DMB News August 2003
Diamond Mind Email Newsletter
August 26, 2003
Written by Tom Tippett
Welcome to the fourth edition of the Diamond Mind email newsletter for the year 2003. 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 website.
Topics for this issue:
Four new All-time Greatest Teams Disks now shipping
1990 and 1991 Deluxe Past Seasons now with transactions and lineups
ESPN simulation -- 1962 Mets versus 2003 Tigers
Diamond Mind weblog
Recent enhancement requests
Version 9 update
We're happy to announce that we have extended our All-time Greatest Teams series to include four new collections of 24 teams each. Each of these disks is available now and is priced at $19.95.
Of the 96 teams on these disks, 92 are drawn from our existing season disk collection, and four are brand new. The first 92 teams were selected because they were the champions of their respective leagues, and with their addition, the All-time Greatest Teams series now includes every league champion from 1927 to the present.
The four new teams, one on each disk, are league champions from prior to 1927:
1908 Chicago (N) -- the last world champions of this storied franchise, this squad won the pennant by a single game (ahead of New York and Pittsurgh) ... beat Pittsburgh 5-2 on the season's final day ... starters Three Finger Brown and Ed Reulbach won 53 games between them
1914 Philadelphia (A) -- an offensive juggernaut led by Eddie Collins, this lineup scored 173 more runs than the average team and 134 more runs than the second-best offense ... perhaps best remembered for being broken up after the season by Connie Mack in a big-time salary dump
1918 Boston (A) -- by winning it all, accomplished something this franchise hasn't been able to repeat since ... led the league in fewest runs allowed thanks to a league-leading fielding percentage and a staff led by Carl Mays (21 wins, 2.21 ERA), Joe Bush (2.11 ERA), and a guy named Ruth (13-7, 2.22 ERA, .300 average, tied for lead in homers)
1924 New York (N) -- dominated the league offensively with an attack led by Ross Youngs (.356/.441/.521), George Kelly (.324/.371/.531), and Frankie Frisch (.328/.387/.468) ... would have won it all, but couldn't hold a 3-1 lead in game seven and lost in 12 innings
You can find a complete list of the teams on our All-time Greatest Teams page.
For the 1990 and 1991 Deluxe Past Seasons, we have added a complete set of player transactions (trades, disabled list moves, promotions, demotions, suspensions and more) and actual starting lineups for every game in the schedule. If you are a registered owner of these season disks, you may be eligible for free upgrades or special upgrade prices. See our season disk upgrade page for more information on our policies.
ESPN.com asked us to set up a seven-game series pitting the 1962 Mets (owners of a 40-120 record) and the 2003 Tigers (owners of a similar winning percentage), and we were more than happy to do so.
The games were played using version 9 so we could take advantage of two of the new features:
- a play-by-play game log that makes it easier to review the progress of any game, including the pitch sequences to each hitter
- a web site generator that creates a complete collection of linked web pages that organize and present all of the statistics, boxscores and game logs for a league or organization and its teams
Later in this newsletter, we'll tell you more about these new features and direct you to some additional version 9 information on our web site.
Jayson Stark's terrific article on the series was posted on August 20. You should be able to find the article on Jayson's index page on ESPN.com, either directly from that page or indirectly via the link to the archive of his columns.
We've also posted the results to our web site.
In the past, we have included original baseball analysis in most of our newsletters, but we're now putting that material in the weblog (or blog) we created a few months ago. If you're interested and haven't already seen it, you can find it via the home page on our web site.
I'm happy to report that the web site for the DMB Utilities Trilogy is up and running again after a short hiatus. For those of you who are not familiar with these free utilities, which were developed by Ron Gudykunst and Tom Milne, they extract many different types of useful information by analyzing DMB boxscores and scoresheets.
Using the BASE utility, which analyzes DMB boxscores (in either format), you can find things like top single-game performances by players and teams, many different types of streaks, and unusual events like batters hitting for a cycle.
Using the SCORE utility, which extracts information from DMB scoresheets, you can find batter/pitcher matchups, stats by batting order position, situational batting and pitching stats, pinch hitting stats, a list of grand slams, and too many other things to list here.
The third utility converts DMB scoresheets into a textual game log like those you've seen in newspapers and on the web.
You can link to the BASE/SCORE web site from the Version 8 Utilities page on our web site.
In the six months since we added the enhancement request form to our web site, many of you have used it to let us know what you'd like to see added to the game. We have reviewed your requests, over 600 of them to date, and will use that information as we make the tough calls about what does and doesn't make it into version 9.
As you might expect, quite a few of these requests were duplicates of others. Approximately 15-20% of them were ideas we hadn't heard before, so our (already very long) to-do list is now longer by about 100 items.
There were about a dozen requests that appeared over and over again, so we'll be taking a close look at these items to see if we can squeeze a couple of them into version 9 before it is released.
And there were a small number of requests for features that are already in the game, so let me take a moment to tell you where to find them ...
