
- over the past century, league batting averages have ranged from under .240 to over .300 due to changes in rules, ballparks, and equipment.
- ninety years ago, it was common for shortstops to make over 60 errors in a season. Today, few make more than 25.
- in the early 1900s, starting pitchers completed over 80% of the games they started. Today, teams rely more on their relief pitchers, and starters finish fewer than 10% of their starts.
- pitchers in leagues using the designated hitter rule usually allow a half a run per game more than they do when they have the luxury of facing weak-hitting pitchers.
It is not possible to play realistic games among teams of different eras without adjusting for these changing conditions. For example, without these adjustments, a 1912 team would have almost no chance of beating a 1984 team because it would make two to three times as many errors. Are the 1984 fielders really that much better? Of course not. They just have the advantage of using modern gloves and playing on artificial turf.
In Diamond Mind Baseball:
- a .280 hitter in 1968 (when the league batting average was under .250) is a better hitter than someone who hit .280 in 1930 (when the average player batted .300).
- a shortstop making 40 errors in 1912 is a better fielder than a shortstop making 30 errors in 1993.
- a starting pitcher completing 30% of his games in 1984 is more durable than someone who completed 50% of his starts in 1920.
- a 3.30 earned-run average in a DH league is better than a 3.00 ERA in a non-DH league.
In 1993, the folks at USA Today Baseball Weekly magazine ran a computer tournament to find the greatest team of all time. Their staff picked the 32 teams that would compete for the title, and they picked DMB (known at the time as Pursue the Pennant PC Baseball) to simulate the games. The historical adjustments in Diamond Mind Baseball made it uniquely suited to creating a level playing field for this group of teams drawn from seasons ranging from 1902 to 1988.
Diamond Mind Baseball includes an injury system that helps ensure that you need to use your bench just as a real-life manager does. Every player has an injury rating that reflects their real life injuries. You choose whether players will suffer random injuries, no injuries, or injuries reflecting real life performance. At any time you can report on the number of injured players, and the injury duration.
Statistics and Reports
Complete real-life and computer-league stats
All DMB players come with a complete set of batting, pitching and fielding statistics. Many other games exclude the fielding statistics. We're not sure why. It may be because they think people aren't all that interested in fielding stats, or it might be because defense is not a significant element of their version of baseball. Defense has always been an important part of Diamond Mind Baseball, so we feel the related statistics should be there.
Many games give you the ability to report on statistics generated by the game but not the real-life stats. Over the years, our customers have enjoyed being able to report on the real-life stats as well. It's a good way to assess the strengths and weaknesses of your team during a pre-season draft. And now that we've added a number of modern statistics (inherited runners, blown saves, run support, quality starts, runs created, isolated power, total average, and many more), it's a way to view and analyze some stats that you simply can't get in books or other software products.
For all recent seasons (currently 1972 to the present), DMB single seasons include full left/right stats for all batters and pitchers. And the game always compiles a full set of left/right stats from your simulated games. All of these stats are available for review on screen and in a variety of reports, including league leaders against left- and right-handed opponents.
To help you understand how a player was used in real life, we compile the number of games started at each position against left- and right-handed opponents. This enables the computer manager to do an excellent job of matching simulated playing time to real-life playing time when running replays using real-life rosters and schedules.
Some Diamond Mind Baseball single seasons (currently 1934, 1946, 1948-49, 1954-55, 1961, 1965-66 and 1972 to the present) include all of the real-life transactions (trades, promotions, demotions, disabled list moves and so on) and the actual starting lineups for each game played that season. If you choose, you can carry out a detailed season replay with DMB keeping the rosters current and using the actual lineups.
Diamond Mind Baseball includes a state-of-the-art reporting system that provides a full range of standard reports that you can display on the screen, print, save to a text file, save in HTML format, and customize to suit your own needs.
The standard reports include:
- team standings, complete with magic numbers, records in the last ten games, current winning and losing streaks, and plenty of breakdowns such as home/road, grass/turf, and performance in one-run games.
- team batting, pitching and fielding reports that show the stats for each player on the team.
