Updates to PDF Files
1950-1959 seasons were updated on February 25th.
1960-1969 seasons were updated on February 11th.
1970-1979 seasons were updated on March 6th.
1980-1989 should be updated by March 15th.
1990-2022 will be updated in April and May.
(Seasons before 1950 haven't been released yet. 1919-1949 should be available before the end of May.)
I mentioned last year that I was working on the following improvements to the player cards:
In addition to the above, I've also made the following improvements:
1. Realistic distribution of outs among fielders. The number of putouts, assists and double plays by each position now matches real-life totals much more closely. This doesn't affect "high-level" stats like Batting Average and ERA; but it will improve the accuracy of defensive stats like Fielding Percentage and Range Factor.
2. Changes to some defensive ratings (Arm, Range and Fielding). As part of the above, I tweaked some ratings to improve the statistics produced. You might notice that Arm ratings were nudged up a bit for right fielders, and reduced a similar amount for left fielders. I don't think any rating was changed by more than 1 point.
3. Tweaks to pitcher Stamina ratings to create more realistic complete game totals.
4. Removed intentional walks from pitching stats before calculating card results. (I was already doing this for all batter cards). Most pitchers are affected very little by this change. But it will improve the cards for relievers that were asked to throw a large number of IBBs:
5. Added a small feature to Batter Cards to show a player's base-stealing "aggression".
New cards have been uploaded to the server for the 1960-1969 seasons. If you buy any of these seasons today, you will receive the most current files. If you already purchased any of these seasons, you should already have a link to these files. (And if you can't find it, send me an email.)
I plan to update all seasons from 1950-2022 before I start publishing seasons before 1950. If you notice any problems with these cards, please let me know so that I can correct them — and avoid making the same mistakes on the remaining season sets.
New Feature on Batter Cards
For the 2022 Season, I've added a small new feature to the Batter Cards:
For "aggressive" base stealers (with an Aggression of 3 or 4) the word 'Steal' is shown in red on their card (the mnemonic I'm using is "red = reckless").
For "selective" base stealers (an Aggression of 0 or 1) the word 'Steal' is shown in purple on their card (the mnemonic I'm using is "purple = prudent").
'Steal' is shown in black for all other players (those with an Aggression of 2).
To decide if a player will attempt to establish a lead:
1) Start with the baserunner's Speed.
2) If 'Steal' is shown in red, add 1 to this number.
3) If 'Steal' is shown in purple, subtract 1.
4) If this is equal to or greater than the catcher's Arm rating, roll to establish a lead.
I'm still working on some tweaks to the above rules based on the in-game situation (and trying to keep them simpler than the Auto Manager rules in the rulebook). Until then, these should serve you fairly well in terms of reproducing each player's season.
The Hidden Player Rating: "Aggression"
Baserunners in Season Ticket Baseball have two ratings that determine their success when trying to steal:
1. "Steal" determines whether the runner "establishes a lead" ("getting a good jump" would also be an accurate description). To establish a lead, the runner rolls both ten-sided dice and adds their Steal rating. If the total beats the pitcher's Hold rating by 10 or more, the runner has established a lead and must attempt a steal.
2. "Speed" determines whether the steal attempt succeeds. The runner rolls all three dice and adds their Speed. If the total beats the catcher's Arm rating by 10 or more, the runner is safe.
(Note: The same method is used for stealing second base or stealing third base. Stealing home uses the same system, but greatly increases the difficulty by bumping the catcher's Arm rating up to 12.)
However, there's a third rating that I call "Aggression" which measures how often a player tries to steal. "Aggression" isn't shown on the card, but I am starting to include it with the ".csv" files included with each season.
Aggression has 5 levels:
0: Only try to establish a lead if Speed is 2+ points higher than Catcher's Arm.
1: Try to establish lead if Speed is 1+ point higher than Catcher's Arm.
2: Try to establish lead if Speed is equal or higher than Catcher's Arm.
3: Try to establish lead if Speed is within 1 of Catcher's Arm (or higher).
4: Try to establish lead if Speed is within 2 of Catcher's Arm (or higher).
So, for a runner with a Speed of 5:
With Aggression=0, they only try to establish a lead if the Catcher's Arm rating is 3 or lower.
With Aggression=1, they try to establish a lead if the Catcher's Arm rating is 4 or lower.
With Aggression=2, they try to establish a lead if the Catcher's Arm rating is 5 or lower.
With Aggression=3, they try to establish a lead if the Catcher's Arm rating is 6 or lower.
