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DMB News March 2007

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Welcome to the first edition of the Diamond Mind email newsletter for the year 2007. Through these newsletters, we will try to keep you up to date on the latest product and technical information about the Diamond Mind Baseball game, related player disks, and our ongoing baseball research efforts. Back issues are available on our web site,

We're Still Here! 

There has been a great amount of talk lately about Diamond Mind’s future. In case you missed it on the message boards, Tom Tippett addressed a number of your concerns last week. Following is a reprint of his initial post:

“Hi, everyone,

It's been quite a while since I've discussed what we've been working on, and I thought this would be a good time to jump in. I won't try to answer all of your questions with this one post, and I suspect you'll have some questions that I won't be able to answer at all, but I'll be on the forum for a couple of hours tonight and will do my best to answer as many questions as I can.

I've done a couple of chats since the Simnasium/DM deal took place last August, but I thought I'd do this as a forum thread this time so there'd be a permanent record for others who didn't participate in those chats and who don't happen to be here tonight.

Last August, I said that my goal was to get the 9b patch finished by the end of September, before we got buried by our busy season, which extends from early October to early April. Obviously, that didn't happen.

As I've said before, among the many reasons I thought the Simnasium/DM combination would be a win-win was the opportunity to hand off a lot of my management and administrative duties so I could focus a very high percentage of my time on product-related work.

The good news is that 95% of that transition is complete and I've been able to focus almost entirely on technical work for the past few weeks. Unfortunately, it took a lot more time to make that happen than I anticipated six months ago.

And you know what? I should have seen it coming and set my own expectations, and those of the DMB customers I was chatting with, at a more reasonable level.

Although each individual handoff went about as well as one could expect, the number of handoffs was large enough to chew up a lot of the time that I was planning to spend on the 9b patch and other improvements to the game. This should have been obvious to me, but for some reason it wasn't. I guess I'd been running the company for so long -- more than 19 years -- that I forgot how many things had to get done for everything to work.

As a result, we didn't get the 9b patch finished before the 2006 Season Disk took over as priority number one. As soon as the season disk was released, we got to work on two projects, the 9b patch and the 2007 Projection Disk.

I'm happy to report that the 2007 Projection Disk is almost done and will begin shipping on schedule (on March 9th). And I'm also happy to report that we're getting much closer to releasing the 9b patch.

I know that you expected the 9b patch to be done by now. So did I. But last month we chose to increase the scope of the 9b project in three ways. First, we decided to do some work on the computer manager that previously had been scheduled for version 10. Second, we discovered a couple of compatibility issues with the new Microsoft Vista operating system that we wanted to address in the 9b patch if at all possible. (Luke is making good progress on that front.)

Finally, Jack Wood has added a large amount of new text to the play-by-play library. His work was going to be one of the main features of version 10, but we decided to include everything he's done to date in the 9b patch instead. This is a major enhancement -- a 40-50% increase in the size of an already very large library -- that we will make available to version 9 owners at no charge.

Our near-term goals are very simple. Between now and the end of April, we want to get the 2007 Projection Disk out on time, get the 9b patch into field test, release the April update to the Projection Disk, and make the 9b patch available to all version 9 customers as soon as the field test has confirmed that it's ready.

We know there are other things you're interested in hearing about, but I'm going to stop at that for now. We need to deliver these things before we can move on the rest of our agenda, so that's our focus.

Before ending this initial post and waiting for your questions, I'd like to address one issue that has been raised by the Diamond Mind community over the past several months. The folks who run Simnasium have been accused of focusing all of their energy into the Total Baseball online game and ignoring the DMB product line.

As one of the people who is directly involved in these projects, I must disagree. Since early October, virtually all of my time has been spent on things that directly benefit the DMB community -- the 2006 Season Disk, the 2007 Projection Disk, and the bug fixes and enhancements that make up the 9b patch. We haven't done a very good job of communicating those facts in recent months, but that's the truth.


2007 Projection Database

The 2007 Projection Disk is scheduled to begin shipping tomorrow, March 9th. It will include more than 1600 players and will be released in both version 8 and version 9 formats. And, yes, it will include Daisuke Matsuzaka of the Boston Red Sox, already touted in the media as possible Rookie of the Year!

If you purchase the 2007 Projection Disk prior to March 31st, you will receive two editions of the disk: the March 9th edition and a free update in early April that reflects the opening day rosters and events from the remainder of spring training. Orders placed after March 31st will include only the April edition.

After the first disk is issued, we'll create a few new players if some long shots make the opening day rosters, and we'll update the rosters and manager profiles to reflect late player moves. But we don't plan to make any changes that would affect the performance of players included in the March edition.

Place your orders now – order online at, via phone (800-400-4803) or fax (503-531-4006) or print a copy of the order form from the website and mail to the address on the order form.

Q&A with Dayne Myers

We thought this would be a good forum to address some of the more common questions that Dayne has been asked lately as well:

What’s taking so long on the 9b patch?

As Tom described in his recent posts on the DMB Forum, it took a lot more time – especially Tom’s time – to hand off the business matters of Diamond Mind to Simnasium personnel than we anticipated. Once that was accomplished, Tom needed to work on the 2006 Season Disk to get that out on time. Since then, Tom has been working hard on the 2007 Projection Disk and, yes, the 9b patch. The 2007 Projection Disk is just about done and will ship on March 9th (yay!). The work on the 9b patch is continuing, mainly because we chose to increase the scope of that project to include improvements to the computer manager and the play-by-play commentary that were originally planned for version 10.

As many of you know, we've also encountered a couple of compatibility issues with Microsoft's recently-released Vista operating system. We'd like to be able to address those issues in the 9b patch if at all possible, so we're taking some time to diagnose those problems. Luke has determined some fixes needed and has started testing them.

OK, so when are we getting it?

We understand that you’ve been waiting for the 9b patch and are working to get it out as soon as possible. We have begun internal testing, and our hope is that we can begin field testing by the first week in April and then release it to customers shortly thereafter. The plan is to release the fixes and enhancements that are already in place as quickly as we can. If any additional work is needed after that, we'll release a 9c patch later in the year.

Since you’ve had to wait on the 9b patch, we’d like to show our appreciation for your patience by including the enhancements to the computer manager and the play-by-play library in the 9b patch. Those enhancements were originally planned for version 10, but we have decided to include all of that work in the 9b patch. This is a major enhancement -- a 40-50% increase in the size of an already very large library -- that version 9 owners will receive at no charge.

Is DMB taking a back seat to Simnasium’s Total Baseball?

I can understand why some may have that impression, but that’s not the case. For one thing, we’ve had some limitations due to the fact that no one other than Tom and Luke is capable of working on DMB code at this time. We’re trying to change that. We thought about recruiting a new programmer to work on DMB, but Luke is more familiar than anyone else and fully capable…who would be better? The limitation in the past is simply his time – he is needed on tech support. So, we’re looking to find some help for Luke on tech support. We’d like to find some people in the community willing to volunteer to do “light stuff” and some contractors to help on more difficult things. Luke will be posting job descriptions and leading that search.

You should also know that since the acquisition, practically all the work Tom has done on Simnasium’s game was also applicable for the 9b patch.

Then why does STB get frequent upgrades while we DMB customers wait and wait?

That’s a fair question, due to the frequency of upgrades at STB, but it’s really an apples vs. oranges sort of thing. Just about every STB upgrade over the past 6 months has been something that our web programmers can do on their own, such as web functionality or game adjustments, while DMB requires different programming skills and Tom’s expertise. In fact, most of the recent upgrades to the online game involved implementation of functionality that already exists in DMB but had not yet been implemented on STB.

Further, there are fewer compatibility issues with an internet application, and testing is much easier and faster. Some of that testing is also benefiting DMB. As a result, we can push upgrades and fixes more frequently on the web side. That’s true of software applications in general – web apps can be upgraded on a frequent basis, but PC apps require new versions. So, it’s normal for web upgrades to be smaller but more frequent, while PC software upgrades tend to be less frequent but much more substantial.

What is the situation regarding Vista?

We heard rumors early on about some of the Vista issues, so we made it a priority as soon as some of you reported problems. Since then, one of Luke’s primary tasks has been working on Vista to see what issues arise with DMB. As noted above, he has determined some fixes needed and will be starting the testing soon with the objective of including those in the 9b patch.

If you are having issues with Vista, please contact Luke ( describing the behavior. It would really help if you're able to capture a screen image to include. A way to do this is… while holding down the Alt key on your keyboard, press the Print Screen button. If you're unable to paste it into an email, you should be able to paste it into a Word document which you would attach to the email.

What happened to the DMB ad in Sports Weekly? Are you no longer marketing DMB?

Some have noticed that we did not run the usual DMB ad in Sports Weekly recently and have even speculated that this means we are not supporting Diamond Mind. To the contrary, we are exploring how to market DMB (as well as Total Baseball) more effectively. As part of that effort, we wanted to test the effectiveness of those ads, so we stopped them for a couple of months. If you check the most recent edition of Sports Weekly, you will see that we are now trying larger ads and some different ad copy . (And the ads are the same size as the Simnasium ads, so there’s no “backseat” there!) We are also placing additional ads in the Sports Weekly special edition for fantasy baseball and have done some articles with The net result is, we hope, better marketing for DMB.

What’s in store for the future? When will we see version 10?

Our immediate goals are to release the 2007 Projection Disk, the 9b patch, and the April update to the Projection Disk. After that, we'll get back to work on version 10.