- team batting, pitching and fielding totals that show how the teams stack up against the others in the league
- league leaders (and trailers) in dozens of batting, pitching and fielding categories
- rosters, game results, schedules, injury reports, transaction logs, and more
Just as important, and perhaps even more so, these reports are not merely columns of text on a page. They bring the stats alive in the following ways:
- double-click on any column header to sort the report on that statistic
- scroll reports while keeping headers visible
- use real-life stats or the stats from any part of your DMB schedule (regular season or post-season), including monthly stats, the most recent week, or any date interval
- use toolbar controls to quickly change report options, and permanently save those preferences as memorized reports
- use simple forms to create and save custom reports that have the columns and sections you want in the order you want them, with hundreds of statistics to choose from
If you like to analyze the performance of baseball players, this is a great tool.
Diamond Mind Baseball offers two boxscore formats. The expanded boxscore contains many more columns of information (including fielding stats) than are typically seen in the newspaper. This format makes it easy to find all of the relevant information about the performance of any player in the game.
The other is a traditional boxscore with a few modern features. Figure 1 is an example of the traditional boxscore for a game involving two teams from our All-time Greatest Teams Set #1. Note the up-to-the-minute batting averages and ERAs and the detailed weather report.
Series 401 7/1/1994 -- Game 2 of 3, Ebbets Field (1953) 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 R H E LOB DP 32 New York (A) 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 7 3 7 1 53 Brooklyn 0 0 3 0 1 0 2 0 x 6 12 1 6 1 New York (A) AB R H BI AVG Brooklyn AB R H BI AVG Byrd cf 4 1 1 0 .337 Gilliam 2b 4 2 2 1 .274 Dickey c 4 0 0 0 .280 Reese ss 4 0 2 1 .276 Ruth rf 3 0 1 1 .336 Snider cf 4 2 2 1 .288 Gehrig 1b 4 0 2 0 .325 Robinson lf 4 0 2 1 .287 Chapman lf 3 0 0 0 .316 Hodges 1b 4 0 1 0 .280 Crosetti 3b 4 0 2 0 .222 Campanella c 4 0 1 0 .324 Lary ss 4 0 0 0 .221 Furillo rf 4 0 1 0 .287 Farrell 2b 4 0 1 0 .235 Cox 3b 2 1 0 0 .247 Pennock p 3 0 0 0 .250 Meyer p 3 1 1 0 .087 33 1 7 1 Milliken p 0 0 0 0 .083 33 6 12 4 New York (A) INN H R ER BB K ERA Pennock L 4-5 8.0 12 6 5 2 0 4.07 8.0 12 6 5 2 0 Brooklyn INN H R ER BB K ERA Meyer W 10-5 8.1 7 1 0 1 5 3.71 Milliken 0.2 0 0 0 0 1 1.76 9.0 7 1 0 1 6 E-Byrd, Lary, Farrell, Hodges. 2B-Byrd, Snider. 3B-Snider. CS-Campanella. K-Ruth 2, Gehrig, Chapman, Farrell, Pennock. BB-Chapman, Cox 2. SH-Meyer. SF-Ruth. GWRBI: Gilliam Temperature: 80, Sky: partly cloudy, Wind: left to right at 6 MPH.
Figure 1 Traditional Boxscore
There are a lot of ways to enjoy a computer baseball game, and this section discusses the most popular ones: playing against another person, playing against the computer manager, playing entire seasons quickly, playing by modem, joining a draft league, creating super-leagues of real-life teams, and creating your own players.
Play against another person
This is the most fundamental way to play any computer baseball game, and all games offer this mode. Two people sit down at the computer, choose their lineups and make all the tactical decisions in the course of the game.
Play against the computer manager
The Diamond Mind Baseball computer manager provides an opponent whenever you need one. The computer manager tailors its approach for each team with the help of a manager profile that names the pitchers in the starting rotation, assigns relief pitchers to one or more roles, identifies the starting lineups to be used against right- and left-handed pitchers, names any spot starters and how often they should be used, lists the bench players available at each position in the order they should be used, and indicates how aggressively various game tactics should be used. You can customize these manager profiles using a few keystrokes or mouse clicks. No programming is required.
