DMB News December 2001

Diamond Mind Email Newsletter

December 14, 2001
Written by Tom Tippett

Welcome to the sixth edition of the Diamond Mind email newsletter for the year 2001. 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:

2001 Season Disk now shipping
Tips for using the 2001 Season Disk
New and updated ballpark images
Email shipments of season disks
Updated help file with new league setup tutorial
New articles posted in November
Pitcher performance after batting/running

2001 Season Disk now shipping

We're happy to report that we began shipping the 2001 Season Disk a day ahead of schedule. As usual, we received a large number of advance orders for this disk. By the end of the day today, we expect to be finished shipping all of the advance order plus all of the new orders that arrived this week.

If you ordered in advance for overnight or email delivery, the season disk should already be in your hands. And if you requested delivery by first class mail, priority mail, or air mail, your package should arrive by the end of next week.

Tips for using the 2001 Season Disk

Here are a few tips regarding the use of this season disk:

1. We have prepared four notes that you can view through the Notes page of the Organizer window. We recommend that you take some time to read these notes in the relatively near future, as they contain useful information that may answer questions you might have about using the season disk, the statistics and ratings on the disk, and what you can expect when you start playing games with it.

2. The 2001 Season Disk is shipped with the real-life transactions and game-by-game starting lineups feature turned on, real-life opening day rosters (meaning that players who were disabled on opening day in real life are also disabled on this season disk), and the "as-played" 2001 schedule installed.

By "as-played", we mean that postponed games are listed on the dates they were actually played. The use of real-life transactions and lineups requires that the rosters and schedule be exactly as they were in real-life.

Feel free to change rosters or switch to the original ("as-scheduled") schedule, but if you do, remember to change the settings in your organization or league so the use of real-life tranactions and lineups is turned off.

3. The season disk includes multiple player records for anyone who appeared with more than one team this year. These players have one record for each team and one combined record that reflects their overall performance.

If you wish to release all players into free agency and draft new rosters from scratch, start by using the "Release all players" command and then use "Delete team-specific records". Both commands can be found on the Tools menu.

If you don't run the "Delete team-specific records" command, these multi-team players will be drafted more than once. And this command must be used AFTER releasing the players, because it deletes those team-specific records from the list of free agents, not from team rosters.

4. If you ran a draft league using our 2000 Season Disk, remember that you can use the Migrate command on the File menu to automatically set up the 2001 Season Disk with the structure of your league and your team rosters. See the DMB help system for more information on how to use the Migrate feature.

If you use Migrate, remember that:

a) the "source" database is your 2000 league database and your "target" database is the 2001 Season Disk. (You can install the 2001 Season Disk more than once if you want to migrate your league to one copy and have another with the real-life rosters still intact.)

b) Migrate does not assign home parks to each team, so you'll have to do that yourself.

c) When Migrate is placing a multi-team player on a roster, it's the combined record that is used. His team-specific records for the 2001 season are placed in the free agent pool. Use the "Delete team-specific records" command on the Tools menu to remove them before running a draft.

d) Migrate does not create manager profiles, so you'll need to generate new ones or use the the "Roster / manager profile" window to set them up the way you want before playing games.

5. Before starting a season, take a look at the organization and leagues options. To minimize the use of disk space and maximize the speed of your autoplayed seasons, the disk ships with the generation of game-by-game stats, game accounts, boxscores and scoresheets turned OFF.

If you want to be able to look at batting/pitching logs or generate reports based on a time interval, you'll need to turn ON the generation of game-by-game stats.

If you run a league and you're planning to use the Transfer features to exchange game results, statistics, and manager profiles with the managers in that league, you'll need to turn ON the generation of game accounts.

And, regardless of the type of league you are playing, you may want to turn on the automatic generation of boxscores and scoresheets.

6. If you plan to set up a pair of leagues whose champions will meet in a "world series" at the end of your postseason, remember to create an organization to link those leagues BEFORE your season begins. DMB won't allow you to create an organization after the season starts, and you'll need that organization in place to take full advantage of the game's support for postseason play.

New and updated ballpark images

To conserve space and reduce duplication of files, ballpark images are distributed with the Diamond Mind Baseball game, not with each season disk. In the time since version 8 began shipping, we have created new and updated ballpark images that you can download at no charge from our web site.

