One of the joys of playing historical fantasy baseball through an online baseball simulation game is that you can assemble a team of the great players throughout baseball history for your team.
Historical Fantasy Baseball
Want a keystone combination of Ozzie Smith and Jackie Robinson? Done. Want Babe Ruth hitting in the same lineup as Aaron Judge? You got it. Or maybe you want to see how Negro League star Oscar Charleston performs patrolling centerfield in the majors. You can do that, too.
The possibilities are fascinating, the combinations almost endless.
For newcomers to Diamond Mind Online, here’s an overview of how easy and fun it is to set up a team and play.
The best gift as always with baseball are the other fans and the friends you will make along the way. But putting together a historical fantasy baseball team comes in a close second.
To get started, simply pick a league to join. You can choose a Standard League (with or without the DH). Leagues typically fill up in just one or two days. You can also choose from a variety of Custom Leagues. There are many parameters in Custom Leagues, such as the era you can choose players from, salary cap, trading rules and more. For this article, we will focus on Standard Leagues.
If you’ve ever scratched your head about decisions made by the front office of your favorite team, now is the chance for you to call the shots and get it right.
In a Standard League, you have a $100 million team salary budget. Each player receives a salary, with $500,000 the minimum. Your job is to set up a 25-man team (with three reserve, inactive players) under the $100 million cap.
Once you’ve selected your players, you set your lineups. You pick the starting pitchers to put into the rotation. You assign bullpen roles to your relief pitchers (long relievers, set-up men, closers, specialists, etc.). You pick all the position players, bench players and team and individual player tactics.
You can sign free agents, pitch trades to other team owners in your league and even loan money to get better players. All the statistics for your players, team and league are tracked every day throughout the season and accessible online.
Games are played three times a day, six days a week. Completing the 162-game schedule takes about nine weeks.
Picking A Park
Diamond Mind Online has every current Major League Baseball park available to use as your home park for your historical fantasy baseball team, as well as dozens of historical parks.
The key is picking a park that matches your team. Heavy on great pitchers? Maybe a pitcher’s park such as Dodgers Stadium might work best. Does the middle of your hitting lineup feature right-handed power hitters? Then Fenway Park, and the Green Monster in left field, is worth your consideration.
Or you can just have fun playing in a historical park. The point is, the choice is yours.
Picking Your Players
This is where the real fun begins. General managers and coaches have spent more than a century trying to solve this puzzle. Now it’s your turn.
There are 5,000 players you can choose from for your historical fantasy baseball team. In determining how players perform, Diamond Mind Online uses statistics that the real-life players accumulated during their playing career. These stats are “normalized” relative to other players in the league during that time.
For example, a good hitter in 1968, “The Year of the Pitcher,” is going to be more valuable than a so-so hitter from 1930, a year when the league batting average in the National League was .303. So, Cincinnati Reds shortstop Leo Cardenas (who hit .235 in 1968) will have more value than Reds shortstop Leo Durocher (who hit .243 in 1930).
When looking at real-life stats, categories marked with a “+” are normalized, with 100 representing the league average. For example, a pitcher with an ERA+ of 120 means he had an ERA 20% better than the league average. The “+” stats are not available for single-season leagues, although they can be accessed by following links to each player’s Baseball Reference page.
Diamond Mind Online also stores “sim stats,” which are stats accumulated by players in the simulation leagues. These are not available for single-season leagues. If available for your league, they are useful as they assess players on statistics such as fielding range and injury-proneness.
Managing The Budget
Of course, all your league opponents have the same player pool to choose from, so it’s a matter of finding the right mix of players while maintaining a budget. Spending $16 million rather than $12 million might get you a better starting pitcher – but is he $4 million better?
Those type of questions will guide you as you assemble a team that is balanced and has players with complementary skills. Do you really need four right-handed power hitters? Or more than two guys in the bullpen with closer-type stuff? Probably not, but that’s up to you. Many historical fantasy baseball players have won leagues with a variety of strategies.
Typically, your most valuable players are the starting line-up, starting pitching rotation, closer and the main right-handed and left-handed set-up men out of the bullpen. Of course, you may take a chance on a cheaper fifth starter and use that cash for a better hitter coming off the bench or a better long reliever.
Generally, a balanced roster involves spending about $70 million on position players and $30 million on pitchers. If you designate about $6 million for your non-key players, that leaves around $67 million for starting position players and $27 million for the core pitching staff.
That’s a basic example. The wonderful thing about baseball is that you can approach the game using a variety of strategies. You can spend on a few stars and surround them with role players. You can be more balanced and trying to get solid players from top to bottom. Just keep in mind that hitters at the bottom of the order will have a lot less plate appearances over the course of the season.
Also, with Diamond Mind Online you can use features such as the Use Spot Starter Option on your Pitching Rotation page, which allows you to limit the use of your fifth starter as compared to your top four pitchers.
Diamond Mind Online creates the most realistic simulation game for historical fantasy baseball that is possible. That means it’s a lot of fun. It also means it’s a challenge to win.
Unlike other games, inexperienced players don’t have to finish last for the first few years they play. Diamond Mind Online creates such a realistic game that there is no “gaming the game.” If you assemble a fundamentally sound baseball team, you will compete.
There are, however, some significant differences when playing historical fantasy baseball with Diamond Mind Online and actual baseball. Remember to take these factors into account when constructing a team.
- During any season in real-world baseball, there is a scarcity of talent. In a Standard League with Diamond Mind Online, you don’t have that issue with thousands of the greatest players of all time to pick from to build your team.
- Much like everyone has a bad week in life, even star baseball players can go into a slump – sometimes for longer than just a week or two. In real-world baseball, a GM can’t simply cut a player and then spend a large chunk of the salary to sign a replacement from a talented free agent pool. You can with your team. However, beware the temptation to constantly churn your roster. Patience is rewarded. Churning your roster leaves you at a competitive disadvantage – which is why it is known as the “death spiral.” Over time, talented players and teams typically produce the results expected of them.
- During the season in a Standard League, you’ll receive substantial income. Leverage that money to the greatest benefit, such as upgrading from a “innings eater” pitcher to an “ace.”
Winning a league is a challenge and a great accomplishment. But the real way to win is to have fun. You likely have dreamed often about managing your own baseball team. Now’s the chance to enjoy that opportunity by competing against others who also love the game.
Pick players based on sound strategy, but don’t shy away from picking someone just because you like them. If you were a fan of Catfish Hunter, then get Catfish Hunter. The same goes for players who maybe weren’t stars but who you enjoyed watching play or, if it’s a player from a different era, someone you enjoyed reading about.
All of this is based on the love of the game. On the message boards, you’ll meet baseball fans who you can chat with about the game, get advice for your team or even organize your own Custom League.
We at Diamond Mind Online love baseball ourselves. We want you to love playing this game, so we’ll never stop trying to improve it. Your suggestions and input are always welcome. If you run into a problem or have a question, please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org; if you have an idea to improve the game, send it to email@example.com.
We appreciate your business and we’re glad you’re here! Our customer service will be what you should expect – respectful, helpful and prompt. If you tried all our normal channels but still feel you did not get the service you deserve, go straight to the top – email CEO@imaginesports.com.
And now – go forth, put together your team, pick your own park, and make some baseball history of your own.