Technology Gives Us Some Handy GM Training Kits
By Sam Genson
While following the Winter Meetings, I am sure that many of our readers have thought – “well why not sign this guy” or “pull off a trade including these dudes”. Heck, we at MCB are likely cornering the market on that in Tigerdom. It is a fun past-time – especially when the proposed trades are actually logical and benefit both teams (aka not sports talk radio trades). In addition to the constant discussion about lineup optimization, our writers and readerbase are essentially GMs in waiting (some, like me, will be waiting for a looooooong time). While we all wait patentienly for that phone call/email, there is a way to hone your skills…and since it is the Holidays, why not treat yourself to a little reward.
There are several ways to scratch that GM itch thanks to today’s technology. If you own a PlayStation, Wii, or Xbox you can engage in a franchise mode in games like MLB 2Kwhatever (this year’s cover athlete being Justin Verlander) and MLB: The Show (only on Sony devices). However, if you are looking for the true GM experience, I suggest migrating over to the PC/Mac side of things and check out Out of the Park Baseball (OOTP).
Unlike the console offerings, OOTP offers you the realism of multiple minor leagues, fully stocked with prospects, in addition to serious financials. Also, while the console games do allow multi-player dynasties, OOTP is specifically setup to appeal to online leagues. Think of it as fantasy baseball +. I have been playing OOTP since version 4 or 5, which came out roughly 9 years ago. It is a fun time competing in leagues filled with GMs who make unexpected and calculated moves rather than just defrauding the AI like I tended to do in the console games (because if I can get Alex Gordon for Nate Roberston, you can bet I am going to do it). The added bonus is that you can set up leagues to operate with modern day players, historical players, or purely fictional players. The leagues I have enjoyed most tend to use the fictional players because I would get frustrated if modern day players did not perform like their real-life models.
The league I am currently in has been around for almost 5 years and has 20 teams. A good number of the owners are original and also Tigers fans, so in addition to discussing our own fictional teams, we often discuss the happenings of our MLB clubs and how it related to our “pretend world” (as my wife calls it). Working out trades with teams, watching other teams draft/develop players, and seeing them sign free agents has given me a new appreciation for the real life opportunities and risks that Dave Dombrowski and the other 29 MLB GMs must endure every day.
So, why not drop a few dollars this December and start your GM training? If consoles are more your style, they are always running sales on the year end games in preparation for the upcoming released (aka roster updates) in February/March. With OOTP, new leagues pop up every week that should fit whatever you are looking for and it is a fun way to interact with baseball lovers across the world. If you want to join something that is already established, the OOTP Forums have a huge list of leagues looking for new owners (and if you want to join the one I am in, just drop me a line).
This post is not sponsored by OOTP – I am just a big fan