With Aggression=4, they try to establish a lead if the Catcher's Arm rating is 7 or lower.
How Aggression is Calculated
For each player, I iterate through all possible combinations of Aggression, Speed and Steal to determine the best ratings for their SB and CS totals.
Imagine a player with 0 Aggression, 6 Speed and 3 Steal. An Aggression of '0' means they only roll to establish a lead if the catcher's Arm is 4 or less. I then look at this player's opponents to find the Arm ratings of every catcher they will face and calculate the percentage of the time they will be on base against a catcher with an Arm of 4 or less. In a typical league this is about 35%.
I then count up all the pitcher Hold ratings to figure out how often a player with 3 Steal rating will successfully establish a lead. This is about 30%. Then I estimate the number of times the player will be in a steal situation (e.g. on 1st base with 2nd base empty). IIRC, this is about 110 for an average full-season batter.
110 x 35% x 30% = 11.55 successful times establishing a lead (i.e. 11.55 steal attempts)
I then calculate that 70% of these will be against an Arm of 4 (86% success chance) and 30% of these will be against an Arm of 3 (90% success chance) for a total success rate around 87.2%. So the 11.55 steal attempts will result in 10.07 SB and 1.48 CS.
What if I raise their Aggression to 2?
2 Aggression means they roll to establish a lead if the Catcher's Arm is 6 or less. This is something like 85% of catchers. A player with 3 Steal rating will successfully establish a lead about 30% of the time. Using the same 110 times on base:
110 x 85% x 30% = 28.05 steal attempts
I then calculate that:
3.4 attempts will be against an Arm of 3 (90% success chance)
8.1 attempts will be againts an Arm of 4 (86% success chance)
8.9 attempts will be againts an Arm of 5 (80% success chance)
7.6 attempts will be againts an Arm of 6 (74% success chance)
This results in something like 23 SB and 5 CS (82% success rate). So my total number of SB went up but my success rate went down (as one would attempt when being more aggressive). I do this for all combinations until I find the best Speed and Steal ratings for each player.
I got an email recently asking if Season Ticket Baseball was "stable". I've made changes over the last few months, and they wanted to know if they could buy the game without worrying about the need to re-print or re-purchase everything a year from now. Here's what I said:
— I think the game was "80% done" in October of 2021 and it's now "95% done".
— The Player Cards haven't changed much, and won't change significantly going forward. Player Cards constitute the bulk of the investment (of time and/or money) needed to play. So I've worked hard to ensure that you don't need to re-print or buy new Player Cards. (For example, there was too much offense on the cards released in December, but this could be fixed by reprinting the Stadium Cards and continuing to use the same Player Cards.)
— PDF purchases include permanent links to the most current files for every season. If you buy a season, that includes access to any fixes.
To sum up, I feel the game is "stable", but there are still improvements that I plan to make. Just so you know, here's my current "to-do" list:
1. Release card sets for the 1950-1974 seasons. (Before the end of May.)
2. Make full printed seasons more affordable. I'm hoping to have an announcement on this soon.
3. Streamline and expand the Auto Manager rules. I have some ideas to simplify these rules, but it will take some time to get it right.
4. Fold the "Basic Game Rules" and "Sample of Play" into the main rulebook. I still haven't decided the best way to delineate the rules (e.g. "Basic", "Advanced", "Super Advanced").
5. Changes to Rare Plays. I just added a few new results, and I'm seeking feedback on the "Alternate Rare Play Rules" on the Downloads Page.
6. Improve the Stadium Cards. I think the layout needs work and I still need diagrams for a lot of stadiums. And people keep asking why domed stadiums have weather tables, so I might do something to address that.
2. The data is incomplete. Most data sources don't include the number of Sacrifice Hits (SH) and Sacrifice Flies (SF) allowed by each pitcher. Because SH and SF aren't counted as at-bats, they need to be subtracted from the number of Batters Faced (BF) to calculate the Batting Average allowed by each pitcher. We estimate SH and SF allowed by each pitcher, causing the "BA vs. L/R" calculations to differ by a few points from other databases.
What's a "K23"?
Because of this, early versions of Season Ticket Baseball include K23 results on every catcher's Defense Table. But here's the problem: I don't like the K23 result. It's not fun or interesting. (It is fun and interesting when the ball gets away from the catcher and the batter reaches safely. But this play is much rarer).
It's also not realistic to describe all these "dropped third strikes" as 'K23'. Sometimes the catcher tags the batter. And sometimes the batter just walks back to the dugout and is called out by the umpire.
