June 14, 2018

Pedro inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame

Three years ago, I was fortunate enough to see Pedro Martinez get inducted into Cooperstown, and then went on to Fenway to see him #45 get retired.  I wrote about that here.

It was such a great experience seeing him and all his fans, that I was excited when I found he was getting inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.  (We're all well aware he's not Canadian. And no, Canada doesn't have so few players, that they claim anyone born outside of the U.S. as one of their own. But he became a star when he played in Montreal, winning his first Cy Young award there, and was beloved by Expos fans).

So excited in fact, that I gave up plans I had to see the Red Sox play in Seattle this weekend. Going to Safeco when the Red Sox visit, has become a sort of almost annual tradition. I missed last year's series, which included Rafael Devers making his MLB debut, hitting his first home run, and a Sale Day, and didn't want to miss Boston's only trip to Seattle this season. But, a chance to see Pedro trumps that.

I have had bad luck going to see Pedro. In 2001, when I saw that the Red Sox were playing a four game set in Toronto over a long weekend, I flew there to watch him pitch. They had games from June 29 to July 2nd, and his rotation spot was on July 1st, so even if it got pushed back a day I'd see him.  But he got put on the DL right after his start on June 26th.  So I got to watch the unforgettable, Rolando Arrojo take his turn in the rotation on Canada Day instead.  (Note: To his credit, he did his best Pedro imitation in probably the best outing of his career, taking a no-hitter into the 7th inning, and leaving with a 2-0 run in the 8th, only having given up one hit).

Then in 2004 I went to Fort Myers to watch some Spring Training games. Followed the Red Sox throughout the week, catching eight games in total. Pedro only pitched once for two innings. Next time I saw the Red Sox was in Phoenix in March 2005, and Pedro was no longer with the organization.

Again, as luck would have it, I won't be seeing Pedro this weekend either:

As disappointed as I am, it would be selfish of me to be upset about this. I am more concerned about Pedro and his health.  Mejórate pronto!  Nos vemos la próxima vez, Pedro.

June 07, 2018

WIN 4 Green Monster tickets!

As you can see below, the Red Sox tweeted about the opportunity for fans to receive the ultimate game-day package to raise money for (RED):

For just $10, fans will be entered for a chance to win the following:

  • 4 front row Green Monster tickets to the Boston Red Sox vs. the Seattle Mariners on June 22, 2018
  • 4 on-field passes to get an up-close view of the Red Sox batting practice
  • Access for 1 person to throw out the ceremonial first pitch at the game 
  • On-field photo opportunity for you and your guests
  • Join an exclusive group tour of the ballpark to learn the history behind Fenway Park
  • 1 (RED) swag bag
  • Round trip flights within the continental United States and accommodations for you and your guests are covered:
    • Includes two (2) hotel rooms for one (1) night and airfare for four (4) people

Fans can enter today at IfOnly.com/RedSox. But hurry up, as the sweepstakes ends on June 15th at 3 PM PST. For those wanting to not leave it to chance they can also bid on a suite package that fits 20 people, allowing them on-field access and a tour of the stadium. Both packages benefit (RED).  And don't worry, if you can only think of 19 people to go, I know one Canadian who would gladly help you fill up that 20th seat.

This is a great opportunity to win a once in a lifetime experience for any Red Sox fans, and benefits a great cause. (And sorry to my Canadian (and other) readers, but this contest if only open to US residents).

Good luck to all!

March 28, 2018

Red Sox barely miss playoffs!

The new version of OOTP is out
and it's better than ever!
As mentioned last week, I got my hands on the latest version of OOTP.  And like I did last year, I started simulating the current season, by naming myself as Red Sox manager. While last year I played the season slowly, starting around Opening Day and finishing during the playoffs, this time I wanted to run through it quickly, in the week I had between getting the game and Opening Day.
The season started great. By April 20th I firmly had the Yankees in the rear view mirror, already having a 5 and a 6 game win streak. This was largely fueled by Mookie Betts who was on absolute fire, winning April’s player of the month award. And then it happened!

March 22, 2018

Out of the Park Baseball 19 Available!

