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Thread: League Primer

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Charlotte, NC

    League Primer

    I've had many BM players that are new to leagues ask me exactly how they work. Sometimes that is the barrier to joining a league - people don't know how it works, and it can be daunting to just dive in. I thought writing this small primer would help - maybe it generates interest, or educates just a little. Maybe we can 'sticky' this if it looks to be a helpful resource.

    I've been in quite a few leagues, maybe 12 total in the past 4 or 5 years, but I'm sure my experience is not all-encompassing. There are undoubtedly other ways of doing things, so feel free to add to the discussion.

    How Does a Baseball Mogul League Work?

    Running the League

    In most leagues, the average GM doesn't have access to enter commish mode or simulate games. The league has a commissioner (or several) that has the ability to edit the actual game file. They are the ones that execute trades, import your changes (budgets, tickets, lineup, etc) and run the actual Sim.

    Sim mode and commish mode are password protected, and only commissioners and admins have this password.

    Sim length and frequency can vary, but most leagues sim 2 or 3 times a week, each sim around 15 days. So you set your lineup how you want it, and any injuries or issues that occur during those 15 days are out of your control. So have some depth!

    Where are they located?

    Most leagues are run on a forum - very similar to this BM forum. There are topics and threads for things (free agents, trades, general talk) and to participate you post a reply or new thread in one of those areas.

    To join a league, you just visit the forum, create a login, and request the team. Someone can send you the file via email, or sometimes the file is available up on the league board.

    How do I manage my team?

    .TEAM file
    Every 'owner' or GM downloads the current .MOG file, makes their changes (ticket prices, budgets, concessions, lineups, rotation, minors, etc) and then exports their team file. This can be done from Advanced Tools menu (Tools -> Advanced Tools -> Export Team Settings and Pending Transactions). You then upload your lineup file (as the Red Sox, mine would be on the forum, where the admin will download it and throw it into the next sim.

    The .TEAM file contains your lineup and pitching rotation, from MLB all the way to the minors. So any roster moves you have made - like trades, signing free agents, or releasing guys - has to be in sync in the league and in your file. The .TEAM file also contains all your team settings - strategies (bunt, start on short rest, etc), budget settings, ticket prices, concession, broadcast, etc.

    You can negotiate with other teams around trades simply by sending them a private message. Most leagues have a forum section for your trade block where you can post what you are dealing or seeking. Some leagues have actual real-time chats like XAT enabled where you can talk directly with the other owner when their online.

    Once a trade is agreed to, usually you must post it with both GMs publicly agreeing. In some leagues you must state your reasoning for the trade, and in some cases it needs to be approved by trade moderators. This is to ensure that no one is cheating, or making bad decisions that hurt the team or league in the long run.

    It's safe to say that a 'live' draft via chat utility like XAT, conducted on a certain night when the majority of GMs are free, is the most popular option. Players that cannot attend will send in their draft preferences, or a ranked draft list, for the admin/commish to use when drafting for them.

    However, you can conduct a draft via message board thread, where each team makes a pick by posting their selection in that thread. This can take weeks, though, especially if you have more than 16 teams.

    Re-Signing Players
    It's not quite as simple as single-player, where you can beat a player up forever with marginal offers. But when you do meet the requirements and get a successful negotiation, you post that in the appropriate thread, so the Admin/Commish can input your new contract into the file.

    This can get dicey, as the team that holds onto all their talent has a huge advantage. So some leagues will implement limitations or rules around re-signing your guys. Some will have time restrictions - no resigning in April (when guys' demands can be low with underperformance) or no resigning after August. Others will have time restrictions - no resigning guys that have less than 5 years service time (so their price goes up via arbitration). Others will limit the amount of times you can negotiate (three submissions and that's it, for example). Others force you to one, flat rate that they will resubmit endlessly until the player accepts.

    Mogul allows for both full-length extensions, or arbitration. Most leagues will have each GM sim through the resigning period and decide what to do with each case. There are known issues around this - some players will 'pop' early despite not having enough service time, and others will look all year like they are headed to Arb, but then end up not popping. Some leagues, however, make all GMs work from the listing of 'Expiring Contracts' in the bottom of the screen. Some leagues even eliminate or disallow arbitration, meaning you HAVE to sign an actual contract with your arb-eligible players. This simplifies some things (players don't have to sim), but can hurt competitive balance.

    Sign and Trade
    Another setting you may see is 'no sign and trade'. This means you are not allowed to extend a player and then flip him to another team, instead of letting him hit FA. Some leagues will prevent trading a re-signed player for a year, others just until mid-season. Allowing teams to sign their players to extensions, and then flip them for prospects, cash, or draft picks, means they profit from a player they never intended to keep. It does happen in real life, of course...

    Free Agents
    There are some differences between in-season free agents and offseason free agents, in some leagues. It boils down to you posting a thread for the player you are interested in, and making a bid. Other GMs can top your bid - more dollars, more years, whatever the league settings are. Leagues may have a minimum initial offer, or a minimum bid. There can be complex rules around the bidding process - does your dollar total just have to exceed the previous guy, or does the per-year total need to exceed instead? Or both?

