February 23, 2017

Playing Pepper 2017

Tyler Thornburg. A new face to the Red Sox, and
 possibly a key piece in a shutdown bullpen
As mentioned previously, the Cardinals blog C70 at the bat at Cards Conclave hosts an annual series where bloggers from each team answer some specific questions in previewing their team's seasons.

As in previous years, other bloggers also participated including fellow Baseball Bloggers Alliance members Mike from Seamheads, Christine from Boston Red Thoughts, Nate from The Loyal Bostonian and John from The Mighty Quinn Media Machine.

To see how these Red Sox bloggers answered these questions, take a look at the Red Sox Playing Pepper page at C70 at the bat.

Below are the questions with the answers that I provided. As always, I welcome your comments and thoughts:

1.Was it a good offseason for the team?  Did they do what they needed to do?  Is there any move you wished they had made that they didn’t?
No, sort of and maybe.

It’s very difficult for any offseason that involves the retirement of a legend to be considered good. The only way it could have been, is if at some point David Ortiz said “j/k, I’m coming back!”. Unfortunately, that did not happen.

Out of the Park 18!

Vote Now!
Some exciting news from Out of the Park Baseball.  OOTP18 is coming soon and below is their official press release.  Fans will have a chance to vote on who will be on the digital cover of this year’s version.  

The only Boston player on the list is Chris Sale, and he’s matched up against Clayton Kershaw, but I know if enough of my readers vote, we can get a Red Sox player on there!

The official release date of the game is March 24th, but until March 23rd you can preorder and save 10% of the regular price.  You can click here to order.

February 23, 2017

Out of the Park Baseball 18 announces the Perfect Team Digital Cover Contest

Out of the Park Baseball 18, an Official Licensee of MLB.com, MLBPA, and MiLB.com, will feature a Digital Cover for the first time, highlighting baseball’s “Perfect Team” of 11 top players at each position and the top Manager in baseball - as voted by its passionate community

Follow-up to Metacritic’s 2016 PC Game of the Year will live-stream the cover team announcement then pit the “Perfect Team” winners against the “Perfect Team” runners-up

Out of the Park Developments, an official licensee of MLB.com, the MLBPA, and MiLB.com, today announced Out of the Park Baseball 18 will have a “digital cover” for the first time in its illustrious history. Instead of choosing a single player, however, OOTP 18 will be represented by a “Perfect Team” of the 11 best players at each position - plus a manager - to celebrate the launch of the followup to the Metacritic 2016 PC Game of the Year.

“As a deep strategy game, we feel that nothing better represents what Out of the Park Baseball is about than putting the best possible team on our first-ever digital cover,” said lead developer, lifelong baseball fan, and Out of the Park Developments CEO Markus Heinsohn. “Baseball is the ultimate team game, and our fans argue every day about what makes us the best possible lineup. What better way to represent what we are all about than having them vote on the best players and manager to put on the digital diamond?”

Out of the Park Baseball 18 will be officially released on March 24, 2017. The follow-up to the acclaimed Metacritic 2016 PC Game of the Year includes several exciting new features and a treasure trove of deep improvements to its award-winning gameplay. The “Perfect Team” voting contest opens February 23 and closes on March 9, 2017. Fans will be able to choose from two players at each position as well as a manager. Winners of the vote will be officially named the “Perfect Team” and will be forever enshrined on the digital cover of Out of the Park Baseball 18.

The players in the contest that will be voted on are:

C: Gary Sanchez (NYY) vs Buster Posey (SF)
1B: Freddie Freeman (ATL) vs. Paul Goldschmidt (ARI)
2B: Jason Kipnis (CLE) vs. Robinson Cano (SEA)
SS: Trea Turner (WSH) vs. Carlos Correa (HOU)
3B: Nolan Arenado (COL) vs. Manny Machado (BAL)
OF: Yoenis Cespedes (NYM) vs. J.D. Martinez (DET)
OF: Starling Marte (PIT) vs. Christian Yelich (MIA)
OF: Jose Bautista (TOR) vs. Nomar Mazara (TEX)
SP1: Jake Arrieta (CHC) vs. Max Scherzer (WSH)
SP2: Clayton Kershaw (LAD) vs. Chris Sale (BOS)
CP: Zach Britton (BAL) vs. Seung-hwan Oh (STL)
M: Joe Maddon (CHC) vs. Bruce Bochy (SF)

The link to the voting contest is here: OOTP 18 Perfect TeamVirtual Cover Contest

On March 15, Out of the Park Baseball Community Manager T.J. Lauerman will live stream the winning team announcement. On launch week, T.J. will live stream a game pitting the winners of the contest against the runners-up. All of these events will take place live on Out of the ParkDevelopments Twitch channel, and will be archived to the Out of the ParkDevelopments YouTube page for later viewing.

From today to March 23, customers may pre-order OOTP 18 for $35.99, a 10% discount off its full retail price. All pre-order purchases include early access to the Gold Master version on March 20, four days ahead of the official launch on March 24.

OOTP 18 can be pre-ordered through this link:

OOTP 18 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.

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 the Sideline 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 the second 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) is the 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 the 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. Follow: @MLB_Players; @MLBPAClubhouse; @MLBPlayersTrust

February 15, 2017

Annual Playing Pepper Preview

Jim Rice standing next to a good looking guy,
and his personalized licence plate

Every year, C70 at the Bat which is an excellent baseball blog, hosted within Cards Conclave, mainly about the  St.Louis Cardinals, gets a feel for other teams around baseball by asking bloggers of those teams a few questions about their squad. Once again, I get to be one of the writers with the privilege of sharing my thoughts on the Red Sox on their blog.

You can look here to see what I said going into the 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 seasons. Maybe the sixth time is a charm, and I'll actually provide an accurate forecast.

This year I have been asked to answer the following questions:

  1. Was it a good offseason for the team?  Did they do what they needed to do?  Is there any move you wished they had made that they didn’t?
  2. 2017 starts the post-David Ortiz era. How different will that be for you and for the team?
  3. What’s the thinking on Craig Kimbrel? A bit of an off year or the beginning of a decline?
  4. Is there an unheralded player that people should keep an eye on this season?
  5. What’s your projection of the team’s record and/or where will they finish in the division?
  6. Who is your all-time favorite Red Sox and why?

If you've ever read anything I've said, you can guess the answer to the last question (look at the picture above!) but you'll need to wait until February 23rd to see the rest of my answers on C70.

February 14, 2017

25 Man Roster Predictions

(Courtesy of Doug Eisenhart / Boston.com)
Click on picture for Guide to 2017 Spring Traiing
Now that spring is officially here (I measure seasons based on baseball, not some random tilt of the Earth's rotational axis), I wanted to post my way too premature prediction on what the Red Sox Opening Day roster will look like.

There are many obvious positions, but as always, there will be some interesting choices to be made for the last couple of spots.

Let's start with the pitchers:

David Price, Chris Sale and Rick Porcello are guaranteed the top three spots in the rotation (in no particular order) barring any kind of disastrous injury.  The last two spots are more interesting.  The highest ceiling candidate for them is Eduardo Rodriguez.  But if he takes spot #4, who gets left out of the rotation?  Last year's AL all-star Steven Wright?  Or the lone representative from the hometown Padres in the NL all-star game, Drew Pomeranz?