Wednesday, November 09, 2005

In praise of and a critique of APBA baseball

I've played APBA baseball since the 1997 season. Before that, the same players and franchises were played using Microleague baseball which goes back to the 1987 season. Before that, the games were played using a system that I created pretty much on my own, starting in 1982. Not completely on my own, at one point I incorporated some charts from a strat o matic tapletop game, but the batter-pitcher interaction was mine. Its quite remarkable what a 12 year old can do with a high aptitude in math and a set of dungeons and dragons dice.

We (myself, my brother, and a few friends) play one season per year. We used to play more, but as we got a little older we needed some more breaks. Time to run a draft, sign free agents, and update the stats for next year.

I love the graphics. There's no animation like microleague had, but a picture of a park with player labels on the field is satisfying enough. I may have switched to Diamond Mind, but last I looked there were no graphics at all. I don't need much but I need something.

I am 100% pleased with the hitters in APBA. Its not too complex, but basically handles everything it needs to. The fielding has some problems. Fielders get a grade, which determines how much range they have, how many hits they help prevent, and also how many errors they make. Why not 2 ratings? I'd like to have a player be able to have little to no range, but at least good enough hands to catch what he wants. Outfielders are 1,2, or 3. They do have a separate arm rating, which goes from 21 to 40. There's more than enough room to rate Bernie Williams, Roberto Clemente, and everyone in between on that scale. For the main fielder rating, 1,2, and 3 just isn't enough. A "1" is going to make about 19 errors per year, so I have to rate most people as a 2 or better. a "3" is your good centerfielder. Out of 30 teams, we have maybe 20 outfielders with a 3 rating, almost all in center, with just about everyone else a 2, except for some minor leaguers and people who spend most of their time as a DH anyway.

Then there's pitching. I'll save that for another day.

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