    There are leagues that go so far as to have agents working on behalf of the free agents in an offseason class. These Scott Borases will take the players feelings into account and try to land him the best deal, or get him to the best place to fit his personality and needs. Some FAs just want money; the grizzled 36 year old wants a shot at the WS ring; the Nick Puntos of the world want the best shot at making the lineup every day. I haven't played in these leagues personally, so if someone can add more, great.


    There are all kinds of varied settings around the BM league world. It's important to find a league that suits your needs and desires.

    BM Version: obviously you need the game in order to download the .MOG file and make changes, so pick a league that matches your owned version(s).
    Era: A league that starts today will quickly zoom into the future, where known players are few and far between. However, a 'retro' league will require working around things like integration in the 40s/50s, changes like the DH, and of course expansion.
    Equalized Cities or Not: Equalizing the teams is unrealistic, but stops the big-market teams like NYY from steamrolling everyone via cash.
    Equalized Expenses or Not: The amount your team spends on scouting/medical/farm. Not equalizing them means a constant arms race, so equalizing is more popular.
    Commish Mode and Sim Ahead Locked: This is almost always locked, but some leagues let everyone sim ahead or see player's hidden potential if they desire.
    DH or not: Some leagues use the DH in both leagues by default (actually very popular). Others keep the NL the way it is - meaning you need 4 lineups once inter league play happens.

    Pretty much any BM setting can be explored here, but those are the most relevant ones.
    Last edited by Alloutwar; 06-04-2014 at 09:31 PM.

    Quote Originally Posted by gleklufdshlaw View Post
    Unfortunately, I do not have all the answers...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Charlotte, NC

    Re: League Primer

    Special Features

    League play obviously means you play against other humans - to some people's minds, the only challenging way to play Baseball Mogul. But on top of that, there are other features that innovative league owners and creators have come up with over time.

    Rewards for Articles - if you post an article about your team, or about the league, you'll get some small cash reward.
    Other cash rewards - from submitting all lineups, to referring friends, to helping organizationally, each can mean thousands in cash in some leagues.
    Waivers - put a guy here that is making a lot, and you don't want to pay to release him - maybe someone will snatch him up.
    Free Agent Compensation - just like today's world, if you sign a high-quality free agent, you must forfeit a draft pick. This helps ensure competitive balance, and gives some impetus for teams to let FAs walk. Some leagues separate Type A and Type B. The compensation can be a simple tit-for-tat (sign a Type A, lose your 1st rounder) or a sandwich pick for a later DP (lose your 5th or 6th round, but the team that lost the FA gains a sandwich pick after the 2nd round, for instance).
    Post-Trading Deadline waivers - Allows you to trade pieces after the deadline, assuming they pass through waivers, just like MLB!
    Trading draft picks - MLB is behind the times, but why should we be? Mortgage your future for that LOOGY you need now.
    Winterball - send your youngsters here, and in exchange for some cash, they might develop a point here or there.
    Rehab - send a player with health issues to rehab, and for some cash their health might bounce back just a bit.
    Stadium enhancements - need a place to put that extra money? How about improving sight lines, comfort, or maybe adding some seats to Wrigley or Fenway?
    Team Bank - are you making money, but annoyed at players that request more and more in Arbitration? Maybe its that $50mil in cash! Some leagues allow you to 'bank' extra funds, moving it out of the game file and eliminating the problem.
    International Free Agents - what would baseball be without Ichiro, Tanaka, Dice-K and the other imports? In one league, we went to the extreme of creating players, requiring teams to pay to scout them, and then submit private bids, with the winner getting the IFA.

    Issues with League Play

    The main issue is stability. A lot of leagues will falter and collapse shortly after being created, as people lose interest. There are some very flaky GMs that bail after a week or so. There are others that stick around, but contribute very little - no trades, no posts other than the mandatory ones...this can hurt a league. You want activity.

    A poor commissioner or team of administrators can doom a league or make it difficult to play in. There are duties beyond downloading files and running the sim! If people are openly insulting, if administrators are openly biased, if problems in the league persist and fester and aren't addressed - you have a management failure. Luckily most commissioners and moderators will be impartial and professional, and most will be wise enough to share the load and have other board moderators, trade moderators, etc. Everyone will have a reputation, so feel free to inquire!

    Balance is the next issue. If you get a Yankee team rolling in a league without equalized cities, things can be less than fun for the rest of the GMs. It's a good idea to let the relative 'newbies' control the bigger market teams - if you get a pro in a big city, he could dominate for decades.

    Balance can be harmed by poor trades. When I was first starting out in a league, guys would come after some of my prospects hard, and eventually I would give in - I'm a nice guy, this was my impulse. It ruined me for a while when those prospects bloomed and the crap I got back faded immediately. So if you are new, don't jump at every offer. Look to a veteran and bounce offers or ideas off of them. If one guy fleeces a few teams out of their blue chip prospects, he'll have a steamrolling team in no time. This is the main reason trade moderators exist.

    Also, teams being able to re-sign their star players willy nilly (with no restrictions) can doom a league. If you have stars coming up, and as soon as they are eligible to negotiate with, you lock them into a cheapy 7-year deal, that's great for you, but bad for the league. If everyone does it, there are no FAs of value and teams just stagnate. This is why leagues combine FA compensation with re-signing limitations.

    That's it! Any other pieces to explore or cover, add them below!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2007

    Re: League Primer

    Thank you for doing this, it's very helpful for new GMs!

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