Play head-to-head over the Internet or a Local Area Network
Beginning with version 9, Diamond Mind Baseball offers you the ability to play another DMB owner over a network. Your opponent may be down the street, on the other side of the country, half way around the world, in another office in your building, or in another room in your house. If both of you have DMB9 and access to a network, you can start up a game (using teams from any season on the host's computer) and go at each other. NetPlay is smooth, fast, and loads of fun.
Automatically play entire seasons
Diamond Mind Baseball includes an autoplay feature that enables you to automatically play a single game, a series, or a group of games. You can even play an entire season in minutes. For example, you can play all of the games for your favorite team and have the game automatically play all the others, thus making sure that your opponents are subject to fatigue and injury just as you are. You can analyze proposed trades by making the trade and playing out the whole season using the new rosters. You can have the computer play the first part of the season so you can focus on the exciting stretch drive games yourself.
Join a league
Many Diamond Mind customers participate in different types of leagues using the game. All of these leagues involve drafting players during the pre-season, choosing lineups and strategies, making trades and other moves during the season, and playing the games in one of several ways. Most allow you to keep certain players on your roster from one year to the next so you don't have to start from scratch each year. Some use modern players, some old-time players. Whatever form it takes, the ability to talk baseball with other league members and to try your hand at drafting and trading makes for a very enjoyable hobby.
Games are played in person (when league members live near each other), over the Internet using the new NetPlay feature (when they don't), or by one manager with the other team handled by the computer manager (when the two managers cannot coordinate their schedules for a NetPlay session).
Diamond Mind provides all the tools for creating leagues, drafting rosters, making trades and other roster moves during the season, and transferring stats from one computer to another on disk or by email:
You can easily create your own leagues, teams, and ballparks.
When you are ready to conduct your pre-season draft, a single command releases all players from a league into free agency.
The drafting window presents customizable lists of free agent batters and pitchers, with key stats and ratings clearly displayed to help you make your selections. If you want to focus on a certain type of player, you can choose a subset of players, such as all left-handed batters, all right-handed relief pitchers, or everyone who plays shortstop. If you're looking for players with specific skills, you can sort the lists on any statistic or player rating. You can generate a report of all free agents, so you can take your time to analyze the players when you're away from your computer. And if you need more information on any particular free agent, you can quickly access the full statistics and ratings profile for the player.
If you want to participate in a draft without joining a league, DMB also includes a computer drafting capability. You make the picks for one or more teams and the computer selects for every other team in the draft.
After the season begins, you can use the roster management features to move players between your active and reserve rosters and use the disabled list to free a roster spot when a player suffers a lengthy injury..
You can make multi-player trades between any two teams. If the trade is made after the season has started, DMB tracks the stats of the traded players in two ways. It keeps track of their performance separately for each team so the team totals are correct. And it also keeps track of their combined totals for league leader reports and the year-to-date totals (win-loss records, saves, homeruns) that appear on boxscores.
When you are ready to begin your season, Diamond Mind Baseball's schedule generator will produce a league schedule, with or without interleague play, in just a few seconds.
Create your own leagues
You can transfer teams, players, and parks from one season disk to another in order to create a league of all-time great teams. Or a league of all-time terrible teams. Or a league of teams from one franchise. And so on. It's up to you.
Modify or create players
With the ability to create or modify leagues, teams, rosters, parks, and players, there are virtually no limits on what you can do with the game. One customer created a series of single seasons based on the Japanese leagues. Another created a series of Pacific Coast League single seasons from the 1950s. Several have created real-life seasons that are not yet in our library. One made a set of all-time great players.
With the NetPlay feature in version 9, you have built-in support for head-to-head play over a network. There's no need for third-party products such as NetMeeting or PCAnywhere. One manager starts up a NetPlay session, the other connects to the host's IP address, and away you go.
Use players from today and yesterday
There are currently over 90 different single seasons and other collections of teams and players available for use with Diamond Mind Baseball. We group them into several categories. The most popular is the annual release of the most recent big-league season in December. We also offer past single seasons (currently back to 1926), eight collections of the All-time Greatest Teams (and one of the All-time Worst), a career-based All-time Greatest Players set, and our most recent addition: five collections of AL and NL All-Star teams spanning the seasons 1933 to 2008.
