Thursday, March 01, 2012

Baseball Manager (BBM)

posted by Jon Williams
Baseball Simulation games are becoming very popular with the Advanced Fantasy Baseball crowd. These games are offering experiences that are coming closer and closer to feeling like a MLB General Manager. Baseball Manager or BBM is one of the classics of this sub-section of the fantasy industry . I spoke to BBM owner Josh Metzger about his game.

1. What makes Baseball Manager different from other baseball simulation games?

Baseball Manager (known as BBM to its loyal fans) provides users the most realistic fantasy baseball game. Users play a 162-game season. Just like Major League Baseball. Users set different lineups, one to face left-handed starting pitching, the other lineup to face right-handed starters. Just like Major League Baseball. Users manage a bullpen, making sure they have enough pitchers to throw all nine innings, relying on long relievers and short relievers. Just like managers do in Major League Baseball. Salary caps and salaries are particularly unique to Baseball Manager as no salary is predetermined before a league drafts like so many other leagues. Salaries are established by where managers rank their players in the draft lists with a higher ranking producing a higher salary, which provides a drafting strategy not available anywhere else. Only in Baseball Manager can fantasy baseball users get stats from last night's games plugged into their lineup to produce a box score and a game result with a win or a loss. Unlike some rotisserie games where you wait for cumulative scores, BBM is involving, immediate and often addictive because it challenges you to deal with the daily demands and dramas real GM’s and managers confront

2. Twenty-two years is an eternity in the Fantasy Sports industry. What is the origin story for Baseball Manager? How has the game evolved over twenty-two years?

BBM was created and launched by Prodigy in 1991, and created the game and its unique Scorecard® algorithm, our scoring mechanism which appeals to sabermetric fans. In the early years, Prodigy would use BBM as a means to market the Prodigy Service. It was the first game of its kind on the Internet.

Comparing BBM of 1991 to today's BBM is like comparing the Pony Express to Federer Express: when BBM was launched it was only available on Prodigy and it did not nearly have as many features as it does these days. Since GameLine (led by former Prodigy employees who believed in BBM and bought it as Prodigy was downsizing) bought it, the game has evolved dramatically. It was the first game to offer Keeper Leagues online. It partnered with Fox, Sports Illustrated and ESPN to offer their users a simulation game. Last year, we introduced at our site, www.baseballmanager.com, Progression Leagues, which enables the best players in fantasy baseball to compete against other tough competitors in a ladder format. And this year, Baseball Manager is the first simulation game to be offered as a game on Facebook. For free! Other enhancements include: Free Agent bidding, Stadium effects to impact your offense, and the option to have a Disabled List.

3. What makes Baseball Manager so appealing to fans of Sabermetrics? Does good statistical analysis add to the enjoyment of the game?

Basically, Scorecard® factors your team’s offense (hitting and base running), your team’s defense (pitching and fielding), and your opponent’s offense and defense in determining game resolution. The game appeals to Sabermetrics fans because it is based on real baseball rather than a points system and stats like on base percentage, WHIP, slugging percentage, etc. are vital to BBM success. Situational stats, like RBI and saves, are meaningless in Baseball Manager and likely not very important to fans of Sabermetrics.

4. I understand there are different levels of game play. Can you explain some of the differences between them and what might makes each version special?

We offer a wide range of games to appeal to all managers. We offer a FREE 54-game version of BBM available on Facebook that serves as an introduction to the game. We offer two 162 game season versions of the game: Ultimate and Express. Within each version there are different price points. The different price points provide different levels of prizes. The main differences between Ultimate and Express games, in addition to price are: (a) in Ultimate users need to set lineups to face left-handed pitching and right-handed pitching whereas in Express you only have one lineup; and (b) in Ultimate there are two rounds of playoffs as the top 4 teams in the ten team league advance to the playoffs after a 162 game season. A full list of our league offerings is here: http://www.baseballmanager.com/fantasybaseball/signup.asp

5. What does a potential owner need to do to get started?

To get started, just visit www.baseballmanager.com and enroll. Or go to www.facebook.com/baseballmanager and try the free version on Facebook.

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