As of December 11, 2001, we have added/updated the images used in the 2001 season, and we recommend that anyone who has purchased the 2001 Season Disk take a few minutes to download and install those images. You can do this even if you haven't yet received your copy of the 2001 Season Disk, and while you don't need the images to use the season disk, it's a good idea to have them in place ahead of time.

During the 2001-2002 offseason, we plan to make available more than 30 new ballpark images. When they are available, you'll have access to images for every home park used since 1978.

Email shipments of season disks

Many of you have found that email delivery is a fast, inexpensive and convenient way to receive season disks. For years, we've been successfully sending season disks in the form of self-extracting zip files using names such as "cps1959.exe".

In recent months, however, it has become increasingly difficult to send files named "anything.exe" because of concerns about internet security. Viruses also have .exe extensions, and those viruses have forced email software developers and internet service providers to add security measures that limit the spread of .exe files. For example, Microsoft Outlook, the most notorious target for virus developers, no longer allows delivery of files with that extension.

Our .exe files are still working for most people, and we've been able to handle the exceptions on a case-by-case basis by resending the file with a different extension (.alt) and asking the recipient to rename it to .exe before trying to install it.

But it's becoming more and more likely that we'll need to permanently change to an approach that will work for everyone the first time. One option is to begin sending season disks as ordinary .zip files and to enhance the "Install season disk" command to work with files in both the old (.exe) and the new (.zip) form. If and when we make any such changes, we'll let you know through this newsletter and our web site.

In the meantime, we may have to start emailing season disks with the .alt name all of the time. That would be less convenient for customers who are having no trouble with our current approach (the process would change from download-install to download-rename-install), but would be an improvement for Outlook users and anyone with an ISP or corporate email system that routinely blocks or renames .exe files.

It's a shame that we're going to have to do more work and some or all of our customers are going to have to use a slightly less convenient approach (at least for a while) just because some lunatics feel that it's ok to launch a seemingly endless series of virus attacks. The good news is that any changes we make won't affect customers who receive their season disks on diskette or CD.

Updated help file with new league setup tutorial

We have developed a new tutorial on setting up a league using Diamond Mind Baseball. Its purpose is to guide you through the decisions you need to make and to point you to the relevant portions of the help system for detailed information about how to carry out each step.

We're doing our final review of the material now and hope to have it ready within a couple of weeks. When it's ready, you'll be able to download it from our web site. (No charge, of course.)

New articles posted in November

In November, we added three new articles to our web site:

- a list of all of the players who made their big-league debuts this season, along with their batting or pitching stats for the season

- a recap of the preseason predictions that were made by various pundits and publications, along with accuracy rankings for 2001, the past two seasons and the past four seasons

- an evaluation of the offensive production each team received from players at each position. This article was picked up by and featured prominently for several days, and it provides an interesting look at each team's offensive strengths and weaknesses.

All three articles can be found by clicking on the "Baseball Articles" link that appears in the banner at the top of our web pages.

Pitcher performance after batting/running

A few months ago, someone on an Internet baseball forum asserted the view that pitchers don't pitch nearly as well in the inning after having to bat or run the bases. So we threw together a quick little study of the subject.

We wrote a program to analyze the play-by-play data from the 2000 season. All innings pitched were put into three buckets -- innings after the pitcher ran the bases, innings after the pitcher batted but didn't have to run the bases, and all other innings.

As you know, most relief pitchers come to the plate only a couple of times a year, so this is a non-factor for them. Ditto for AL starters. And some starting pitchers are lousy hitters, so they don't run the bases all that often. So we focused on starting pitchers in the National League and selected those who batted and ran the bases the most.

We found nothing to support the theory that offensive activity affects a pitcher's ability to perform when he takes the field. For every pitcher whose performance suffered after batting or running the bases, there was another who was better in those innings.

Before doing this work, I had no idea whether the assertion would be supported or denied by the data, but I thought there was a chance that it could be real. I don't think a one-season study is enough to prove anything conclusively, but it was interesting to find that there wasn't even a hint of a correlation in the 2000 season data.