This is how I feel right now!
That time of the year is finally here!

In game play at Fenway Pahk!
Yes, I know it's still one week until Opening Day, but OOTP has released its latest version of Out of the Park Baseball, and I've got my hands on it! I'll be playing it soon and write a review shortly, but for now, here is a copy of their official press release.

Also, on March 28 at 7 PM Eastern time, MLB Network will feature the results of a 2018 season & playoffs simulation conducted in OOTP 19. Last year, OOTP 18 (as well as some random Canadian Red Sox blogger) correctly predicted that the Houston Astros would win the World Series.

If you want to get your hands on a copy of this, you can get it here.  Save 10% for the next 7 days.  If you're still unsure, check out the trailer below:

March 22, 2018

Out of the Park Baseball 19 Now Available Worldwide

OOTP 19 features dramatic 3D enhancements, a redesigned interface, new scouting systems, ultra-realistic artificial intelligence, 2018 Opening Day rosters, and more!

Out of the Park Developments, an official licensee of MLB.com, the Major League Baseball Players Association, and MiLB.com, announced today that Out of the Park Baseball 19 is available worldwide, ahead of the start of the 2018 Major League Baseball season on March 29. 
OOTP 19 offers dozens of exciting new features and deep improvements to its award-winning gameplay including a dramatic 3D in-game engine that shows players pitching, hitting, fielding, and running the bases. Images of the new in-game engine can be found in the screenshot bundle and in the trailer.

Out of the Park Baseball 19 includes:
New 3D stadiums and 3D player models with improved on-field movements, including running, sliding, jumping, and throwing.

New in-game screen design for an optimized virtual dugout.

2018 roster sets with all Opening Day MLB rosters, as well as the complete minor league system from Triple-A to rookie leagues and the Arizona Fall League. All Major League (and over a thousand minor league) player ratings will be based on the popular ZiPS player projection system. The 8 international leagues, as well as independent minor leagues in the US, also return this year with accurate rosters.

Rewritten scouting reports that give a more detailed and realistic look at players.

New tournament modes! Create a stand-alone tournament bracket and draw any teams in history into it. The possibilities are endless!

Ultra-realistic AI roster management and in-game decisions.

A reworked ratings module.

User voting for end-of-season awards.

Many more improvements, including:
Redesigned interface, with the ability to choose between 6 different fonts

800 custom team logos for fictional leagues

Improved Manager Home screen, with a more customizable layout and new widget options

A new stat -- RA9-WAR (WAR based on runs allowed) -- for pitchers

Delayed substitutions for injured players

And much more!

This summer, Out of the Park Developments will unveil an exciting new online mode called PERFECT TEAM. An open Beta will happen this spring, and the company will announce more information soon.

Customers can purchase OOTP 19 for $39.99 from OOTP Developments through this link:

OOTP 19 is also available on Steam:

And on Electronic Arts’ Origin:

OOTP 19 runs on PC/Mac/Linux and like last year it features the American League and National League logos, the World Series trophy, official logos and jerseys for all 30 MLB teams, over 150 Minor League Baseball league and team logos, and historical MLB logos.

OOTP creator Markus Heinsohn conducted an interview for the Out of the Park Developments blog which can be read here: http://blog.ootpdevelopments.com/an-interview-with-ootp-creator-markus-heinsohn/

OOTP 19 predicts the 2018 season

On March 28 at 7 PM Eastern time, MLB Network will feature the results of the 2018 season + playoffs simulation conducted in OOTP 19. Last year, the game predicted that the Houston Astros would win the World Series. Will it make the right call again?

A look back at OOTP 18

2017 was a record-setting year for Out of the Park Developments, which boasted more than 120,000 players of OOTP 18 around the world. More than 3.5 million hours of the game were played on Steam, which equals 405 years. A record peak of 1,147 concurrent players was set on Nov. 9 on Steam, and South Korea is now number two in total sales, surpassing Canada.
The most-accomplished achievement in OOTP 18 was a five-game team winning streak and the three rarest achievements were a player hitting 4 home runs in a game (accomplished by 0.4% of users), a pitcher tossing a perfect game (0.5%), and a hitter having 10 or more RBI in a game (0.6%).