Finally, the rule is complicated. For example, if there is a runner on first and less than two outs, the batter is automatically ruled out — to prevent the catcher from intentionally dropping a third strike in order to create a double play — changing a 'K23' to a simple 'K'.
Therefore, I'm in the process of changing all K23 results to "2-3" ground outs (and adjusting the results on other cards to make up for this change). If you think the K23 result is interesting and you don't like this change, you can interpret all 'K' results on the catcher's Defense Table as K23. This will fairly accurately represent the number of dropped third strikes without altering strikeout totals.
Too Much Offense on Stadium Cards
Update: All of the Stadium Cards have been updated and can be found on this page.
The Stadium Cards released over the last fewl months have about 6-8 too many hit results on them. For example, these are the Old and New versions of Fenway Park for 1986:
If you look at the top of the right column on each table, you'll see that the old card has 8 more die rolls (666-673) that result in a hit. Eight die rolls out of 600 possible results doesn't seem like a lot, but its enough to drive up batting averages by about 15 points (e.g. pushing a league batting average from .265 up to .280). New Stadium Cards will be uploaded here before the end of the week (Friday, January 21st).
Fixing Existing Cards
If you've already printed cards (or purchased printed cards), the easiest workaround is to find 7 consecutive hits on your current Stadium Cards and change them to outs. For example on the above card you could change the rolls from 673-679 to outs. The type of out depends on how complicated you want to make things, but you could use the last digit (e.g., 673 = F3, 674 = F4, etc.)
If you're curious how this happened, I had bad data for Sacrifice Flies and Sacrifice Hits, and these numbers are needed to calculate the total number of plate appearances in each season. Again, this may seem inconsequential, but removing a few thousand plate appearances from the data changes things.
Adobe Acrobat is the default application for printing PDF files. Unfortunately, it adds an (unwanted) margin around the entire page that can make the whitespace for each Player Card somewhat asymmetrical. To get around this:
1. Select “Properties” from the File Menu (or type Ctrl-D) and click the Advanced tab.
2. Change Page Scaling from “Default” to “None”.
3. Click "OK".
Alternatively. you can open the RTF folder included with each purchase and print the ".rtf" files using Microsoft Word, which doesn't have this problem.
Hit & Run Results
I recently improved the result tables for the Hit & Run rules. The Hit & Run is still resolved in the same manner, but I've made some changes to the results that are affected, and how they are affected. My goal was to improve the statistical realism, but I also simplified the rules in the process.
In the previous rules, there were two double play results that became hits, depending on the handedness of the batter. For a right-handed batter, the second baseman would break to cover 2nd base on the Hit & Run play, leaving a hole on the right side (with the reverse being true for left-handed batters). This motion by the defense is part of the reason that the Hit & Run play raises batting averages by about 30 points in Major League Baseball, and this is the reasoning behind the old table (at right).
However, I realized that real baseball doesn't work this way. Sometimes the defense switches things up in an attempt to fool the hitter. (A good example of this can be seen in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, where Wally Backman covers 2nd on the Hit & Run, despite the fact that the left-handed Wade Boggs is batting).
I looked into ways for the Hit & Run to create the correct benefits (increased batting average and prevention of the double play) without relying on the handedness of the batter. Digging into the math, the Hit & Run play in Season Ticket Baseball already increases batting averages by 30 points — by reducing the number of strikeouts. Being aggressive early in the count cuts down on both strikeouts and walks, and the rules correctly simulate this by changing both 'K' and 'BB' results into a 2-strike count that doesn't end the at-bat. In order to strike out with the Hit & Run on, you essentially have to roll a 'K' result twice. This rule, by itself, increases batting averages by 30 points — exactly the amount that I was trying to design into the system.
These are the effects of the Hit & Run with the new rules:
It's tough to confirm whether this table perfectly match real-life, mostly because it's hard to identify all the Hit & Run plays in the statistical record. But I'm confident that they are pretty close. If you'd like an idea of the research I did, I recommend starting with this article at Baseball Prospectus.
Stadium Card Correction
IMPORTANT: Many Stadium Cards for seasons before 2021 have an error (see attachment). Because this error added about 9-12 hits (“1B”) that shouldn’t have been there, it increased league batting averages by 15-20 points.
These will be fixed on or before December 17th. In the meantime, you have a couple choices:
1) Open the “RTF” files (e.g. in MS Word) and make the changes below before printing.
2) Print the PDF files and make these changes with a pen or pencil.
The Season Ticket Baseball blog. Check back for product updates.