This post is part of the 2016 Baseball Continuum Blogathon For Charity, benefiting the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation. The Roswell Park Alliance Foundation is the charitable arm of Roswell Park Cancer Institute and funds raised will be “put to immediate use to increase the pace from research trials into improved clinical care, to ensure state-of-the-art facilities, and to help improve the quality of life for patients and their families.” Please donate through the Blogathon’s GoFundMe page.
In BREAKING OOTP, I push Out Of The Park Baseball to it’s limits in various scenarios. Some will answer questions, some will settle scores, and some will push Out Of The Park Baseball to it’s very limits, to see if I can literally cause the game engine to beg for mercy.
Do you remember the Arena Baseball League? Y’know, the league where only an infield existed, an MVP had 213 HRs and a Cy Young winner had a ERA over 7? Well, now we are going in the opposite direction.
BEHOLD THE GIGANTOFIELD!
Yes, it’s a field so big it can’t even fit in the picture. 500 foot walls to all fields. And, what’s more, it has a domed roof, a wild grass field that probably was last mowed reliably three months ago, and enough foul space to qualify for statehood.
And now, the Arena Baseball League will play in this monstrosity. Let’s look at it’s OOTP park factors:
So, let’s see, according to this, batting averages will be cut in half from a neutral environment, but doubles will be twice as frequent and triples one-and-a-half times as frequent. Also, outside the park HRs should not exist.
So, after the now-anachronistically named “Arena Baseball League” expanded by two at the end of last season, ten teams will struggle against the darkness. No hope for hitters.
OR IS THERE?!?!
Let’s get started by simulating the opening month of April and then looking at the leaderboards… hmmm…
There have been two HRs (both inside-the-park) hit in the entire league. The batting leader is hitting just .318. Mark Hamilton of the San Antonio Coyotes has 28 hits… 23 of them doubles.
Now, let’s look at the pitchers:
0.58 is leading the league in ERA amongst starters. Manny Lopez, by the way, had a 8.53 ERA back when the Arena Baseball League lived up to it’s name.
Okay, now let’s zoom to the All-Star Break…
Oof. As you can see, the total number of Home Runs now stands at 3. The leading batting average is .312, and that’s the only BA over 300. The leader in doubles would already be tied for 30th all-time in a single season in the real world.
The pitching standings similarly continue to be a bit off-kilter:
Amazingly, despite how good all of these pitchers seems to be, there has only been one no-hitter in the first half of the season… and it was barely in the top ten best pitching performances of the half!
Now, let’s go to the end of the regular season and look at what has come:
Oh. Oh dear…
The best batting average is a .304. .304. That is 1968 level of bad hitting (in 1968, Yastrzemski won the AL title with a .301). However, the doubles record of 67 has been demolished, and Arturo Luna had more triples than any MLB player has had since 1925.
Now, how about pitchers?
A 0.99 ERA in 208.2 IP is very impressive, needless to say, and 306 strikeouts is more in a season than any pitcher has had since Randy Johnson was in his prime. Amazingly, there was only one no-hitter: Ron Turner’s in the first half.
Now, let’s look at the league as whole, shall we?
8 total home runs. 6998 total doubles. 564 total triples. The league as a total hit .215. Well, at least what hits did happen were usually exciting, right?
Kind of surprised the league ERA was 3.06. I thought it’d be a little lower.
So… what did we learn? We learned that pushing the fences way back is bad for offense but will cause any balls that get past the outfielders to allow for extra bases. We learned that nothing particularly “game-breaking” occurs in OOTP if you do this. And, uhm, we learned that having deep outfield fences is nowhere near as fun to write about as arena-ball fences. I mean, yes, this is partly because I’m distracted by other blogathon concerns, but it was way more fun writing about insane scores statistics as opposed to what more-or-less was just a deadball era.
Next Time on Breaking OOTP: The most controversial Breaking OOTP yet
At 8 PM: BIZARRE BASEBALL CULTURE
This post has been part of the 2016 Baseball Continuum Blogathon For Charity, benefiting the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation. The Roswell Park Alliance Foundation is the charitable arm of Roswell Park Cancer Institute and funds raised will be “put to immediate use to increase the pace from research trials into improved clinical care, to ensure state-of-the-art facilities, and to help improve the quality of life for patients and their families.” Please donate through the Blogathon’s GoFundMe page.