We also want to increase our capacity to develop new features for DMB at a faster pace. One way to do that is to add to our technical support staff so Luke has a lot more time to work with Tom on product development, as mentioned above. If you would be interested in volunteering to help out on simpler issues or a contractor job for technical support, please review the qualifications that Luke will be posting and, if you qualify, send your resume to Luke at

Why have we not heard more from you?

Well, that’s a good question. First, I never saw the communication as lacking, I guess. It’s only been a few months since we did the chat, and Luke’s here daily and keeps me informed of what’s going on. There were also some strong emotions and concerns surrounding the acquisition, so we thought it might be better to let things settle down a little bit and deliver. So, we were determined to make sure the season and projections disks shipped on schedule and to get the 9b patch out as soon as possible. Since you’ve had to wait so long for the 9b patch, it will include play-by-play upgrades free of charge that were intended for version 10, as described above. We didn’t want to announce a schedule until we could feel confident as to when we could get that done.

Also, I sort of felt like I’d be intruding on Tom and Luke’s space. You all have built up a relationship with them over the years, and I felt like an outsider. None of that is an excuse, and I now realize we should have been more communicative here and will be from now on.

I’m looking forward to building a strong relationship with you in my own right!

DMB News October 2006

Diamond Mind Email Newsletter

October 31 , 2006

Welcome to the fifth edition of the Diamond Mind email newsletter for the year 2006. Through these newsletters, we will try to keep you up to date on the latest product and technical information about the Diamond Mind Baseball game, related player disks, and our ongoing baseball research efforts. Back issues are available on our web site,

Topics for this issue:

October Mailing
2006 Season Disk
Upgraded Products for 2006
Simnasium Offers for Diamond Mind Owners
2007 Bill James Handbook
DMB in the Media by Tom Tippett
Tech Tips from Luke Kraemer
To Bunt or Not to Bunt by Tom Tippett

October Mailing

Although a majority of our customers now order their Diamond Mind products through our web store, a good number prefer to order by mail.

So we've begun sending our annual October mailing to registered owners of Diamond Mind Baseball. That mailing includes an updated order form that includes the 2006 Season Disk and the 2007 Bill James Handbook.

To order by mail without waiting for your letter, you can print an order form via the "How to Order" page of our web site.

2006 Season Disk

Work is underway on the 2006 Season Disk, which will begin shipping around December 14th, and we are now taking advance orders.

As usual, you'll receive a ton of information with this season disk, including everything you need to start playing games immediately upon installation:

- full rosters with every player who appeared in the big leagues

- official batting, pitching and fielding statistics, including left/right splits for all batters and pitchers and modern statistics such as inherited runners, holds, blown saves, pickoffs, stolen bases versus pitchers and catchers, and in-play batting averages

- games started by position versus left- and right-handed pitchers

- updated park factors

- a full set of real-life transactions and game-by-game lineups for season replays

- two schedules, the original (as-scheduled) schedule and another (as-played) reflecting rainouts and other rescheduled games.

- real-life salaries for all players

- complete manager profiles for all teams

You can place a credit card order now through our web store (follow the link from or by calling us at 800-400-4803 during business hours (9-5 Pacific time, Mon-Fri). The 2006 Season Disk is priced at $29.95.

Upgraded Products for 2006

We know that, at this time of year, many customers are putting together their Holiday Wish Lists. To help with that, here are the products we upgraded this year:

In August, we released a major upgraded, version of one of our most popular products – the All-Time Greatest Players disk. We've added more than 630 new players, bringing the total to 1760. In the original 2003 edition, we didn't include anyone whose career fell mostly before 1894, but the 2006 edition includes stars from the 1870s, 1880s, and 1890s.

We've also updated the stats and ratings for players who were active from 2003 to 2005 and relaxed the thresholds for earning a rating at a defensive position, so you'll see some existing players with an extra position or two.

The larger player pool allowed us to expand the number of teams from 32 to 48. We were able to create standalone teams for Toronto, Montreal, Atlanta, Milwaukee, Minnesota, Los Angeles (A), Baltimore, Oakland, and San Francisco.

Because of the new players and teams, we developed new manager profiles for every team, added ratings for 16 historical parks (all of which have images available for free download from our web site), updated the ratings for modern parks to reflect the 2003-2005 seasons, organized the teams into two leagues with four divisions, and created two new league schedules.

Even though this version is bigger and better than the 2003 edition, we're holding the price for new customers at $29.95. Registered owners of the 2003 edition can upgrade to the 2006 edition for $17.95.

Upgraded Classic Seasons – In 2006, we added real-life transactions and game-by-game lineups to three more Classic Seasons: 1954, 1961 and 1973. This brings the total number of upgraded Classic Seasons to twelve – 1934, 1946, 1954, 1955, 1961, 1965, 1966, 1973, 1974, 1975, 1976 and 1977. These seasons are priced at $19.95 each.

Simnasium Offers for Diamond Mind Owners

Many of our registered Diamond Mind owners have already taken advantage of the offer of a free team credit to try Simnasium’s Total Baseball. Total Baseball uses Diamond Mind technology and allows you to scout and choose from among thousands of players from baseball's glorious past, then test your ability to draft and manage a team of historical players through 162 games, competing against 11 other team owners in the race to the pennant.

Now is a great time to add an online baseball experience to your baseball simulation play (obsession may be closer to the truth for some of you). It’s easy to try Simnasium – if you have not played Total Baseball before, get a free team credit by sending an email to with the subject line “DMB free team offer” and your name in the body of the message. Once you have registered on the Simnasium site ( and created a user-id, you will receive the free team credit.

For those of you who have received your free team and want to build a baseball empire, you can claim a 2 nd team credit with the purchase of one team. Send an email to or with the subject line “DMB 2-for-1 offer” after you have purchased a team from Simnasium. One team is only $19.95.

Interested in setting up a custom league and testing your managing abilities against your friends’ abilities? As a registered owner of Simnasium, you can earn free team credits for yourself and your friends with our referral discount. When you refer a friend to Simnasium, he or she will receive a free team credit to try the game. When your friend purchases a team, you will receive a free team credit.

2007 Bill James Handbook

Since 1990, the annual Bill James Handbooks have formed the backbone of our baseball library. For a complete, well-organized reference that includes every active player, you won't find a better book.

You can order the paperback edition from Diamond Mind for only $19.95, two dollars off the cover price. The spiral-bound edition, which lies flat on your desk, is $24.95. We are taking advance orders now and both editions will begin shipping the week of November 6th.

Among the many great features of the Bill James Handbook are:

- career registers for every active player, including minor-league stats for players with little big-league experience

- complete fielding statistics for every player

- expanded pitcher stats include hitting, fielding, and holding runners

- park factors and rankings

- left/right splits for all batters and pitchers

- conventional and sabermetric leader boards

- team standings, augmented by many team performance splits

- team rankings for batting, pitching and fielding

NOTE: Because of the added weight, first-class and air mail shipping rates are not available for orders including this book. Priority Mail and Overnight shipping rates are available.

DMB in the Media by Tom Tippett

In recent weeks, we were asked by two major media entities to simulate portions of the 2006 postseason before they happened.

The first request came from Jonah Keri, a contributor to and the YES Network web site, who was writing a story about the Yankees postseason chances for the YES Network.

At the time we were contacted, Detroit had the lead and the tie-breaker going into the final weekend, so we expected the pairings to be Minnesota-New York and Oakland-Detroit. Instead, that final weekend saw Minnesota rally to win the division when Detroit was swept by the lowly Royals.

So it was that Minnesota hosted Oakland and Detroit went on the road to New York in the division series. Our simulation results made the two home teams the clear favorites, but as we know now, the underdogs came out victorious in both encounters. In fact, the favorites won only one game between them.

This is one of the reasons I always have mixed feelings when we're asked to predict a playoff series. On the one hand, it's very satisfying when a major television network, web site or newspaper comes to us. That means we've achieved a certain level of competence and trust over the years.

On the other hand, anything can happen in a short series.

Let's suppose that we were given an opportunity to talk to the baseball gods, just for a moment, and the gods told us that team A had a 70% chance to beat team B in a seven-game series. Further, let's suppose that those gods oversee a world where the outcomes are not predetermined. In other words, the gods possess the perfect knowledge that the series has a 70% chance to go in favor of team A, but they don't possess the power to make it come out that way.

There's still a 30% chance that the weaker team will win the series. Three times out of ten, it will be team B that is coating their locker room with champagne spray a week later.

Of course, we're not gods, so the best we can do is rate the players accurately, simulate a series many times, and develop an informed estimate of the true winning probability for each team. And while we believe we know enough about baseball to come up with an estimate that is very close to the real thing, we'll never know for sure.

When the real-life series is played, it is played only once, so we never get to find out whether that one outcome is representative of what would happen if these teams contested the series a thousand times. And because this is the only real outcome that people can see, some will conclude that it was the "right" outcome and anyone who predicted anything else is an idiot.

Despite these mixed feelings, we quickly said yes when Allen St. John of the Wall Street Journal called three weeks ago to ask us to simulate the World Series. In addition to simulating the four potential matchups, he and his editors asked us to run several what-if scenarios involving talented players who in real life are unavailable due to injury. During this project, I spoke with Allen many times and found him to be very knowledgable about sabermetric matters.

Allen's story appeared in the By the Numbers column in the Weekend section on Friday, October 20, and it said lots of positive things about Diamond Mind Baseball and the methods we use to simulate games.