The Deluxe Past Seasons are called "deluxe" because full left/right stats are included for all batters and pitchers, player ratings are assigned based on computerized studies of pitch-by-pitch and play-by-play data from every big-league game, and almost all of these seasons come with a complete set of real-life player transactions and game-by-game starting lineups.
For Classic Past Seasons, we don't have access to the pitch-by-pitch and play-by-play data that is available for current seasons. So we use other analytical techniques (using year-by-year and career data) and a review of boxscores and news accounts from the period. Left/right strategy remains a big part of the game, however. It's just that the left/right advantage is the same for every player, instead of being based on real-life differentials.
Our series of eight All-time Greatest Teams disks includes 188 of the best teams in history, including every league champion from 1927 to 2002, other great teams that fell just short of a league championship, and some of the best teams from prior to 1927.
Our All-time Greatest Players setincludes more than 1750 of the best players in history. All players are rated based on their best series of consecutive peak seasons, adjusted for park effects and the era in which they played, so it's a fantastic way to see how these players compare on a level playing field. The players are grouped by franchise so you can start playing games right away, but you can make trades and release everyone into free agency and draft new rosters if you like.
Our newest addition is a series of five All-Star Teams collections. These include the AL and NL All-Star teams for every season from 1933, the year of the first All-Star Game, to 2008 and the parks in which the games were played.
Ease of use
We have tried very hard to make it possible for all baseball fans to play Diamond Mind Baseball, regardless of how much or little you know about computers. It's easy to install the game and season, compile stats, learn all the features, get to know the players you're not initially familiar with, and play games in a variety of scenarios.
DMB saves a complete set of batting, pitching and fielding stats, including left/right splits, hitting streaks, injury reports, game-by-game logs, boxscores, scoresheets, transaction logs, and more.
We don't believe in nickel-and-diming our customers. When you buy the game you get everything in one integrated package with a common user interface: the ability to play games, compile stats, generate reports, create new leagues, draft new rosters, transfer statistics, generate schedules, and everything else. Some companies charge extra for add-on modules that perform these functions. At Diamond Mind, each new release adds more capabilities while retaining the look and feel of an integrated product.
The game screen
The DMB game screen presents an image of the ballpark plus the information you need to make good decisions about substitutions and game tactics. You have immediate access to the full batting order for both teams; key ratings and statistics for the current pitcher, the current batter and the next two scheduled hitters; the number of pitches (and strikes) thrown by the pitcher; the scoreboard, including the number of balls, strikes and outs; range, throwing and error ratings for all defensive players; running and stealing ratings for any baserunners; and the in-progress boxscore or scoresheet for the game. And you can double-click on the name of any player to see the full stats and ratings for that player. Play results are displayed as text on the screen using a realistic radio-style play-by-play commentary.
Diamond Mind Baseball can play a full inter-league season (30 teams, 162 games each, 2430 total games) in 5-20 minutes. That's with the computer manager handling all of the decisions, compiling a complete set of statistics, and simulating over 750,000 pitches. The speed of play varies with the speed of your computer and the length of the season, so your results may be even better than this.
Even when making all of the decisions on each play, customers report that they can play games in less than fifteen minutes in play-by-play mode and less than thirty minutes in pitch-by-pitch mode. You don't have to go this fast if you don't want to. There are plenty of opportunities to browse the stats and ratings as you contemplate your options. If you're in a hurry, you can skip forward to the end of the current inning or the beginning of any future inning with the quick play option. You might, for example, quick play to the sixth inning and go pitch-by-pitch during the late innings. In other words, the speed of play is up to you. The game won't slow you down.
Minimal system requirements
Diamond Mind Baseball runs on Windows 95, 98, NT, 2000, ME, XP, Vista,7 and 8, including 64-bit versions. You'll need a minimum of 32 MB of memory, 40 MB of available hard disk space, a CD-ROM drive, a monitor capable of displaying 256 colors at 640x480 resolution (16-bit color and 800-600 or higher resolution is recommended), and any Windows printer. The printer is optional, since all reports can be displayed on the screen. Each additional season database, complete with player ratings and a full set of real-life and simulated statistics, can be stored in 2-3 MB of additional hard drive space. More drive space is needed if you choose to store game-by-game statistics, boxscores, and scoresheets for your simulated games.