One customer asked for a team-versus-team report. That report was added in our 8b patch, so if you don't see it on your list of reports, you can download and install the latest patches (8e and the related play-by-play fix). You can click on "About Diamond Mind Baseball" on the Help menu to find out whether you're already using version 8e.
Another customer asked for a report of free agent batters or pitchers. This can be done in version 8 using the register reports by choosing "Players on a free agent list" on the options window. You can customize the report to add any player ratings you'd like to see.
Two people asked for league standings as of a certain date. This can be done now by generating a league standings report, clicking on the Time Period tab on the options window, and choosing a date interval starting with opening day and ending with any date of your choosing.
We received a request for a report that lists players who have exceeded a league's playing time limits. You can do this now with the team status report. For example, to show only the batters and pitchers who have used up at least 110% of their real-life playing time, enter 110 for "Overall PA" and "Overall BF" and set the other values to 999.
From time to time, we're asked why it's not possible to view the scoreboard while selecting a relief pitcher. What if you're forced into the subs window and you forget the inning or score? (Happens to me all the time, by the way.) If you're in this situation, click and drag on the title bar to move the subs window down far enough to reveal the game window, then drag it back when you're done.
A few people asked why there's no Undo command while making subs during a game. But there is. Click on the "Other actions" button and select "Undo all changes" from the menu that pops up.
Someone asked us to add "double-play depth" to the defensive options, but we don't feel it is necessary. In DMB, a "normal" defense means playing at double-play depth in DP situations, and it would be very tedious if you had to specify that defense in every DP situation.
Two customers asked us to display expected winning percentage (based on runs for and against) in the standings report. This is already available as a column you can add by customizing the report. When adding the column, choose the Standings group and scroll down to the various Pythagorean values.
We received one request for changing the size of the fonts on the game window. This can be done by clicking on the "Change options" button and changing the values on the Colors/Text tab on the options window.
One person expressed the view that it's too easy to steal successfully on a pitchout. We disagree. Our studies show that real-life success rates on steals are about 20-30% lower when the defense pitches out than when they pitch normally. That means a top base stealer still has a 50/50 shot at stealing the base and a lesser runner can still take the base successfully once in a while.
Anticipating the release of our new encyclopedia feature, one customer asked that he be able to load seasons that he completed in previous versions of the game. No problem. You'll be able to import any season that has been converted into version 9 format, and version 9 automatically converts databases from formats as far back as version 5.
In the item on the Mets/Tigers simulation (above), we mentioned a couple of the new version 9 features (game logs, web site generation) that were used in that project and which you can see on our web site.
In addition, we have made a few other additions and improvements:
- the ability to make simple substitutions, such as pinch hitting and pinch running moves, directly from the game window by right-clicking on player names in the list of bench players ... more complex moves, such as double switches, can still be made via the substitution window
- when saving custom or memorized reports, version 9 shows you a list of other report names that you've already used to make it easier for you to pick a unique name for the one you're about to save
- improved baserunning decisions by the computer manager ... fewer trailing runners now thrown out at third, bringing outfield assist totals down to real-life levels
We plan to start beta testing version 9 around the end of September, give or take a week. The time it takes to get from there to a final release will depend on how the testing process goes and whether we decide to add a few more features in the coming weeks, so we're not in a position to announce a firm ship date. In the past, our beta test periods have lasted from three to four months.
We are ready to hear from people who are interested in volunteering to be part of our beta test program. Based on past experience, it's likely that a lot of you will volunteer, so it may not be possible to accept everyone. The more people we work with, the more time we spend communicating with them, and while that communication is essential, we also need time to respond to the good ideas we're getting. We don't like saying no to people who are genuinely interested in helping us out, but we may have to do that to make the process workable.
We do like to add new people to the team for each major release. That provides us with fresh perspectives that are vital to the process. And the process works best if we have a mix of power users and relative newcomers, a mix of operating systems, and a mix of playing styles (recent seasons versus old-time seasons, solitaire versus league play, season disks versus projection disks, pitch mode and batter mode, and so on).
What's in it for you? Two things, mainly. First, you'll have a chance to use the new features a few months before everyone else. Second, you'll have a chance to offer suggestions that can make version 9 more useful to you and others.
We don't pay beta testers or offer free products in return for participating, mainly because we'd rather work with people who are genuinely interested in helping make the product better than people who are just looking for a freebie. For similar reasons, we don't accept anyone who is not already a registered owner of the game.
If you are interested in participating in our beta test program, please let us know by sending an email to DiamondMnd@aol.com. If you do so, please take a moment to tell us a little about yourself, your computer, and how you like to use Diamond Mind Baseball. This information will help us put together a well-rounded team.
By the way, even though we haven't officially been accepting volunteers until now, some of you have volunteered anyway. If so, there's no need to do it again unless you feel you need to tell us more about the things we mentioned in the previous paragraph.
Thanks in advance to anyone who volunteers to help with beta testing. Whether or not we can invite all of the volunteers to join the team, we appreciate your desire and willingness to help out.