Unfortunately, Allen, or his editors, chose to lead with this paragraph:

"With the World Series set to begin in Detroit tomorrow evening, Tom Tippett knows something important. He knows who's going to win."

I was absolutely stunned when I read that. Anyone who knows me knows that I would never make such a claim. And anyone who listened to my phone conversations with Allen or read the emails we exchanged would know that it's the polar opposite of what I had been telling him. Over and over, I pointed out that the most interesting aspect of playoff simulations is the frequency with which the weaker team wins, and I sent him links to two articles I'd written on the subject.

At one point, Allen called me to get a quote for the article. It was clear from the way he posed the question that he was setting me up to make a very strong claim in favor of the Tigers. When I told him that I felt like he was trying to put words in my mouth, he backed off a little, and I again talked about the chances for the underdog to pull off an upset.

In the end, Allen couldn't resist the temptation to sacrifice truth for a strong lead paragraph, so he made me appear to be a know-it-all who doesn't have a grasp of the underlying probabilities. That's so far from the truth that it would be laughable if not for the fact that lots of people who don't know me will read this article and think I actually said that.

As I write this, the Tigers are trailing the Cardinals two games to one. Maybe they'll rally, maybe they won't. But if the Cardinals win it all, I won't be stunned. Even though we believe the Tigers are the superior team, St. Louis was able to take them in a seven-game series in 30% of our simulations. That's the real story here.

Tech Tips from Luke Kraemer

If you are an Internet league commissioner and just finishing your season using the 2005 player ratings, consider using the Migrate command (File menu) when you're ready to set up your league using the 2006 ratings. First you'll need to install the 2006 season disk using a meaningful league folder name. For example, if last year's league folder was named ABC2005, you might name the new one ABC2006. After the 2006 season is installed, go to the File menu and choose Migrate. Set the Source database to ABC2005 and the Target database to ABC2006. The ABC2006 database will then have the same league(s), teams, rosters, etc. as the 2005 one. Players not used in your 2005 database and new ones added to 2006 will be in the free agent pool.

Flash Drives: Gamers regularly ask what's the best way to play a season on two systems, typically a desktop at home and a laptop when on the road. In the past I'd recommend emailing backup files between the two systems or burning CDs. Both techniques work but they have their drawbacks. I have a new, preferred recommendation using a Flash Drive, also known as a Thumb Drive or Memory Stick. These drives are the size of a Bic lighter and can hold an incredible amount of data. The smallest I've seen holds 256MB of data, room for lots of DMB seasons. The lowest price I've seen for this capacity is only $10. I just saw a 2GB one in the paper for only $25 and a 4 GB one for $45! You can get Flash Drives with lots more space but they can run in the hundreds of dollars. A Flash Drive plugs into a system's USB port(s) which is typically on the front panel of your PC under the standard drive bays. Laptops could have their USB port(s) on the sides or the back. I believe all systems sold today come with at least one USB port. This is the same port you'd use for uploading pictures from a digital camera.

Typically after you plug in one of these drives, Windows will pop up a message and announce that a new drive has been detected. After a few seconds, ‘My Computer’ pops up showing the contents of the drive. You'll also be able to see what drive letter Windows has assigned to it. My system already has A:, C:, D:, and E: drives so my Flash Drive is assigned as an F:. You don't actually need ‘My Computer’ at this point so go ahead and close it.

Start up DMB. Go to the File menu and choose "Install season disk". Select a season to install such as AGT2. After you accept the license agreement, DMB will ask for a location for the database and a name. The location will default to "C:\dmb9".

To install the season on the Flash Drive, change the location to its drive designation, in my case, "F:" (without the quotes). You can stick with the default database name, in my case AGT2, or you can give it a different one. Click on OK and the season will load onto the Flash Drive. You can now play that season just like you would one on your hard drive.

To play this season on another system, either shut down DMB or switch to a different season database on your hard drive. It's now safe to remove the Flash Drive. Plug the Flash Drive into the USB port on the other system. Windows will announce there is a new drive, just like the first system, and ‘My Computer’ will pop up. You should see the season folder you just installed on the drive from the first system. While still in ‘My Computer’, note the drive letter designation assigned to the Flash Drive. Close ‘My Computer’ and start DMB. Since the season wasn't loaded on this system, you'll need to let DMB know where it is. Go to the File menu and choose "Add reference to existing database". Set "Drives" to the letter designation assigned to the Flash Drive. The contents of the drive will be displayed in the "Folders:" window. Double-click on the season folder to open it and then click on OK. After a few seconds, DMB will report that the database is added and is now the active one.

You can now play games with the season on the Flash Drive. Like the first system, when you want to remove the Flash Drive, first change DMB's active database or shut it down before you remove the drive. Plug the drive back into the first system. Make the season database on the Flash Drive the active one and the results of all the games played on the second system are there. After you initially install the season on one system and issue the Add Reference on the other one, all you'll have to do from that point on is plug in the drive and issue a "Change active database" command to play that season. If you want to autoplay a large block of games while automatically saving boxscores and game-by-game statistics, the games will run rather slowly compared to a season on a hard drive but should be acceptable.

If you'd prefer to play all the games for a season on a hard drive yet still be able to move it from system to system, install the season on the hard drives of both systems like you would normally. When you're ready to move the season to your other system, shut down DMB. Plug in the Flash Drive. After ‘My Computer’ pops up, navigate to your hard drive. Open the DMB9 folder. Copy the season folder and Paste it to the Flash Drive. After the copy is complete, close ‘My Computer’ and unplug the drive. Plug the drive in the other system. When ‘My Computer’ pops up, Copy the season folder and Paste it to the DMB9 folder on that system's hard drive. You'll be warned that the folder already exists and asked if you want to replace it. Choose "Yes to all" and after the copy is complete, the season will be identical to the one on the other system.

This technique has the advantage of faster autoplayed seasons plus, the Flash Drive and the other system will serve as backups. If you use the technique of playing all your games on the Flash Drive, you won't have to copy season folders back and forth to your hard drives. You should, none the less, make periodic backups of the season database folder on the Flash Drive in case you lose it or it goes bad. Even if you don't want to use the Flash Drive for use on multiple systems, it's great to use for season backups.

To Bunt or Not to Bunt by Tom Tippett

Last week, the Mets were two runs down entering the ninth inning of game seven of the NLCS, and the Cardinals put the game and the series in the hands of their young closer, Adam Wainwright.

Wainwright, a rookie, was a starting pitcher in the minors but had spent the entire season in the Cardinals bullpen, pitching mostly in the middle innings before taking over as the closer when Jason Isringhausen was lost to injury.

Looking a little shaky, Wainwright started the biggest inning of his life by giving up a pair of singles to the Mets #7 and #8 hitters, Jose Valentin and Endy Chavez, putting runners at first and second with nobody out.

Generally speaking, first-and-second with nobody out is the best bunt situation in the game. On average, it's worth the risk of a failed bunt to try to get two runners in scoring position with one out. When the pitcher is due to bat, as was the case in this game, bunting the runners over is a no-brainer. Or is it?

Faced with this decision, New York manager Willie Randolph went in a different direction, summoning Cliff Floyd to pinch hit for Aaron Heilman. Floyd struck out, the rally fizzled, the Cardinals went to the World Series, the Mets headed home, and Randolph was the target of a great deal of criticism for eschewing the bunt.

Few things in baseball produce more discussion than the bunt. Traditional baseball people, including legions of fans, are strong proponents of bunting in these "obvious" bunt situations. Meanwhile, much of the sabermetric community decries the bunt as a complete waste of a plate appearance in all but a few limited circumstances.

But this case provides an excellent opportunity to take a closer look.

The traditional method of evaluating this bunt versus swing away decision is to consult the run probability tables. By studying tens of thousands of innings from real-life games, one can determine the average number of runs scored and the probability of scoring at least N runs in any game situation.

That's how we concluded that the most attractive bunt situation is first-and-second with nobody out. The average number of runs and the probabilities of scoring one or two runs are improved by a successful sacrifice.

But those run probability tables are based on the average of a large number of innings, so they represent the most likely outcome when you have an average series of hitters facing an average pitcher in an average ballpark during an average era. Randolph wasn't dealing with an average situation. He was confronted with one very specific situation. Can we really use the long-term averages to help us make this decision?

No, we can't. We have to look at the skills of the bunter and the pinch hitter, the skills of the pitcher, and the effect of the ballpark and the era in which the game was played.

We're playing in a relatively high-offense era, which reduces the value of the bunt and raises the value of swinging away. But Shea Stadium is a good park for pitchers, so that tends to offset the era effect.

How about the skill of the bunter? Suppose Heilman had gone to the plate to lay down the sacrifice. In six professional seasons, Heilman has batted a grand total of 107 times, roughly half in the minors and half in the majors. He has been credited with 12 sacrifice bunts, 5 at the big-league level.

Those 5 successful sacrifices came in 10 tries. Four times, he fouled off one or more bunt attempts before the plate appearance was resolved on something other than a bunt. Six times, he got the ball in play, and five of those six moved the runner(s). His rates for getting the ball in play and advancing the runners are slightly below the league average, but it's fair to say that he's been an average bunter. Ten attempts are not enough to prove otherwise when his rates are fairly close to the norm.

More interesting is the fact that Heilman had not batted once in the 2006 season, and I can't imagine that Randolph would have asked Heilman to do something so crucial for the first time in more than year.

