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Save Me: The Jose Valverde Story

Posted on 25 February 2013 by Will Emerson

As we roll on into fantasy baseball draft season us fantasy baseball players all across the land are perfecting our strategies, looking for sleepers, etcetera, etcetera. One common mantra among many a fantasy baseball participants is to not pay for saves and I for one believe in that wholeheartedly. Every major league team will have a closer, maybe two or three, come opening day, but how many will you really trust going into the upcoming season? More than 10? Maybe. I guess it depends on what you are trusting them to do. Obviously the biggest role for the closer in the realm of fantasy baseball is getting saves on a somewhat consistent basis. More or less, I would argue that a good fantasy closer is one that hangs onto that role for the full season, so let us start there. How many closers do you think will keep the closer role from start to finish?


It’s not really something I really thought much about in previous seasons as in many leagues I don’t draft a closer at all, but rather, pick some closers in waiting and keep my fingers crossed. Ryan Cook and Greg Holland were just a couple of guys I had on rosters last season, while I waited for them to become their teams closer, basically punting the saves category for a good portion of the season. It is by no means a foolproof strategy, clearly, and it’s hard to stick by. Predicting which closers will lose their jobs at some point in the season is by no means an easy endeavor. While advanced stats are not necessarily directly going to help your fantasy season, per se, they are our best way to gain some suspicions on what’s to come. I mean few, if any, leagues are going to use FIP or SIERA as direct statistics, we need to use said stats to extrapolate information to predict the future of a player, kind of like playing the stock market, if you will. But we’ll come back to that in a little bit, so sit tight. Back to how many closers you may trust to keep their closer roles for a full season. Half, maybe? Perhaps two-thirds of the closers? And of those how many would you say are dominant, absolutely reliably consistent closers? Half of them, if that? So what’s my point? My point is, the reason you don’t pay for closers is having an elite closer is not only hard to get, but hard to project. I would say maybe five to seven closers will be consistently great in 2013, and for a position with such a high rate of turnover, you’re better off trying to find those saves on the cheap later on in your draft. It is the position that can be the biggest crap shoot in fantasy baseball. Just ask 2012 Jose Valverde owners.

In 2011, Jose Valverde was the closer du jour for a good part of the season on a team that made the playoffs. Valverde put up 49 saves, blowing no save opportunities, while posting a 2.24 ERA and a 1.19 WHIP. A monster season to be sure. But I was suspicious of Valverde’s future. His FIP was 3.55 and he coupled that with a very low BABIP of .247. Now, after looking through several relievers’ numbers, the BABIP is not super concerning. Most closers seem to have low numbers in that regard. As for the FIP, well, that is something I read a bit more into. It is impressive to some degree to not blow any saves, but I think many may agree that there could be a good deal of luck involved for such a feat. That 3.55 FIP especially points to some luck for Jose in 2011. Not to toot my own horn too much, but I was very adamant that Valverde was headed for a decline and was a closer I would be avoiding come draft day 2012 and low and behold, what happened? Valverde ended up becoming so unreliable he lost that closer role in the biggest, most high stakes portion of the Tigers season. But was he really much worse than in 2011?

We already saw that Valverde’s 2011 FIP was over a run higher than his actual ERA, pointing to an eventual ERA regression. In 2012 Valverde regressed in that ever so precious fantasy baseball statistic, posting a 3.78 ERA and, as I mentioned, eventually losing the closer title for the Tigers’ playoff run. The interesting thing here though, is his FIP in 2012 was 3.62, not far from his 2011 number in that very same category. I am by no means a Valverde fan and in fact, I have been the complete opposite, downplaying his “greatness” to a large degree over the past few seasons. Right now, Valverde is a free agent and is being penalized for pitching as he should have been pitching, more or less, all along. Well, to some degree, as I am not going to get into the monetary ramifications, but obviously they play a large role as well. So, am I saying that when, not if, but when, Valverde finds a landing spot, he will become a sleeper fantasy closer no 2013? Is he a guy you should draft with a good feeling that he may fall back into a closer role in 2013? Well, let’s slow it down there a bit.