Runs on the Mac with Windows emulation
Some of our customers looked at all of the baseball games that are available for the Mac and didn't find any that satisfied their desire for strategy, realism, and statistical accuracy. So they run DMB with the help of hardware and/or software products that allow Macintosh computers to run Windows programs. We readily admit that this isn't an ideal solution for Macintosh users, but it's an option that some of you might want to know about.
Comparison with Arcade Games
These games feature the latest in multimedia technology and typically run on home entertainment systems (Sega, Nintendo, Sony) or high-end computers. Some use real-life players; some don't. Their main purpose is to challenge your eye-hand coordination -- timing your swings, making your fielders run and throw effectively, and moving baserunners. Baseball strategy and accurate reproduction of real-life statistics take a back seat.
We don't offer the animation and sound that you'll find in these games, but for many people the following features are much more interesting:
a pitch-by-pitch simulation model that dramatically heightens the realism and strategy
a much higher level of statistical accuracy and realism
a lot more of the things that happen in real baseball games. And all of these events occur with the same frequency as in real life, so the statistical accuracy is preserved.
more sophisticated player ratings
sophisticated ballpark and weather effects that are statistically accurate
you can easily play a game in under 15 minutes or simulate an entire season in less than half an hour. Some arcade games take much, much longer.
a vast collection of past seasons, teams and players to choose from
advanced historical adjustments that give you the ability to play meaningful games among teams from vastly different eras in baseball history
all the features you need to administer or play in leagues -- drafting, roster management, stats transfer.
the availability in December each year of the season just completed. Many arcade games are frozen in mid-summer so they have time to get through manufacturing and onto the retail shelves in time for the Christmas season, so they don't have current stats.
the flexibility to create new leagues, players, parks, weather patterns and play the game in just about any way you like
the ability to run on just about any MS-DOS computer made in the past ten years
Comparison with Translated Board Games
Most baseball board games were designed long before personal computers were invented. They involve rolling dice, looking things up on player cards and charts that determine the outcome of each play, and keeping score by hand. Board game design is a balance between making the game complex enough to feel like real baseball and keeping it simple enough so an ordinary person can play a game in 30 minutes or less. Some board games have been translated into computer form. Although some multimedia elements have been added to the computer versions (stadium graphics and, in some cases, audio play-by-play), the baseball aspects of these games are still largely or entirely based on the original board game design.
Diamond Mind Baseball was designed from the start to take advantage of the power of the computer. Here are a few examples:
Batter card/pitcher card
In most board games, each player's ability is represented by a card that displays his statistics and ratings along with a table that translates dice rolls into the outcomes of plays involving that player. In any confrontation, half the dice rolls refer to the batter's card and half to the pitcher's card. Some of the entries on the card require that you look something up in another table such as a fielding chart, weather chart, or ballpark chart.
In the long run, the batter and pitcher have an equal impact on the statistics generated by this confrontation. But on any given play, only one of the two player cards is used. Suppose you bring in your ace closer to protect a one-run lead, only to lose the game when three straight dice rolls go to the batter cards. You'd probably feel that you wasted your time bringing in the reliever.
Diamond Mind Baseball was designed for the computer, so it doesn't use cards. For any batter-pitcher confrontation, the ratings of the batter and pitcher are combined for each plate appearance to reflect their abilities and other factors (e.g. fatigue) that might influence this confrontation. In both the long run and the short run, the batter and pitcher have an equal impact on the outcome.
One important advantage of the Diamond Mind Baseball approach is the ability to simulate extreme batting and pitching performances. Let's consider the example of a pitcher with extremely good control. Some board games (and their computer versions) cannot make these players perform as in real life because half the dice rolls go to the batter cards, and the pitcher is going to give up a bunch of walks on those dice rolls. For the same reason, hitters with extremely low strikeout rates are not accurately represented in some board games, because they'll strike out a bunch of times on the dice rolls that go to the pitcher cards.
Because Diamond Mind Baseball is based on a sophisticated pitch-by-pitch model and combines the batter and pitcher ratings on every play, these extreme performances can be simulated much more accurately. And the same is true of homeruns and other categories, not just walks and strikeouts.