Quotes from OOTP Developments executives

“After nearly 20 years of development, we’re still finding ways to make Out of the Park Baseball even better,” said lead developer, lifelong baseball fan, and Out of the Park Developments CEO Markus Heinsohn. “We can’t wait for our fans to see what we have in store this year.”
“Out of the Park Baseball is unique. Its high quality, delivered over two decades, has created generations of loyal fans who recognize it as the gold standard of sports strategy games,” saidOut of the Park Developments CMO Richard Grisham. “Out of the Park Baseball 19 is our best version yet, purpose-built for those fans. We couldn’t be more excited for it.”

About Out of the Park Developments 
Out of the Park Developments is the developer of the award-winning OOTP and MLB Manager series of baseball management simulations, Franchise Hockey Manager, and Beyond theSideline Football. German-based OOTP Developments was founded by Markus Heinsohn and Andreas Raht in 1999. OOTP Developments has consistently produced games that have met with critical acclaim, including winning Metacritic's coveted “PC Game of the Year” for the 2016 version of OOTP and "Game of the Year" for the 2007 edition of OOTP, which remains thesecond highest-rated PC game on Metacritic of all time. Further information on the company and its games is available from the OOTP Developments website,http://www.ootpdevelopments.com

About MLB.com
Established in June 2000 following a unanimous vote by the 30 Major League Baseball club owners to centralize all of Baseball’s Internet operations, MLB Advanced Media LP (MLBAM) isthe interactive media and internet company of Major League Baseball. MLBAM manages the official league site, MLB.com,and each of the 30 individual Club sites to create the most comprehensive Major League Baseball resource on the Internet. MLB.com offers fans the most complete baseball information and interactivity across computers and mobile devices, including up-to-date statistics, game previews and summaries, extensive historical information, online ticket sales, baseball merchandise, authenticated memorabilia and collectibles, fantasy games, live full-game video streaming and in-progress and on-demand highlights, live and archived audio broadcasts, Gameday pitch-by-pitch application, Statcast tracking technology, around-the-clock hosted and specialty video programming, complete blogging capabilities, console and mobile video games and the award-winning At Bat and Ballpark mobile applications. MLBAM powers more live events across the Internet than any other company in the world.

Major League Baseball Players Association
The Major League Baseball Players Association (www.mlbplayers.com) is the collective bargaining representative for all professional baseball players of the thirty Major League baseball teams and serves as the exclusive group licensing agent for commercial and licensing activities involving active Major League baseball players. On behalf of its members, it operates the Players Choice licensing program and Players Choice Awards, which benefit the needy through the Major League Baseball Players Trust, a charitable foundation established and run entirely by Major League baseball players. In 2017, the MLBPA launched Infield Chatter, an innovative social media app created by the Players for the fans and available in the App Store and Google Play. Follow: @MLB_Players; @MLBPAClubhouse; @MLBPlayersTrust.; @InfieldChatter  

March 07, 2018

Playing Pepper - 2018 Red Sox Preview

Which David Price will show up this season?

Time for the annual Playing Pepper preview hosted at the Cardinals C70 website, which previews every team. I was again one of the writers asked to answer some questions on the Red Sox. Below are the questions and answers, which are now also up on the C70 blog.  Check there daily for previews of the other MLB teams.

1. What are your thoughts on the offseason?  Did the club improve over the winter?
Until the middle of February, saying it was a slow off-season would have been an overstatement. Other than signing Mitch Moreland (who was our regular 1st baseman last year, so not much of a change there), the only other announcement was with someone named Sam Adams – who I doubt could hit a major league fastball. Anyhow, once spring training got rolling, the Red Sox made some moves that have undoubtedly improved the team. First of all they signed Eddie Nunez, who will presumably fill in for Dustin Pedroia until his activation from the DL, and then will be a super-sub utility player. And then they finally signed JD Martinez – like everyone had been waiting for since November – to be a middle of the order power bat/ DH / 4th outfielder. The Red Sox were sorely lacking in the power department last season, so this was the main area of improvement they needed, and they accomplished that with the best player they could acquire without a trade.