You see, the ERA should drop a tad and since not much will be expected of him, I guess you could consider him a sleeper candidate, in that regard. There’s no saying he can’t get a large dose of luck and save 50 games, but the likelihood of that happening is, well, not great. But the real reason I would not label him a sleeper in the closer capacity is a pesky little stat I have neglected to talk about thus far, his K/9 numbers. Say what you will about Jose Valverde, there was always the chance for good fantasy numbers in the past, because he could strike batters out at a good rate. Valverde’s K/9 has been 8.59 or higher every season of his career…until 2012. In 2012 Valverde’s K/9 plummeted to a terribly low 6.26 a two batter drop from 2011. Now if you had been following Valverde’s career numbers, and really I guess there would not be much of a reason for you to do so, you would have noticed that his K/9 rate has been slowly dropping every season since 2007. But the drop from 2011 to 2012 was a huge red flag, which probably means his days of closing in the major leagues are numbered.

Does Valverde deserve to be on a major league roster in 2013? I think so. Does Valverde belong on a fantasy baseball roster? Maybe, but not as number one closer, that is for darned sure. In my humble opinion, Valverde is still hands off, but as far as fantasy standards are concerned, if he gets signed he could have a shot at some saves, but looking for him to top 20, would be highly optimistic. So when draft day arrives, in case you were thinking Valverde is a sleeper and could magically put up his 2011 numbers, heed my warning and steer clear. It is best to just let undrafted Valverdes lie.

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OOTP 13 – The Road To Release, Part 2

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OOTP 13 – The Road To Release, Part 2

Posted on 04 April 2012 by Out Of The Park

OOTP 13 – The Road To Release, Part 2:
Real-Time Simulation: Your New OOTP Addiction!

Remember September 28th, 2011?

Watching the day unfold, with all eyes on Atlanta, Baltimore, and Tampa, was an experience never to be forgotten.

In Out of the Park Baseball, fans have the ability to enjoy such excitement year-round. However, unless you watched one game play out, you were limited to simming out the day. It could provide a singular “wow” moment, but…well, the moment was fleeting.

Not so in OOTP13.

Welcome to Real-Time Simulation…aka, Your New Addiction!

(NOTE: The game does not ship with real logos! Screenshots containing logos were taken by using a beta version of the game and are for demonstration purposes only.)

What is Real-Time Simulation?

With Real-Time Simulation (RTS), you can watch the events of each day unfold in actual real-time. Or, if you wish, you can increase the speed of the day by factors of 2, 5, 10, 20, 60, 120, or 300. During RTS, you have the entire universe at your fingertips. You can look through any part of your league or association while the day plays out. But don”t worry about missing events as they happen: the RTS Live Update Bar, positioned atop the screen, gives you all scoring updates, as well as news of special events in the making. You also have the option of speeding up or slowing down your day, as well as pausing the action.

In this particular universe, fans woke up on October 3rd to a plethora of races. While Boston, Cleveland, and the Angels had punched their postseason tickets by winning their divisions, nothing else was settled. Here is how the standings looked heading into the final day of the season:

The key match-ups worth watching, as they involved teams with playoff aspirations, were:
7:10: Philadelphia (Worley, 7-14, 3.82) @ Washington (Gonzalez, 15-10, 3.98)
7:10: Boston (Beckett, 18-8, 3.58) @ NY Yankees (Sabathia, 12-14, 4.39)
7:35: Atlanta (Hanson, 12-7, 3.24) @ Pittsburgh (Morton, 9-16, 4.69)
8:10: Baltimore (Matusz, 6-5, 3.39) @ Tampa (Cobb, 8-13, 5.12)
8:35: Colorado (de la Rosa, 14.8, 3.67) @ Arizona (Kennedy, 15-10, 4.32)
10:10: LA Angels (Bell, 13.9, 3.73) @ Seattle (Beaven, 4.4, 2.79)
10:10: San Francisco (Bumgarner, 11-11, 2.72) @ LA Dodgers (Capuano, 13-12, 3.49)

(All times EST)

The big game, however, was found in St. Louis, where a de-facto one-game playoff for the NL Central crown was held. Mat Latos, who had lived up to the hype as a front-line starter, took his 21-7 record and 2.90 ERA against the Cardinals” ace Adam Wainwright (15-12, 2.82).

That”s a lot of channel flipping. Thankfully, with RTS, you”re only as far away as the click of your mouse.

How do I use RTS?

October 3, 2012 got off to a rousing start:

2:30pm: Justin Ruggiano hits a two-run home-run in Chicago, putting Houston up 2-0. Earlier in the day, Justin Morneau”s two homers, including one in the tenth, led the Twins to a 6-5 win over the Blue Jays.

