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"To play 18 years in Yankee Stadium is the best thing that could ever happen to a ballplayer."

-Mickey Mantle-

ATL Player and Ballpark Usage Info

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Player Usage

Computer BaseballThere are no league restrictions or regulations on normal player usage in the ATL. Every player is a full-time player. That is the prime rule.

There are no league constraints on how you, as Owner and General Manager, develop your roster. You can have on your roster any group of 35 players that you can draft, sign or trade for. However, having a well-rounded roster is part of winning a pennant. It will be best to have a roster strategy that includes at least 3 players rated to play catcher, shortstop, second base and centerfield. These are the most important positions on the field, and players who can play these positions well are at a premium. It is also a good strategy to have some balance on the pitching staff between right-handers and left-handers. But the bottom line is that the league does not force any requirement on you. You are free to experiment.

There are no league constraints on how you, as Field Manager, use your players. The players can be played at any position, but they will perform best in the role they are set up for. The game will handle players used out of position by penalizing them appropriately. It is all within the game mechanics, and only hinted at by the DMB Help files, so experience is the best teacher in this regard. The best strategy is to be prepared, and only use players in the role they are meant to be used in. For the specifics of what the DMB Help file says about this topic, read here:

So we see that although we can put any player anywhere on the diamond we want, we will get better results if we do not force players into situations they did not usually find themselves.

What is true for the real baseball teams is even more so here where every player is a star.  Even the lesser players in the ATL were at least franchise stars when they played the game. Every ATL game is an All-Star game. It will take a good roster strategy and a good managing strategy to have a good season.  Having good players in the lineup is not enough -- every team in this league has good players in the lineup.

Injuries are the bane of every team's season, and injuries are the great unknowable future catastrophe awaiting every team in every next game. Nobody can predict when an injury will strike, or how long a player will go without an injury.  Seasons and careers have been unmade because of injury. Injuries have shaped many a player's career.  That is real life. Here in the ATL we use the Random Injury setting to simulate just that black void of undetermined injury potential. None of us knows which player will get struck down by a season-crushing injury. One thing we do have the luxury of, is that no injury will affect a player's career in any way except to shorten the amount of games the player would otherwise have played.

Managing injuries is your task. You must decide whether to put a player on the Disabled List or carry that player on a roster spot even though the player cannot play. Disabling a player may lengthen the time a player is out of action because league regulations state that Roster Changes can only be made between series. That means you may not be able to Activate a player immediately after the injury is over -- you have to wait until the current series of  games is over and put in the Activate order for between-series. Since we play 4-day series, the time a player is out could be lengthened by up to 4 days, or a multiple of 4 days if you forget to Activate the player on time. You can consider the extra time on the Disabled List as special injury rehabilitation time. You cannot have a standing order for the Commissioner to activate a player as soon as possible, it is your responsibility as Owner, General Manager and Field Manager to watch over every aspect of your team and its players.

Players traditionally have certain roles, and the players in this set are depicted in the roles they played for the time periods depicted by the player set. However, you have complete control over this aspect of your team as well. You can choose to change the role of any player on your roster. Most commonly we will see starting pitchers used as relief pitchers simply because there are not enough good relief pitchers in this player set.  Or put another way, there are an abundance of good starting pitchers in this player set, more so than relief pitchers. Many teams have more than enough starters and are short on relievers, and so the roles shall be changed. For pitchers who do have a relief rating there will be no penalties for playing out of position -- because they are rated at the position of relief pitcher. For those pitchers without a relief rating, or for the opposite -- those relievers without a rating as starting pitcher, the normal penalties for playing out of position will apply.

How do you change their roles?  Simply use the Manager Profile to define the role you want a pitcher to play. There are slots for Setup Men, Closers, Mopup guys, Long Relievers, Spot Starters and your normal rotation.  Here is a good place to quote the DMB Help file about some very important settings on the pitcher pages that you have complete control over -- and will decide how the computer uses your pitchers during Autoplay games (during Netplay games you have complete and utter control over your players except for Roster Changes and Roster Mods -- which are not allowed during Netplay).

The following is very important, please read it all the way through.  At the bottom of the rotation box in the roster/manager profile section, there are 3 additional boxes. These three boxes control very powerful functions:

So we see here how important it is to be sure to set the correct modes for the computer manager to govern the use of the team's pitchers the way we want it to.

Batters don't have the same intensity with their special controls as the pitchers do, probably because of the difference in the basic roles of batter and pitcher.  But there is a box under the Depth Chart tab that bears special attention -- like the pitchers, this box concerns Usage.  The DMB Help file describes it thusly:

Since we are not simulating a past season, and this is a completely open-ended draft league there are very few reasons to use the Track Starts mode, and could have some unexpected consequences if used.  The Game by Game mode is generally the way to go for us, especially since we use the Random League Injury Rule and No to Limit Bench Playing Time (because there are no bench players in this league).

But what is essential for us to pay attention to in both pitchers and batter, but more so for catchers, is the Spot Start Percentage option for substitutes -- both pitcher and fielder.  Catchers especially need some time off because of the demands of the position, and this option is the way to control that during Autoplay games.  Simply said, the Spot Start Percentage controls how often a sub comes in to start for the starter at that position. This is straightforward for all positions except catcher.  Here is what the DMB Help file says about Catcher Fatigue, which adds another element into the Spot Start Percentage that is not there for any other position.

