Tony Discusses "Planning Your Lineup"
First of all, thanks to those of you who have already backed Tony La Russa's Baseball with Fans.
For our first update we have a video from Tony's office, where he discusses how you go about preparing for your next game and planning your lineup. These videos really do capture the feeling of sitting down and talking Baseball with Tony, which I've had the privilege of doing for over 20 years.
He starts with the big picture of planning for your next game, then focuses on the lineup and the strategy of building the middle of the order. Finally, he talks about the human side of these issues, and how it can override the purely statistical factors.
Big picture, then details, then human factors. Seems obvious, but how many times do we see managers ignore one part of this equation?
The Game Design Side
Our job on Tony La Russa's Baseball with Fans is to take these ideas and implement them in our new game for iPhone and Android.
Many of the ideas Tony raises in the video represent opportunities for you as you play the game. Did the opposing manager field a lineup with three or four consecutive right-handed hitters? As Tony points out, when you go to your bullpen late in the game that gives you an advantage.
When you bring in a left-handed reliever to face that string of righties the opposing manager has two choices... and both are bad. He can go to his bench and pinch hit a lefty, depleting the options for later in the game. Or he can watch the odds turn in your favor for an inning or more as the R vs. L factor imbalances the odds. All this works in Baseball with Fans in the same way it does in real life.
What's tougher to design into a sim game are the psychological factors Tony raises, since they vary so much by individual, and even day by day. A player who's normally patient and easy-going may have a new baby that's keeping him up at night when the team's at home, so a manager's decision that's normally no big deal may get to him.
We're going to experiment with that part of the game to see if we can strike a balance so it affects play but doesn't over-weight these factors or turn strategy into soap opera.
A great example we're considering: Pinch hit for the same position player repeatedly in situations where he has a chance to come through for the team and the "vote of no confidence" will affect his performance until you again demonstrate your faith in him.
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