In the screenshot below, you can see RTS Central. Note the Fenway-based scoreboards that show the entire linescore, as well as the most recent action of the game. You can also see the activity on the bases. Notice a rally taking shape? You can jump right into a game via the “Watch Game” button. You can also check out the box score to see how your fantasy players are doing.

You can look at the history of the day”s scoring updates, as well as a fluid list of the day”s top performers, at the bottom of the screen. The player names among the Top Performers are clickable and will take you to the player cards.

The day goes on and Houston holds off Chicago, 7-3, while Oakland cruises by Texas, 6-1. Now the fun begins.

The Joy of RTS: October 3, 2012

7:17: Mark Teixiera”s single scores Derek Jeter. With runners on the corners and one out, Robby Cano is the batter. With Beckett on the mound, this is a fantastic chance to see some early drama. Thankfully, with RTS, it”s easy to move in and out of games seamlessly. Click the “Watch Now” button to get into the game; after you arrive, you have an added “Leave Game” option that brings you back to the RTS screen.

7:22: The Phillies begin to mount a rally, putting two on with one out. After Carlos Ruiz pops up, Ty Wigginton”s single scores Chase Utley. Scoring updates can be found in green on the linescore.

7:36: Nick Swisher homers, giving the Yankees a 3-0 lead. Want to check up on the latest news, injuries, leaders, or just about anything related to your league while the day is playing out? You”re in luck! During RTS, you have the entire universe at your fingertips. You can look through any part of your league or association while the day plays out.

But don”t worry about missing events as they happen: the RTS Live Update Bar, positioned atop the screen, gives you all scoring updates, as well as news of special events in the making. You also have the option of speeding up or slowing down your day, as well as pausing the action. During my time spent looking at the standings, the Red Sox rallied to tie the score. Getting back to RTS is easy: just click the League pull-down menu, then click on “LIVE SCORES” under Special Event. That brings you right back to the screen. You can also click on the RTS Update bar atop the screen, which will bring you right back to RTS Central.

7:54: Matt Hague doubles home two, giving the Nats a 3-1 lead over the Phillies. Meanwhile, Pittsburgh scores in the bottom of the first as Neil Walker singles home Andrew McCutchen. Braves fans are hoping lightning doesn”t strike twice.

8:05: The Yanks score two on ground-outs in the third to go up 5-3, while Washington adds another on Danny Espinosa”s single, giving the Nats a 4-1 lead. Miami has a 5-0 lead on the Mets, on Aaron Rowand”s three-run homer, while Cleveland is up 2-1 on the ChiSox.

8:17: Carl Crawford singles home Ryan Sweeney, then scores on Darnell McDonald”s two-run single, giving Boston a 6-5 lead in the fourth in the Bronx. Also, the Game Of The Day begins in St. Louis with a silencer: Joey Votto hits a three-run jack off Adam Wainwright, giving the visiting Reds a quick jump on the Cards.

8:27: The Phils load the bases on Gio Gonzalez in the fifth, only to see Ryan Zimmerman make a brilliant stab of John Mayberry”s liner, ending the threat. 4-1 Nats as the game is now official.

8:36: Kendrys Morales, acquired by the Angels earlier in the year, singles home a run, giving the Indians a 3-1 lead. Meanwhile, Jhonny Peralta hits a two-run jack, giving Detroit a 2-1 lead over the Royals in the second.

8:39: In Arizona, Carlos Gonzalez doubles home Todd Helton and Marco Scutaro, giving the Rockies a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. The Rockies need a win, plus a Giants loss, to force a one-game playoff for the NL West title.

8:41: B.J. Upton”s ground-out scores Matt Joyce, giving the Rays an early 1-0 lead against the Orioles. The Rays are in the same spot as Colorado: they need a win, plus a loss by the Yankees, to force at least a one-game playoff for the Wild Card. So far, so good.

8:42: Michael Cuddyer hits a solo shot. 3-0 Rockies.

8:50: A-Rod scores Teixeira on a single. Tie game at Yankee Stadium after five.

8:54: Atlanta plates two in the fourth, the key being Drew Sutton”s triple, giving them a 2-1 lead in Pittsburgh. Sutton, used semi-frequently in a few cups of coffee to the show, has come through in a key spot in the game. You can see his 2012 stats in the screenshot below. A careful observer would also notice that Adam Wainwright”s single has gotten St. Louis on the board in the second. The Reds still lead 3-1, but the Cardinals are not going quietly into the night…not with a title on the line.