But let's not give up on the bunt option without considering the possibility of using another player to lay down the bunt. One obvious candidate would be Tom Glavine. He's been a very good to excellent bunter throughout his career, he's had plenty of practice, and he could be used without burning a position player.

Oddly enough, Glavine had failed (bunting into a force out) in his only previous bunt attempt in this series. Still, had Glavine been called upon, I believe he would have had a very good chance to succeed this time.

The chosen pinch hitter was Cliff Floyd. On paper, he was a very good choice, mainly because of how he matched up with Wainwright. In his brief big-league career, Wainwright has dominated right-handed batters (.185 average, .523 OPS) but has been hit hard by lefties (.301 average, .845 OPS). Floyd is a lefty who has hit righties very well. Overall, I'd say this matchup is very favorable to the swing-away case.

So far, we've identified the major factors in the decision, indicated that the bunt would be called for if all of those factors were deemed to be near the long-term averages, and identified which factors favor the bunt and which favor swinging away. But we haven't tried to quantify the impact of each of these factors.

Fortunately, we have a tool that enables us to do exactly that. I call it our lineup-dependent expected runs calculator. With this tool, we can create a specific game situation -- a certain batting lineup against a certain pitcher in a certain park in a certain era with a certain set of baserunners and a certain number of outs -- and calculate the average number of runs that can be expected to score in that inning along with the probabilities of scoring at least one or two runs.

This tool allows us to find out when a specific situation differs enough from the long-term averages to point to a different conclusion. In this case, it supports Randolph's decision to use Floyd as a pinch hitter.

If we assume the bunt was attempted and was successful, Jose Reyes would have stepped to the plate with runners on second and third and one out. From that point, the Mets would have a 43% chance to score at least two runs in the inning, which is what they needed to prolong the game.

If the bunt was attempted but was not successful, Reyes would have seen runners at first and second with one out. Getting no runner advancement in return for that out would have reduced the two-run probability to 31%.

With Floyd swinging away against Wainwright, the two-run probability rises to 49%, which is even better than the successful bunt scenario. In other words, even if the bunt was guaranteed to succeed, it would still be better to swing away. Furthermore, swinging away rather than giving up an out makes it more likely that you'll get the third run that wins the game right here, right now.

What we don't know, of course, is whether Floyd was capable of performing at his normal level. Because of a foot injury, he had been in and out of the lineup, mostly out, and may have been a shell of his former self.

At the same time, we don't know whether Wainwright was capable of performing at his normal level. He was a rookie in a huge situation who had just let two of the enemy's weaker hitters to reach base. Maybe nerves would get the better of him. If I'm Randolph, I don't want to give the kid an easy out.

And we don't know whether nerves or the wet weather would have caused the defense to botch the bunt and leave the bases full with nobody out. That would have pushed the two-run probability to 66%.

While those uncertainties mean that we cannot know for sure, I believe Randolph made the right choice, and I'm glad to have this opportunity to give him a little support at a time when many others are being critical.

My other goal with this little bit of analysis was to point out how complicated these decisions can be. Randolph had very little time to make the call and a lot of factors to consider.

Just because it didn't work out this time, it doesn't mean he made a bad decision. I would criticize his move only if it turned out that he had good reason to believe that Floyd's injury had sapped much of his hitting ability, and since I wasn't there and didn't have access to the people involved, I can't say anything about that.

DMB News August 2006

Diamond Mind Email Newsletter

August 17 , 2006
Written by Tom Tippett

Welcome to the fourth edition of the Diamond Mind email newsletter for the year 2006. Through these newsletters, we will try to keep you up to date on the latest product and technical information about the Diamond Mind Baseball game, related player disks, and our ongoing baseball research efforts. Back issues are available on our web site,

Topics for this issue:

Bigger and better
A message from Simnasium CEO Dayne Myers
All-time Greatest Players Disk now shipping
Diamond Mind in the media
Who's the Senior Circuit now?
In the pipeline

Bigger and better

I'm very happy to report that we have taken an important step to put ourselves in position to develop new features and products that were beyond our reach not too long ago.

A few weeks ago, we accepted an offer to merge Diamond Mind into Simnasium, the company that recently launched an exciting new online game around our simulation engine and our methods for rating players. The merger process was completed earlier this week, and Diamond Mind is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Simnasium.

What does this mean for the future?

In most respects, your experience with Diamond Mind won't change a bit. I will continue to be deeply involved in product development, player ratings and the other work I've always done. All of the Diamond Mind people (Luke Kraemer, Pat Morgan, and Jim Wheeler) are still here and every bit as committed to the Diamond Mind community as they've always been. As a team, we will continue to support and improve the game, we will continue to release new season disks, and we will continue to do the kind of baseball research that has set us apart from other game companies over the years.

In fact, if we had decided to keep this news to ourselves, there's a very good chance that nobody would notice that anything had changed. Our 800 number isn't changing. Pat will still answer the phone when you call. Luke and Jim will still answer your technical questions via email and the DMB forum. Our web site isn't going anywhere. Our 2006 Season Disk will be released at the usual time. And so on.

But we don't want to keep this to ourselves because we believe it is very good news for anyone who wants to see Diamond Mind's products reach their full potential.

In the past few years, as I've thought about where Diamond Mind needs to go and as I've watched various technologies evolve, I've come to realize that we couldn't get there from here by ourselves. We needed a new approach that allowed us to preserve all that's good about Diamond Mind while opening the doors to new opportunities.

With the addition of Simnasium's resources and people to Diamond Mind's existing capabilities, I believe we can enrich the gaming experience in new ways and do so more quickly than we could on our own.

Simnasium is based in Silicon Valley, which means they have ready access to people and companies that have mastered new technologies and platforms that we would be learning from scratch. And they have the financial and management resources to tackle projects that would be too large or too risky for a small company like ours.

As a result of this pooling of resources, the time I've been spending on the mundane administrative tasks that come with owning a business will be freed up for research and technical work.

I've been working with Dayne Myers, Simnasium's founder and CEO, for more than a year, and it was clear from the first time we talked that he had the same passion for baseball and the same commitment to customer service that have been cornerstones of Diamond Mind's approach from the beginning. As a result, I feel very comfortable teaming up with Dayne and his staff as we go forward.

As we make this transition, I've been reflecting on the major milestones in our history. The first commercial version of our game went on the market in 1987. In 1992, I quit my day job and started doing baseball work full time. In 1995, we ended our marketing relationship with Pursue the Pennant and started Diamond Mind. We added pitch-by-pitch in 1997, made the move to Windows in 2000, and added NetPlay in 2004.

Each of those milestones ushered in a new era for our game and the community of gamers who enjoy it. In the years ahead, I believe we'll look back on 2006 as the year of another important and successful transition, one that enabled us to leverage our skills with the resources of a passionate and compatible partner.

If you have questions, feel free to email us or post them on the Diamond Mind forum. We may not be able to answer all of them, but we'll do our best to respond to any concerns you may have and to share our thoughts about the future.

A message from Simnasium CEO Dayne Myers


I want to take this opportunity to introduce Simnasium and myself to each of you and talk a bit about why we did this and where we're going. Some of you are already playing our Total Baseball game, which is powered by Diamond Mind.

As a long-time player of Diamond Mind and related online games, I can't overstate how much I love playing this game, a feeling shared by the rest of the Simnasium team.

Last year, as Tom and I began discussing my vision for Simnasium and what we'd like to do with Diamond Mind, my appreciation for the greatness of the game grew even more. Since then, the partnership between the two companies worked so well that it became apparent that we could do even more for both the Diamond Mind Baseball game and Simnasium Total Baseball by forging a closer relationship.

Among other things, by freeing Tom Tippett from managing the business side of things, we'd be able to turn him loose on enhancements to the game. After all, what's a better use of Tom's time -- accounting and marketing, or creating new features, versions, and player ratings for Diamond Mind, and thus by extension for Total Baseball?

For those of you who might be concerned about the future of Diamond Mind's PC-based game, I can tell you that the PC game is an essential part of our business. It powers Simnasium's current game and future versions that are already in development.

As a subsidiary of Simnasium, Diamond Mind will continue to produce, support and market the Diamond Mind Baseball game and related season disks. In many ways, the PC and online games are inseparable, and improvements will be added to both going forward. We can't guarantee that every enhancement will be added to every product, because some things make more sense in one environment or the other, but both product lines will benefit in their own ways.

The new All-time Greatest Players disk is the first example of the benefits of the Simnasium-Diamond Mind partnership. Although most of the player ratings work was done by Diamond Mind, Simnasium's online game provided the impetus to add a much larger number of players than we had originally planned, and their baseball staff made important contributions to the ratings process.

As an illustration about how passionate we are about Diamond Mind, I'd like to relate a story. (I'll avoid getting into details about how many hours we've spent playing –- that's embarrassing!)

When we were incorporating Diamond Mind's play-by-play commentary into Simnasium Total Baseball, I was "watching" a game. I had Don Drysdale working on a 2-0 shutout in a duel with Tom Seaver. Don got himself into a jam, runners on the corners with no out. He had just about worked his way out of it with a pop up and a strikeout and Seaver coming up to bat. "Whew!", I thought, "we're going to get out of this." Then came ...

The 1-1 pitch
Seaver hits a drive
deep to left
Goslin is at the wall
he looks up
it's GONE!
Seaver with a 3-run homer
His 3rd home run of the year!