Now we come around to Depth Charts and how to maximize their use. Every Owner will have their own individual Field Manager tactics they would like the Computer Manager to emulate, and a lot of programming those responses goes on right here in the Depth Charts. Here, again, is what the DMB Help file has to say:
And now let's talk to the pitching coaches over in the bullpen:
The more input you give the computer manager in these depth charts for both batters and pitchers, the more help it gets when it needs to make an in-game decision. That also means the more chance it has of making the decisions you want it to make in those situations. Do not be afraid to experiment with these settings. We only play a 4-day series at a time, and that allows for plenty of between series tweaks -- and especially series-specific tweaks, where you give the computer manager special instructions because of injuries, slumps, hot streaks or ballpark.

Now we come to the crux of the Field Manager's role: the Manager Tendencies and Player Tendencies.  Here you will put your tactical imprint as Field Manager on your team. For the most part Manager and Player Tendencies mirror each other, with Manager Tendencies covering every player that does not have a specific Player Tendency set for them.  So you can govern your whole team by the strategy outlined in your Manager Tendencies, but then every player will be treated the same as every other player regardless of their basic skill set.  That is why there are Player Tendencies as well -- so you can adjust the team strategy to fit the individual ballplayer.  If you are like me you will adjust and tweak these settings all season long to guide your team through the league, through slumps, against specific teams and even against specific players.

For example, perhaps you are playing a team that has three rifle arms in the outfield. You might set your Running rating a bit lower than usual. Perhaps the opposing team has a history of using its bullpen to get opposing platoon players to be activated, and thereby emptying your bench and depriving the computer manager of options in the late innings. You can set your platoon players to not be activated so easily, or not at all in-game for this series. How your team reacts, and the depth of that reaction, in many situational circumstances during Autoplay is under your control here.  These all deserve very special attention even if you never read instructions because they are a little quirky and have some very specific results in some circumstances -- and not always what you would expect.  Here is what the DMB Help file says (and this is just a quick overview with a few snips taken out and added in):

Ballpark Usage

Baseball StadiumThe baseball park is like no other sport's field. Nowhere do the playing fields have a life of their own, and influence the game as much as in baseball. Nowhere else does the field itself become legendary.

The ballpark is the 10th man on the field for the home team. It is ever-present, and makes its impact known in a variety of ways that range the kamut from the subtle to the blatant. From bandbox homer houses to wide open, green pitching palaces, the ballpark is as important a part of every team's planning as who will bat cleanup.

In the ATL the franchise owner gets to pick his park from any historical ballpark located in the same geographical area (i.e. state or province) as the city of the team owned. Alternately the owner can pick from any historical ballpark used as the home field by the ballclub on a regular basis. Therefore a team like the Homestead Grays can choose any of the home fields it had -- such as Forbes and Greenlee in Pittsburgh, Griffith in Washington DC, or even the Baker Bowl, Shibe Park or other Pennsylvanian ballpark. While the emphasis is on the historical, we also realize the pervasive hypothetical nature of this league, and the reason we play -- fun.

Franchises can only change their ballparks once every five years. New owners can change their ballpark during their first off-season, and then are subject to the 5-Year Rule. No franchise has to change its ballpark, but if the owner wants to it can only be done within the above time frame. This is to promote continuity on a league-wide level.

Ballpark ratings are used that reflect a period of years where the park's dimensions remained stable. For some ballparks that is a long time. For others, only a short period. Some parks move the fences in or back almost every year to take advantage of some perceived quirk of their team. Here in the ATL owners can also change their park's ratings every year -- by selecting a different set of years for the rating base of the ballpark. Perhaps one year an owner wants Comiskey Park of the 1949-75 ratings, and then another year wants the Comiskey Park of the 1976-81 ratings, or the 1926-33 set, or any of the total of 10 different sets of years for Comiskey Park. The different sets of ratings are the equivalent of moving the fences in, or moving them back . . . or doing other major renovation work such as adding a new scoreboard or spite fence or other architectural feature that changes the dynamic of the playing conditions.

Owners are expected to help in the research necessary to define the ratings for their park. Sometimes such statistical information is hard to find, and even when it is readily available it can take several hours of number-crunching to come up with a single set of ratings for a park. Just as the emphasis is on the historical, the emphasis here is on the statistical history. The goal in selecting a ballpark is to have a simulation of the park to use in the game. That is why sets of years, when possible, are used. That way a park's ratings are not skewed so much by the play of an individual team -- we don't want to represent the team, but the park instead. Where possible we use ballplay statistics specifically relevent to the park as it relates to the league it is in. When this level of detail is not available, we use home team statistics averaged to the league and modified by the Ballpark Factor. We use weather factors issued by DMB or other reputable 3rd-party source, or derived through established narrative histories of the characteristics of the ballpark in question.

DMB rates the lefty and righty factor of ballparks for singles, doubles, triples and home runs. It also rates the weather and gives the weather an effect on the game itself. Other aspects of the park also are noted, but some are not relevent to gameplay yet. Here is what the DMB Help file says about ballparks:
And as for ratings that are not yet used by the game except in peripheral ways such as play-by-play, the DMB Help file has this to say:
The ballpark your team plays in for 50% of its games can have a huge impact on the numbers every player puts up -- every number, every player. No player is immune to the ballpark effects: not Babe Ruth, not Yutaka Ohashi, not anyone. For that matter, all the ballparks in your league will have an effect on your players, just that none will have so great an effect as the home field. Is your park a home field advantage or an albatross around your team's collective neck?

Your ballpark is as much a player on your club as any actual player, and has as much influence on the game as the field manager. It should also be an equal partner with the General Manager in regards to all roster moves, and when the time comes it should get its share of the credit for post-season success as well.

Your ballpark and your team are the yin and yang of the unique personality that is your franchise.

"Fenway is the essence of baseball"

-Tom Seaver-