8:59: Ben Francisco hits a sac fly, scoring Miggy Cabrera and giving the Tigers a 4-1 lead over the Royals.

9:02: The Phils are at it again, putting two on with one out in the seventh against Gonzalez. The lefty strikes out Matt Diaz, then gets Dom Brown to ground out to first. Threat over…the Nats still lead 4-1. They are getting closer to paying back the Phillies for their fans invading their park over the years.

9:07: Helton blasts a two-run bomb, giving the Rockies a 5-0 lead in the second. The underachieving D”Backs seem to be rolling over.

9:18: Miggy Cabrera is 3-for-3 with a homer and 3 RBI. His two-run job gives the Tigers a 7-1 lead over the Royals.

9:12: Pedroia continues to be Captain Clutch. His third hit of the game nets RBIs three and four. Kelly Shoppach and Carl Crawford cross the plate, giving the Red Sox an 8-6 lead in the sixth.

9:28: The Red Sox have loaded the bases with one out. McDonald is at the plate against Boone Logan. This deserves a look-in, so we simply enter the game with a click of a button.

The crafty lefty got the K, only to face Adrian Gonzalez. Fortunately for Yankee fans, Gonzalez ripped it hard…but right at Cano. They go to the stretch at Yankee Stadium…Red Sox 8, Yanks 6.

9:35: And just like that, the Yanks have stormed back to the lead, behind A-Rod”s 29th home run of the year. The three-run jack gives him four RBI for the night, 104 for the year, and hands the Yanks a 9-8 lead. The Zoo is going crazy.

9:36: Daniel Murphy hits a homer. It”s too late to help the Mets, who fall 5-1 to Miami.

9:37: Matt ejphelps Holliday”s two-run homer ties things up in St. Louis.

9:38: The Nats add a run on Rogert Bernadina”s single, giving them a 5-1 edge over the Phils. Meanwhile, the Braves tack on a run, making it 3-1. Fans are closer to a 163rd game to decide the NL East.

9:46: Diaz scores Wigginton on a sac fly. It”s likely too little, too late for the Phils, who are about to become huge Pirate fans. Meanwhile, Justin Masterson was masterful, coming within one out of a three-hitter to get his 16th win as Cleveland wins 5-1 over the White Sox. Alex Cobb of Tampa is trying to grab the top performance of the day; his six innings of three-hit ball have him third on the list, behind Masterson and Anibal Sanchez (7 IP, 3 H, 0 R 6 K, 2 BB).

9:50: Sean Rodriguez” solo homer gives the Rays a 4-0 lead in the sixth.

9:53: The Phils lose in Washington. Now the scoreboard watching begins for the Phils.

9:55: They”re getting nervous in Tampa…a Yanks win ends any drama in the AL. Boston is running out of chances, ending the eighth on Cody Ross” double-play. Shawn Marcum is tossing a three-hitter in Milwaukee, handcuffing the Padres so far.

9:59: Chris Heisley hits a solo shot, putting the Reds back out in front of the Cardinals, 4-3. They continue to threaten with two on and one out. After loading the bases, they pull ace Mat Latos for pinch-hitter Todd Frazier. He promptly grounds into a double play, ending the threat and costing Dusty Baker his ace.

10:05: They go to the ninth in the Bronx…Yanks lead, 9-8. It”s Sweeney-Aviles-Shoppach for the Sox against the timeless Mariano Rivera. He promptly strikes out Sweeney.

10:10: Jarrod Saltalamacchia grounds out. Boston is down to their final out. David Ortiz grabs a bat.

10:10 (cont”d): Rivera throws a fastball, belt-high, on the inside part of the plate. It”s a mistake that he never makes. And Ortiz hits it a long, long way…but not long enough. Granderson catches it at the wall in right-center. The Yanks celebrate around their closer, who notched his 37th save. New York wins the AL Wild Card. The fact that it”s a come-from-behind win over the hated Red Sox…well, that”s a bit sweeter.

10:11: In Tampa, things just got very quiet.

10:12: David Ross walks for a RBI in Pittsburgh. The Braves are threatening to break it open, with the bases loaded and one out, owning a 4-1 lead.

10:13: Jason Grilli worked out of the jam, getting Michael Bourn to pop up before striking out Martin Prado. Still 4-1, Braves.

10:15: First pitch is thrown in Seattle. Thanks to the Yanks, it is a suddenly meaningless game.