Board games tend to have a simplified model of pitcher fatigue. A pitcher is at full strength for a while, then something happens, and he's suddenly dropped to a lower rate of performance for the rest of the game.
There are four ways in which this is not terribly realistic. First, it's not reasonable to think that a pitcher experiences a sudden and steep decline in his performance. People just don't work that way. Second, it's not reasonable to think that the pitcher could sustain the new, lower level of performance for the rest of the game, no matter how much more he pitches. Real pitchers tire gradually, and they continue to tire as long as they stay out there. Third, some games don't make a pitcher tire until he gives up a cluster of walks and hits after a certain point in the game. This means that a pitcher who's doing well might be able to pitch well beyond normal limits if he's fortunate enough to scatter the hits and walks enough. Finally, board games tend to focus only on how much a pitcher has worked in a single game. But in real life, fatigue is cumulative. A reliever may be able to face only one or two batters today because he pitched an inning or two in each of the last two games.
The Diamond Mind pitcher fatigue system is more realistic in five respects. The decline in performance is gradual. Second, the decline continues as long as the pitcher remains in the game. Third, all pitchers eventually get tired if they pitch too much. You won't see short relievers holding up for six or seven innings just because they have their good stuff today. Fourth, DMB tracks pitches thrown, which is a more accurate indicator of workload than innings or batters faced. And, finally, the DMB tracks pitching appearances over a five-day period and takes that information into account when determining how much someone can pitch in the current game.
There are many plays in baseball where a runner may or may not be able to take an extra base on a hit or a fly ball. All games give you the opportunity to decide whether to try for the extra base or hold the runner. And some games give the defense a chance to decide where to throw the ball. Or whether to hold onto it to avoid risking a throwing error.
It's worth looking at how a game decides whether the runner is safe or out when he tries to advance. In arcade games, this is determined mostly by the relative eye-hand coordination of the participants, not the ability of the real-life players who are involved in the play. Many board games have a simple baserunning model that takes into account the speed of the runner, the throwing rating of the outfielder, and whether or not there are two outs.
DMB takes one additional factor into account on baserunning plays -- where and how the ball is hit. If you watch any big-league park, you know instinctively that it's easier to advance from first to third on a single to right than on a single to left. Or that it's easier to advance on a grounder that is slowed by the grass than a sharply hit line drive that is fielded on one hop by the outfielder. Or that you can advance more easily if the fielder has to make a running catch going away from the base than on a ball hit right at the outfielder. The DMB play-by-play commentary describes the batted ball and the way it is fielded so you can make better decisions about whether to send the runner.
Diamond Mind, the company
Diamond Mind wants every customer to have a positive experience with our products. Of course, that's easy to say, and just about every company makes this claim. So we think you should know what this means to us.
Established track record
The first commercial version of Diamond Mind Baseball was published under the name Pursue the Pennant in 1987. We've published ten major upgrades to the game software, culminating with the just-released version 11. We have published every single season from 1926 to the present. We know that many people make a long-term commitment to a computer baseball game by joining leagues or conducting long-term replays, and we plan to be around to support those people.
Free technical support
If you own any Diamond Mind product, you can e-mail us and we will help you get the most out of our products. In our experience, there are very few software companies (and even fewer game companies) willing to do this without charging you for the privilege. But our customers paid good money for our product, and if they have a question, we think they're entitled to a timely answer.
New lower price
With the release of version 11, we've lowered the price of Diamond Mind Baseball substantially. We have many longstanding customers and we hope the new lower price will entice a new generation of gamers to join them.
Every new version of Diamond Mind Baseball includes the ability to use seasons you purchased with an earlier version of the game. This enables us to continue adding new features to the game, changing the file formats as necessary for best performance, without making your past investment obsolete. Once again, we don't think you should have to pay for the same thing twice.
Guidance via our web site
On our website and the Diamond Mind forum, you can find the latest company and product information, leagues that use the Diamond Mind game, baseball news and research, and answers to technical questions about the game.
How to Order
Diamond Mind products are available by download only through this website. We accept payment by Visa, Mastercard, American Express or PayPal.
- Tags: About The Game
- Jim Wheeler