"NO WAY!!!" I screamed and jumped out of my chair. That's crazy! I was about to call Tom and complain, but I calmed down and looked up Seaver's real-life stats. When I saw that he hit 12 dingers in his career and twice hit 3 homers in a season, I sat back in my chair and thought, "Those Diamond Mind guys sure know their stuff. Man, I love this game!"

That's the way we all are here at Simnasium ... life-long baseball nuts who love Diamond Mind and baseball in general. We want to see the game grow and improve, and we think joining forces is the best way to do that for both the PC and online versions.

Your input will always be welcome –- as Simnasium's customers can attest, we share Diamond Mind's belief that customer feedback matters and that you are our best source of ideas and improvements. We look forward to continuing that tradition. This is not just a business to us, it's a labor of love.

All-time Greatest Players Disk now shipping

Three weeks ago, we began shipping the 2006 edition of the All-time Greatest Players Disk. The first edition, which was released in 2003, was one of our most popular products ever, and one of the most fun for us to work on. This one is even better in many ways.

We've added more than 630 new players, bringing the total to 1760. Last time around, we didn't include anyone whose career fell mostly before 1894, but the 2006 edition includes stars from the 1870s, 1880s, and 1890s.

We've also updated the stats and ratings for players who were active from 2003 to 2005 and relaxed the thresholds for earning a rating at a defensive position, so you'll see some existing players with an extra position or two.

The larger player pool allowed us to expand the number of teams from 32 to 48. But even more important than the number of teams is the identity of those teams.

In 2003, we were forced to combine certain franchises that did not have enough players to make an entire team. This time, we were able to create standalone teams for Toronto, Montreal, Atlanta, Milwaukee, Minnesota, Los Angeles (A), Baltimore, Oakland, and San Francisco.

Because of the new players and teams, we developed new manager profiles for every team, added ratings for 16 historical parks (all of which have images available for free download from our web site), updated the ratings for modern parks to reflect the 2003-2005 seasons, organized the teams into two leagues with four divisions, and created two new league schedules.

Even though this version is bigger and better than the 2003 edition, we're holding the price for new customers at $29.95. Registered owners of the 2003 edition can upgrade to the 2006 edition for $17.95.

We've had a longstanding policy of offering free upgrades to people who buy a product in the six months before a related upgrade is released, so anyone who bought the 2003 edition from us after January 1, 2006, can contact us to request a free upgrade.

NOTE: If you've already purchased your copy of the 2006 edition of the AGP disk, please visit our web site to download a patch that corrects a small number of error and passed ball ratings that were incorrectly set. We have corrected our master copy of this product, so new customers will receive the corrected version.

Diamond Mind in the media

During the all-star break, published an article by Rob Neyer that put forward an all-time all-star team for each league along with Rob's reasons for choosing those players. ESPN asked us to simulate an all-star game between those two teams, using Rob's selections as the starters and filling out the benches and bullpens with his honorable mentions. That simulated all-star game was featured on on Monday, July 10th.

On July 20th, the New England Sports Network (NESN) aired a show called "What IF..." that was based around a Diamond Mind simulation of game seven of the 2003 series between New York and Boston. You might recall that as the game in which Boston manager Grady Little chose to leave a tiring Pedro Martinez on the mound to protect a two-run lead in the bottom of the eighth inning.

In real-life, of course, New York rallied to tie the game before Aaron Boone won it in extra innings. Our task was to determine the most likely outcome in the event that Little had instead summoned Alan Embree from the bullpen to face Hideki Matsui.

NESN took our simulation results and crafted a highly-realistic game telecast using footage of other games between these two teams, commentary from the regular Red Sox announcers (Don Orsillo and Jerry Remy), new on-screen graphics, and a postgame show.

Over the years, we've done a bunch of simulation projects for major newspapers, magazines, web sites, and even a little television, but this was by far the most extensive involvement we've ever had in a television production. If you're interested, you can read more about it in an article on our web site called "Revisiting Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS".

Finally, in Dan Shaughnessy's August 10th Boston Globe column, he wrote about a visit to the home of John Henry, the principal owner of the Red Sox. Here's an excerpt in which Shaughnessy describes Mr. Henry's involvement with our game:

"He tells me of his passion for Diamond Mind Baseball. It's a computer game enabling him to recreate entire seasons using precise mathematical probabilities based on real data. The game allows him to make wild substitutions. True fantasy. He can put Babe Ruth on the 1929 Red Sox and see what would have happened. He can put Willie Mays and Jackie Robinson on the Red Sox of the 1950s and see how that would have worked out. John plays entire seasons on Diamond Mind. He started with 1927 and is working his way forward."

Who's the Senior Circuit now?

At it happened, I grew up as a fan of the American League during the time when the National League was dominating the All-Star games and was generally regarded as the stronger league.

It wasn't until later that I heard the terms Senior Circuit and Junior Circuit used in reference to the NL and AL, respectively. The Senior-Junior thing makes perfect sense given that the NL is 25 years older than its counterpart. But the terms also seemed to imply a certain superiority, not just seniority, for the NLers.

Two or three winters ago, we noticed that a significant amount of talent was shifting from the NL to the AL via trades and free agency. (I seem to recall writing about that, but I can't find it just now.) The next year, the talent flow seemed more balanced, but last winter saw another influx of talent to the AL.

During the work on the 2006 projections, we began to understand that the AL was becoming a noticeably stronger league than the NL, but we weren't yet at the point of being able to quantify that in any meaningful way.

That changed when a Diamond Mind customer asked us for advice with a little what-if scenario he wanted to run. He was wondering how the Cardinals would do in the AL Central and how the Royals would do in the NL Central if they changed places.

In addition to telling him how to set up that scenario using our 2006 Projection Disk, we decided to run some experiments of our own, and boy were we surprised!

We started by simulating the season 10 times with the customer's scenario, and lo and behold, the Cardinals struggled to an 83-79 record and a third-place finish in the AL Central. This was compared to a 95-67 record in our pre-season simulations using the real schedule. Meanwhile, a very bad KC team rose from a 62-100 record in the AL to a more respectable 74-88 in the NL.

Could the leagues really be that much different?

To learn more, we repeated the experiment with the other two divisions. When we swapped Boston with Philadelphia, the Red Sox ran away with the NL East while the Phillies struggled to stay ahead of Baltimore. When we had the Los Angeles teams trade places, the Angels won the NL West and the Dodgers finished last in the AL West.

The three experiments produced a swing of ten to twelve games in favor of the AL team that was moving to the other league. Ten games is a very big deal, so we immediately began to wonder whether that was a credible result.

This doesn't help us quantify things, but it's worth noting that the AL has dominated the two most talked about forms of inter-league play in the last decade, winning all but one all-star game (with one tie) and seven of the last ten World Series titles, including back-to-back sweeps in 2004 and 2005.

Of greater interest is the recent history of regular-season inter-league play. In 2004, the American League was 2 games over .500 against the NL. In 2005, it was 20 games over .500 against the NL. And in our 2006 simulations, that figure grew to 26 games. In other words, the clues were there, we just didn't pick up on them.

What does it mean for the AL to be 26 games over .500 against the NL? Instead of posting an aggregate record of 126-126 in those contests, the AL would be 139-113. Each AL team would go from an expectation of 9 wins to an expectation of 9.93 wins in those 18 games.

At the time, a gain of .93 wins didn't seem like a big deal. But when you stop to think about it, it really is.

An AL team plays 144 games within the league and 18 games against the NL. Put that team into the NL and it would now play 144 games against NL teams and 18 against the AL. It would get 8 times as many chances to play NL teams, so that gain of .93 wins per 18 games would grow to 7.4 wins in 144 games. And they'd be facing the stronger AL teams less often.

All of a sudden, a ten-game swing seems plausible, and the numbers were right in front of our eyes from the moment we finished our 2006 pre-season simulations. We just didn't notice until someone else came up with the idea to move St. Louis into the AL.

At the time we ran those experiments, the 2006 inter-league schedule had yet to be played. A few months later, when the AL was dominating the NL en route to a 154-98 inter-league record, the media was all over the story. Now everybody's saying that all of the best teams are in the AL.

If the season ended today, the Twins and Red Sox would be out of the playoffs despite being on pace to win about 94 games, while the Reds would be in the playoffs with a record that projects to 84-78. That's partly a function of parity in the NL, but it also reflects the fact that a bunch of wins migrated from the NL to the AL during inter-league play.

The actual 2006 inter-league results suggest an even larger difference between the leagues than our simulation results. That could be real or it could be a small-sample exaggeration. But if you take those results and combine them with 2004 and 2005 inter-league results, our pre-season simulations, our experiments, the AL's all-star game streak, and the fact that the NL hasn't won a World Series game since 2003, it's not a stretch to say that the AL is 10-12 games better right now.

How did that happen? A long time ago, Bill James wrote that teams that feel the need to get better will take steps to do so, while teams that don't will be complacent.

In recent years, AL teams have known they need to get better in order to compete with the Yankees and Red Sox, and they've been willing to spend money and make other changes to do that. Meanwhile, NL teams have had success without breaking the bank, and the Braves continued to win even while cutting their payroll.

Will this continue, and for how long? That's a good question.

To the extent that talent is moving to the AL in return for money (via free-agent signings and salary-driven trades), this can continue until the big-market NL teams decide to match their AL counterparts dollar for dollar.

To the extent that mature talent is moving to the AL in return for great young prospects, the seeds for a future reversal may already be germinating in the NL farm systems.

In the pipeline

We've made progress on both the version 9b patch and version 10 in recent months, but we're not yet ready to release the patch and we're not ready to begin talking about version 10 in any detail.

We had hoped to have the 9b patch done by now, but that project lost some momentum while we finished work on the All-time Greatest Players Disk and while we went through the very time-consuming process of joining with Simnasium.

Now that we have released the AGP disk and completed the union with Simnasium, all of the obstacles have been removed, and our top priority is the 9b patch. When the last few bits of work are finished, we'll spend a reasonable period of time field testing the patch and then make it generally available through our web site.

If you wish to volunteer to help with the field testing, please email Luke at Not knowing how many volunteers will step up, we can't be sure that we'll be able to accommodate everyone, but we'll be grateful for any help that is offered.

DMB News May 2006

Diamond Mind Email Newsletter

May 19 , 2006
Written by Tom Tippett

Welcome to the third edition of the Diamond Mind email newsletter for the year 2006. Through these newsletters, we will try to keep you up to date on the latest product and technical information about the Diamond Mind Baseball game, related player disks, and our ongoing baseball research efforts. Back issues are available on our web site,

If you don't wish to receive these messages in the future, please send an email response with the subject line "unsubscribe". We'll immediately remove your email address from the list. And if you know someone who would like to subscribe to this newsletter, we'll be happy to add them to the mailing list if they send us an email message with the subject line "subscribe" and their name and street address in the body of the message.

Topics for this issue:

2006 Projection Disk
Jim Wheeler
Diamond Mind on the web -- Simnasium Total Baseball
Diamond Mind on the web -- STATS Diamond Legends
STATS versus Simnasium
Tech tip -- hosting NetPlay games
In the pipeline
An early look at the 2006 season

2006 Projection Disk

The update to the 2006 Projection Disk began shipping a month ago. This update reflects various roster moves and injury reports that took place during March. A handful of new players were created when they surprised us by making their opening day rosters.

It's our biggest projection disk ever, with over 1800 players, including hundreds of top minor-league prospects who have a chance to make an impact, or at least get some big-league playing time for the first time, in 2006.

Jim Wheeler

We are very happy to report that Jim Wheeler is joining the Diamond Mind staff as a full-time employee. Jim has never been an employee of our company, but he has been part of the Diamond Mind family for a very long time as one of the primary developers of our Classic Past Seasons collection.

With Jim on board, we will be able to tackle many projects that have been in our plans for some time. He'll begin by helping us finish off the new All-time Greatest Players Disk.

In addition, Jim will help us support the Simnasium and STATS games, support Diamond Mind customers, accelerate the process of updating our Classic Past Seasons, upgrade Classic seasons from the 1960s and 1970s to Deluxe status using the play-by-play data from Retrosheet, and create new Classic Past Seasons for 1901 through 1926.

These products won't materialize overnight, of course, but we're excited about the prospect of enhancing and adding to our past season collection in the coming months and years, and we're delighted to have Jim as a full-time member of our team.

Diamond Mind on the web - Simnasium Total Baseball

Last month, a new company called Simnasium launched Total Baseball, an exciting new web-based simulation game built around Diamond Mind technology, and they're making a special introductory offer to Diamond Mind customers.

As the owner of a team in a Total Baseball league, you'll have the opportunity to draft players from a pool of over 3500 historical players; set up and manage your pitching rotation, bullpen, saved lineups, and depth charts; and coax your team through the season and into the postseason.

The games are simulated using a custom version of the Diamond Mind Baseball engine and player ratings created by Diamond Mind. A full range of game accounts (boxscores, game logs, and the play-by-play commentary) and statistical reports will keep you up to date on all the action.

Simnasium offers a wide variety of options for customizing leagues, such as choosing the salary cap, weekly revenue, league rules, era of play, and league settings.

All Diamond Mind customers will receive a special introductory offer of one free team credit to try Simnasium Total Baseball, a buy-one-get-one-free promotion, and a $10 credit toward the first purchase.

To claim your free team, go to and register with the user name of your choice, then email with “Diamond Mind Offer” in the subject line and your new Simnasium user name in the text of the email.  The Simnasium Support Team will credit your account with the free team. Later, if you choose to buy a team to take advantage of the other aspects of the offer, email the support team again.

This offer expires on June 30, 2006.  To be eligible, you must be a registered owner of Diamond Mind Baseball.  If you participated in the Simnasium Beta test or received a free team via another offer, you are not eligible for a free team, but you are still eligible for the other elements of this promotion.

Diamond Mind on the web - STATS Diamond Legends

Don't forget that you can also take advantage of Diamond Mind technology by playing Diamond Legends from STATS LLC.

Designed jointly by Bill James, STATS, and Diamond Mind, this game has been entertaining baseball fans since 1992. Since then, it has been updated several times with more players, new game features, an expanded web interface, and new league options.

You can draft from a pool of nearly 4000 players, set up your manager profiles and manipulate them as the season progresses, use your weekly revenue to upgrade your roster and position your team for the stretch drive, and stay up to date through an extensive set of statistical reports and game accounts. The games are simulated using a custom version of the Diamond Mind Baseball engine.

Standard and custom leagues are available, and STATS ( recently launched a new Head-to-Head Tournament option.

STATS versus Simnasium

Someone is bound to ask us which is better, STATS Diamond Legends or Simnasium Total Baseball. That's your call. Either one could be best for you, depending on what you're looking for in a web-based simulation league. Both of these partners are important to us, and both will receive our full support.

Tech tip - Hosting NetPlay games

The most common reason why some gamers are unable to host NetPlay games is that their computer connects to the internet through a router that has a firewall blocking NetPlay connections.  Most routers are fairly easy to configure for NetPlay hosting by a feature typically called Port Forwarding.  This allows Diamond Mind NetPlay messages to pass through the firewall while still blocking all other unwanted Internet traffic. 

No two routers are alike when it comes to port forwarding.  To learn how to configure your router, a great resource can be found at, which has documentation on approximately 1,000 routers. 

After you select your router, you will be presented a list of common Internet games and applications.  Scroll down to the section labeled "D" and click on the entry for "Diamond Mind Baseball".  That will bring up directions on how to configure your router for Diamond Mind NetPlay traffic.

If those directions aren't enough to get you going, feel free to contact us for support.

In the pipeline

Regular readers of these newsletters have noticed that recent editions have included less talk about new products than usual. There's a reason for that, and I'd like to try to catch up on that now.

One of the biggest challenges faced by any small company is balancing the short run with the long run. There is always too much to do, and it's usually easiest to focus on what's right in front of your nose, which often means fighting fires and dealing with short-term issues.

Sometimes, however, it's important to take a step back and lay the foundation for the future. Last summer, we made the decision to shift some of our resources toward projects that won't produce immediate results but, we believe, will be in the best long-term interest of the Diamond Mind community.

We haven't been able to tell you about these initiatives because we've been subject to confidentiality agreements. With the release of the Simnasium Total Baseball game, we can now speak freely about that project, but there are others that will have to stay under wraps until the appropriate time.

A good deal of this work involves taking greater advantage of the internet. Our first step down that path was the relationship with STATS that led to the web-based Diamond Legends game in the 1990s. The second was the release of the NetPlay feature in version 9 that allows DMB owners to play head to head over the net. More recently, we have worked with Simnasium to help launch their new game and with STATS on improvements to Diamond Legends.

How has this affected the other projects we had been working on?

First, when we first decided to upgrade our All-time Greatest Players Disk, our goals were limited to adding a few new players and incorporating the two big-league seasons that had been completed since the first AGP disk was released. Later, customer feedback suggested that it would be better to take time to add roughly 200 more players.

Shortly after that decision was made, we began to work with Simnasium to develop career/peak-period ratings for thousands of players. Many of those players don't qualify as all-time-greats, but some do, and we chose to expand the scope of the AGP update once again.

As a result, the new AGP disk will include at least 600 new players, enough to take the number of teams from 32 to 48. With the ratings work behind us, we're now choosing the new players, organizing them into teams, and creating manager profiles. Our goal is to ship this product before the All-Star break, if not sooner.

Second, our work on the version 9b patch has been stretched out. We're not happy about that. Our hope was to get this done much sooner, and I take full responsibility for the delay. We've never stopped working on that project, and other members of the DMB team have done their part, but there are a few key things that I need to take care of before we're ready to start beta testing this update. We'll do our best to finish those things off very soon.

Third, although we haven't talked about the details, we have been doing a lot of work on version 10 of Diamond Mind Baseball. We know that some of you are looking for details on features and a projected ship date. We're not ready for that yet, but we do want to assure you that version 10 is very much in our plans and that we anticipate the addition of a couple of big ideas and a whole lot of smaller improvements across most areas of the product.

Finally, we have released a number of updated season disks in the past year. That work is ongoing and will only accelerate in the future. As we noted earlier in this newsletter, we now plan to add many new Classic Past Seasons and upgrade our existing past seasons at a more rapid rate.

I started this section by talking about the challenge of balancing the short-run and the long-run. Another challenge faced by all companies is finding the best way to serve a diverse community of customers.

In the Diamond Mind community, there are league members and solitaire players, fans of current seasons and past seasons, people who want us to develop dead ball era seasons and others who couldn't care less about that era, folks who love our projection disks and folks who only want to play with stats and ratings from completed seasons, and so on.

Unfortunately, we cannot do everything all at once without spending a lot more money than we take in, so we have to do our best to find a sustainable long-term plan that balances the short term and the long term and gives everyone at least some of what they want.

We wish we could tell you everything we're working on now, but we can't do that. We will, however, endeavor to keep you posted on everything we can talk about.

An early look at the 2006 season

We're at the quarter pole in the 2006 season, and it seems like a good time to take a quick look at some predictions and how the real season is tracking against our projections.

As usual, we have compiled a database of predicted team standings, and it's always fun to see what people think before the season starts. Our database currently consists of 51 predictions -- 49 culled from newspapers, magazines, and web sites plus our own simulations and a consensus vote of SABR members.

In the AL East, the expected order of finish is NY-Bos-Tor-Bal-TB, with about 70% of the predictions having the Yankees in first, one brave soul (Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe) picking the Blue Jays, and everyone else picking the Red Sox over New York. Thirteen predictions have Toronto ahead of Boston, but most think the Jays haven't improved enough to crack the top two. Two people actually have Toronto in 4th, behind Baltimore. About 70% have the Orioles fourth, with the other 30% believing they'll finish behind Tampa Bay. Nobody has picked Tampa Bay to finish higher than fourth.

The AL Central predictions were split between the mainstream and the hard core sabermetric community. The mainstream loves the White Sox, while folks like us and Baseball Prospectus see the 2005 team as having overachieved and the 2006 squad as vulnerable. We were among a very small minority that saw the Twins as favorites because of what appeared to be a great pitching staff. Most had the Twins in third. Believe it or not, three people picked Detroit to finish last (behind the woeful Royals) while only one had them as high as second. The consensus of these 51 picks was Chi-Cle-Min-Det-KC.

The AL West consensus was Oak-LA-Tex-Sea, but it was a close call at the top. Oakland had almost twice as many first-place votes as LA, but four had the A's in third place and two even had them in the basement. A very small minority (including us) had Texas second, but most put them in third with Seattle in the cellar.

In the NL East, the Braves are the consensus pick to continue their division-winning streak, but the Mets got a lot of support, too. Again, there's a split between the mainstream, which won't pick anyone other than Atlanta until the Braves actually fail, and the sabermetric community, which seems to put more weight on the Braves' flaws. These predictions see an Atl-NY-Phi-Was-Flo finish, with the vast majority (but not everyone) picking the Marlins last and only one person (Jonah Keri of Baseball Prospectus) picking the Phillies to win the division.

The Cardinals came closest to being a unanimous pick to win their division, but still fell two votes short of perfection. Lindy's picked the Cubs first and St. Louis second, while Keith Woolner of Baseball Prospectus went with Milwaukee and Houston in the top two spots. The next three spots were closely bunched, with the Astros having a slight edge over the Brewers and the Cubs. The Reds were picked by a majority to finish last, but Pittsburgh got their share of last-place picks as well. As a result, this group sees a StL-Hou-Mil-Chi-Pit-Cin finish.

In the NL West, things seem to be wide open. Four of the five teams were picked to win the division by at least one prognosticator. The Rockies were picked last by most, fourth by most of the rest, third once, and second once. In fact, every team was picked in every spot at least once, with only the Dodgers (never picked last) and the Rockies (never picked first) as exceptions. Overall, the consensus is LA-SF-SD-Ari-Col.

Now that we know what people were thinking two months ago, let's take a look at how the season is unfolding so far. From this point on, we'll focus mainly on how the actual results (through May 14) have compared with our preseason simulations.

Scoring is up slightly. It was much higher in the first two weeks of the season but has been trending down since. At this point, scoring is up 2.8% versus our projections and 5.9% versus the average for the entire 2005 real-life season.

Roughly one-third of the teams have posted run margins very close to our projections, where very close means no more than a dozen runs, or slightly more than one win. For example, the Dodgers had scored 13 more runs and allowed 1 more run than expected, for a net gain of 12 runs.

Oddly, many of these teams have actual records that are above or below their projected records because they've diverged from their pythagorean marks. For example, Cleveland has scored 39 more runs than expected and allowed 42 more runs than expected, for a net loss of 3 runs. We projected a run margin of +91 for the season. After 38 games, we would expect them to be at +21 now. They're actually at +18, which would normally produce a 21-17 record through 38 games. But they're actually four games under .500, at 17-21, despite outscoring their opponents.

More than half the teams are within 3 games of the pace they set in our preseason simulations, and that fraction would rise to more than 2/3 if we included teams that fall outside that range only because of pythagorean variations. We'll take the rest of this space to focus on teams that have significantly over- or under-performed so far.

The Tigers are the big surprise. They've been better on both sides of the ball, but 80% of their gains have been in preventing runs. There's nothing special about the walk and strikeout rates of their pitchers, but balls in play have done very little damage. Homeruns allowed are down, and their defense is leading the league in turning batted balls into outs.

We were among those who were surprised when the White Sox ranked only fourth in the AL in runs allowed in our simulations. After all, they rode pitching and defense to a world title only a few months ago. To date, they're allowing runs at exactly the projected rate, but their offense has been 3-4 wins better than expected and they're an additional two wins ahead of their pythagorean record.

In the NL West, Arizona and Colorado are tracking well against our projected offensive numbers, but both teams have allowed about 30 fewer runs. The Giants have been about 25 runs worse on both sides of the ball.

The Cubs are the most disappointing team in baseball relative to our projections. That's partly because they've been without Mark Prior, Kerry Wood, and Derrek Lee. But that's not the entire story. Aramis Ramirez and Juan Pierre haven't been hitting, and nobody has stepped up to fill in for the missing players.

The next most disappointing team has been the Twins, who have been the mirror image of the Tigers. Both teams are slightly ahead on runs scored, but while the Tigers have allowed 49 fewer runs, the Twins have allowed 52 more. Traditionally a very good defensive team, Minnesota is last in the majors in turning batted balls into outs, but I don't think it's the defense. Their starting pitchers are walking more guys, getting fewer strikeouts, and allowing a lot more homers, so it stands to reason that they're also presenting their defense with a lot of very tough chances.

Wrapping up, Oakland, Kansas City, and Pittsburgh are each about two wins worse on both offense and defense.

DMB News March 2006

Diamond Mind Email Newsletter

March 17 , 2006
Written by Tom Tippett

Welcome to the second edition of the Diamond Mind email newsletter for the year 2006. Through these newsletters, we will try to keep you up to date on the latest product and technical information about the Diamond Mind Baseball game, related player disks, and our ongoing baseball research efforts. Back issues are available on our web site,

If you don't wish to receive these messages in the future, please send an email response with the subject line "unsubscribe". We'll immediately remove your email address from the list. And if you know someone who would like to subscribe to this newsletter, we'll be happy to add them to the mailing list if they send us an email message with the subject line "subscribe" and their name and street address in the body of the message.

Topics for this issue:

2006 Projection Disk
2006 Bill James Handbook
Updated Classic Past Seasons
Tech tip: Season Disk installation
2006 Hall of Fame voting

2006 Projection Disk

As scheduled, the 2006 Projection Disk, began shipping on March 9th in both version 8 and version 9 formats.

It's our biggest projection disk ever, with over 1800 players, including hundreds of top minor-league prospects who have a chance to make an impact, or at least get some big-league playing time for the first time, in 2006.

Anyone who buys the 2006 Projection Disk prior to March 31st will receive two editions of the disk -- the March 9th edition and a free update in early April that reflects the opening day rosters and events from the remainder of spring training. After March 31st, you'll receive only the April edition.

Between now and the April update, we'll create a few new players if some long shots make the opening day rosters, and we'll update the rosters and manager profiles to reflect late player moves. But we don't plan to make any changes that would affect the performance of players included in the March edition.

2006 Bill James Handbook

Don't forget to order your copy of the 2006 Bill James Handbook. The regular edition is only $17.95 and the convenient lays-flat-on-your-desk spiral-bound edition is just $21.95. Hardly a day goes by when we don't reach for the Handbook as part of our work.

Among the many great features are career registers for every active player, including minor-league stats for players with little big-league experience; complete 2005 fielding statistics; expanded pitcher stats that include hitting, fielding, and holding runners; park factors and rankings; left/right splits for all batters and pitchers; conventional and sabermetric leader boards; team standings, augmented by many team performance splits; and team rankings for batting, pitching and fielding.

NOTE: Because of the added weight, first-class and air mail shipping rates are not available for orders including this book. Priority Mail and Overnight shipping rates are available.

Updated Classic Past Seasons

The 1954 and 1961 Classic Past Seasons have been updated to include real-life transactions and/or game-by-game lineups. These updated seasons are now shipping. A few other CPS updates are underway, and we'll have more details on the seasons involved and the release dates in the coming weeks.

Tech tip: Season disk installation

Recently we've been receiving reports from a few gamers who are having trouble installing a season disk. They're getting the message:

Unable to decompress

In the past, problems like this have always been traced to rogue spyware that interferes with the DMB season disk installation process, and it may be that a new spyware program is causing these problems. Fortunately, there is an alternative installation procedure that will work with these files:

- Start DMB

- Go to the Transfer menu and choose "Create league database"

- Navigate to the folder where the season disk is saved

- On the Open window, second line from the bottom, set File Name to "*.alt" (without the quotes)

- Click on the Open button

- The selection window will display all sub-folders and season disk installation files

- Open the season disk file you want to install

- On Copy New Database window, set "Name of the new database" to the folder name you want to use for this season

- Click on OK

The procedure is the same for version 8 and version 9 of Diamond Mind Baseball. If it doesn't work, let us know.

2006 Hall of Fame voting

As you know, Bruce Sutter was the only player elected in this year's Hall of Fame voting.

Meanwhile, folks in Boston were very disappointed when Jim Rice came up short again. Others, including Rich Gossage himself, were more than a little dismayed when Sutter got more votes than the Goose. And many in the baseball research community have been aggressively touting Bert Blyleven, but the voters weren't swayed.

Did Sutter deserve election? Did anyone else?

I don't claim to have any special ability to decide who belongs in the Hall and who doesn't. It's called the Hall of Fame, not the Hall of Performance or the Hall of Statistics or the Hall of Good Guys.

There's always going to be room for subjectivity and differences of opinion when comparing players. How much weight should be put on peak performance versus longevity? What's the best way to compare players across eras? How do you handle changes in the game, such as the designated hitter and the increasing role of the bullpen?

And even if the baseball world could settle on a perfect method for evaluating performance across eras, there's still the question of where to draw the line between the ins and the outs. Even if we can all agree that A was 10% more valuable than B, does that mean both are in, both are out, or A is in and B is out?

Nevertheless, I'm going to wade in with a few observations about this year's slate of candidates.

We have a method for comparing performances across eras, one that we use for our All-time Greatest Players Disk. It's not the only way to evaluate players, of course, but it does have at least a couple of things going for it. All stats are park-adjusted, and all players are evaluated relative to their peers, so changes in eras are accounted for.

Our method rates players based on their best sequence of consecutive peak seasons. We don't always use entire careers because some of the best players in history arrived on the big stage at a very young age and stuck around for a long farewell at the end. Those extra seasons, which often pale by comparison with the player's peak years, can narrow the gap between the truly great and the nearly great.

For most players, the peak period consists of at least eight seasons, though it can vary depending on playing time. But our definition of a peak period is long enough to avoid overrating guys who had a great run of two or three years in an otherwise nondescript career.

Bruce Sutter was a dominant closer in his day, posting a career ERA of 2.83 in 1042 career innings, leading the league in saves five times, and averaging 4.7 outs per appearance. But is he the most deserving candidate?

Our method identifies the years from 1976 to 1984 as Sutter's peak period. That leaves out the three mediocre years he spent with the Braves at the end of his career. On a peak basis, he's among the best ever among those who are eligible, but he's not the best of the best.

In fact, adjusted for era and park, Sutter's peak ranks 10th in ERA and 7th in OPS among eligible relievers.

One of guys ahead of him is Rich Gossage, whose peak extended from 1977 to 1986, making him a contemporary of Sutter. Not only does Gossage have a higher peak value, he has longevity on his side, too. Sutter pitched only 152 innings after he turned 31, and wasn't very good during that part of his career. Meanwhile, Gossage pitched until he was 43 and had several good seasons after his age-31 campaign. As others have pointed out, it's hard to see why Sutter belongs in the Hall and Gossage does not.

And what about John Wetteland? Because he garnered only 4 votes this year, exactly 1/100th as many as Sutter, he'll be dropped from the ballot. Wetteland's peak runs from 1991 to 1999, and on that basis, he ranks as the #1 relief pitcher in relative ERA and #2 in relative OPS using our method.

He's well ahead of Sutter on both counts, and it's not hard to see why. Wetteland compiled a career ERA of 2.93, ten points higher than Sutter's, but Wetteland did much of his work in a DH league and all of it in the hitter-friendly 1990s. Wetteland saved more games and had a much better save percentage, too.

There is one big difference, however. Wetteland pitched in the era of relief specialists. As a result, he recorded only 3.7 outs per appearance in his career, and that includes 17 starts. Even with those starts, his career added up to 277 fewer innings than Sutter's. Is that a deal breaker for Wetteland? It appears that 396 voters feel that it is.

There's no question that shorter outings help a pitcher put up better rate stats. Our reliever rankings are dominated by modern pitchers such as Wetteland, Robb Nen, Tom Henke, Bryan Harvey, and Jeff Montgomery. In time, they'll be joined by today's dominant closers, including Mariano Rivera, Trevor Hoffman, Troy Percival, and Billy Wagner.

Very soon, the HOF voters are going to have to deal with this issue. How do you compare the workhorse relievers of the 1950s, 60s, and 70s with the specialists of the 1990s and 2000s?

So far, with the exception of Dennis Eckersley, who also had a meaningful career as a starter, it appears the voters are drawing a line between those eras. Older guys like Sutter, Hoyt Wilhelm, and Rollie Fingers are in, while more recent players like Wetteland, Henke, and Harvey aren't getting a sniff.

No matter how you look at it, Gossage deserves to be a member of any club that includes Sutter. In fact, even if you believe Sutter wasn't worthy, Gossage should be enshrined. And if you drawn the line so it includes Sutter, Dan Quisenberry has to be in as well, and you have to give serious thought to Sparky Lyle and Kent Tekulve.

The Jim Rice debate centers on peak value versus longevity. He was among the most feared hitters in the game through his age-33 season, but tailed off quickly and was done before he turned 37. If he'd put up another two or three seasons, even mediocre ones, he would have topped 400 homers, approached 3000 hits, and added to his impressive RBI total. That might have been enough.

But is it true that Rice was clearly qualified on a peak basis? Was it only the lack of a normal tail that has kept him out so far?

That's far from clear. According to our peak-period rankings, more than 30 left fielders rank ahead of Rice, mainly because his raw numbers were boosted by Fenway Park. After discounting his stats for the park, he's still very good, but he's not among the elite.

In fact, he ranks behind another player who barely survived the cut to remain on the ballot. Albert Belle ranks 8th among LFs in our method but was named by only 40 voters. Compared with Rice, Belle got more help from his era but less help from his home parks. Take both factors into account and Belle comes out ahead.

Neither Rice nor Belle was an asset in the field. Both were used at DH a fair amount of the time, more so for Rice than Belle. Neither was a great runner, but Belle had more stolen bases and a higher success rate. Neither had a great relationship with the press. Both saw their careers end early, Belle because of a degenerative hip condition, Rice because he stopped hitting.

On a rate basis, and focusing on peak performance, it's hard to see how Rice could be a borderline candidate for election while Belle is a borderline candidate to be dropped from the ballot. But longevity is clearly an important factor in HOF voting, and the voters appear to be discounting Belle because he had 2400 fewer atbats. Or maybe they're holding Belle's much-publicized fits of temper against him.

Dale Murphy is at least as good a candidate as Rice, though Murphy received only 56 votes to Rice's 337. Murphy's career was just as long. And he played center field, a more demanding defensive position. As a result, Murphy ranks higher among CFs than Rice does among LFs.

Among shortstops, Alan Trammell ranks even higher than Murphy does among center fielders, yet Trammell was listed on only 92 ballots. Maybe the voters are leery of electing any more shortstops with Derek Jeter, Miguel Tejada, Nomar Garciaparra (if he can resurrect his career), and Alex Rodriguez (if he doesn't become seen as a third baseman) on the horizon.

Much has been written about Bert Blyleven in recent years, most of it favorable. The sticking point appears to be his career 287-250 record, which makes him appear to be a .500 pitcher in the eyes of some people.

Blyleven was a terrific pitcher. On a peak-years basis, Blyleven is among the best ever, ranking 22nd in era/park-neutral ERA and 12th in OPS. He struck out more than 200 hitters in a season eight times, and is 5th on the all-time strikeout list.

And it's not as if he was a flash in the pan, either. He broke in as a 19-year-old in 1970 and pitched until he was 41. He's among the all-time leaders in wins, innings, strikeouts, and complete games. He won at least 15 games ten times.

But he never dominated. He posted only one 20-win season, and he rarely led the league in high-profile categories like wins (never), ERA (never), and strikeouts (once). He just did his job very well week after week, year after year.

Does that remind you of another right-handed pitcher who IS in the hall? How about Don Sutton? Sutton was a very good pitcher for a very long time, and his career numbers are similar to Blyleven's. Sutton pitched about 5% more innings, posted similar (but slightly weaker) walk and strikeout numbers, and lost even more games (256) than Blyleven.

Furthermore, Blyleven's stats are clearly better than Sutton's after adjusting for league and park. Sutton did his best work in pitcher's parks and a non-DH league. Blyleven did not have that luxury.

But Sutton is in the Hall and Blyleven is still on the outside looking in. Why is that? It's got to be the wins. Sutton surpassed the 300 mark (324) and Blyleven came up a little short. To me, that's not enough of a reason. Blyleven was better. If Sutton's worthy, so is Blyleven.

By the way, in The Hardball Times Baseball Annual 2006, Bill James also makes a compelling argument for Blyleven. Bill asked whether Blyleven somehow lacked the ability to win the close games. He looked at this question in several interesting ways, and concluded that Blyleven's teammates deserve much of the blame for failing to provide enough runs in a large number of games in which Blyleven pitched very well.

Jack Morris, author of that memorable 1991 World Series performance, had a peak period that fell short of both Blyleven (by a lot) and Sutton (by a little). Like the others, he was a very good pitcher for a long time without dominating the league at any point, though his career was more than 1000 innings shorter.

Maybe Morris is HOF-worthy, maybe he's not. But if he makes it some day, Blyleven should be there waiting for him.

As I said at the beginning, deciding where to draw the line is a matter of taste. Some 16,400 players have appeared in a major league game. How many are worthy of this honor? 200? 400? 800?

Your answer is as good as mine. But wherever you draw that line, it would be nice if the most-deserving players were allowed to cross it. All in all, I think the voters do a pretty good job, but there's room for improvement, to be sure.