10:21: The Giants and Dodgers are scoreless after one. The Giants need to win to avoid what the Phillies are hoping to escape: a one-game playoff. Unfortunately for their fans, the Rockies hold a 5-1 lead in Arizona.

10:25: The Braves are threatening again with two in scoring position and nobody out. Grilli appears to like pitching in tough spots…he just struck out Brian McCann.

10:28: Chipper Jones is walked intentionally, bringing up Sutton (2-3, 2B, 3B, RBI, BB). Sutton walks, giving the Braves a 5-1 lead.

10:33: They”ve played seven in St. Louis. 4-3, Cincinnati leads.

10:35: Milwaukee 2, San Diego 1 (F): Marcum is fantastic, tossing eight innings of four-hit ball, striking out eight.

10:41: Jake Fox lines out to open Accreditation StandardsFactors that raised Defensive what is defensive driving School’s rating include:Length of time business has been operating. the bottom of the ninth in Pittsburgh.

10:42: There are no theatrics in Tampa, online casinos australia but Alex Cobb finishes off a five-hit shutout of the Orioles. He struck out 13 against no walks, taking his place atop the top performers list.

10:45: Garrett Jones doubles, scoring Walker. 5-2, Braves. The Pirates have two on with two out and a pinch-hitter coming up for Chris Resop. Jonny Venters is on the mound for the Braves.

10:47: Miggy Montero walks home with a run for the Diamondbacks. 5-2, Rockies, in the seventh.

10:48: The pinch-hitter for the Pirates is Pedro Alvarez. It doesn”t matter. He strikes out to end the game and keep the Braves” season going for at least another game. Braves win, 5-2, and force a one-game playoff in Philadelphia tomorrow.

10:49: The nation”s eyes now shift to St. Louis, where the Cardinals cannot get any offense going. They trail the Reds 4-3 as they go to the ninth. Remember, the winner of this game wins the NL Central.

10:55: Drew Stubbs triples to open up the casino online top of the ninth for the Reds.

10:56; Brandon Phillips singles Stubbs home, giving the Reds a 5-3 lead. Fernando Salas immediately throws a wild pitch, then walks Votto.

11:00: Carlos Gonzalez homers for the Rockies, giving them a 6-4 lead over the D”Backs, who woke up in the seventh.

11:04: Another Salas wild pitch scores Phillips. He has totally unraveled here in the ninth, and it may cost the Cardinals. 6-3, Reds, as they head to the bottom of the ninth.

11:06: AJ Ellis homers for the Dodgers, giving them a 2-0 lead in the third over San Francisco. Will the Rockies begin to celebrate too early?

11:10: Rafael Furcal grounds out to open the bottom of the ninth in St. Louis.

11:12: Tyler Greene hits a pinch-hit bomb, cutting the Cards” deficit to 6-4. Sean Marshall is trying to finish things off for the Reds.

11:13: Chris Young homers for the D”Backs. 6-5 Rockies in the bottom of the eighth. It needs to be asked again…are they celebrating too early?

11:15: Yadier Molina lines out. Runner on first with two outs for Matt Holliday.

11:16: Holliday flies out to right, ending the game and the Cardinals” season. The Reds win the game, 6-4, as well as the NL Central. Latos picks up the win to go to 22-7 on the year, perhaps taking the Cy Young Award in the process.

11:17: Cole Gillespie”s triple scores Ryan Roberts, tying the game 6-6 in Arizona. The Rockies celebrated too early.

Special Updates During RTS

11:19: They”ve played four-and-a-half in Los Angeles and Chris Capuano has thrown five no-hit innings. The game will let you know of special events going on, such as four hits, three home runs, or, in this case, a no-hitter being tossed. You can find these among the scoring updates.

11:20: It may be a meaningless game now, but don”t tell that to the Seattle faithful. A packed house of over 43,000 are there to cheer on the M”s. So far, their team leads 1-0 over the Angels, who clinched the AL West title two days before in Seattle. A little under an hour ago, they found out they were eliminated from the playoffs altogether. Rough few days for the M”s and their fans, but they aren”t showing it.

11:22: Gerardo Parra singles home Gillespie. Suddenly, things get very tense in the Colorado dugout. D”Backs lead 7-6 in the bottom of the eighth. This was a 5-1 game at the seventh inning stretch.

11:25: They go to the ninth after Montero strikes out looking. 7-6, Arizona. Dexer Fowler, Helton, and Scutaro will bat for the Rockies in the top of the ninth against JJ Putz.

11:28: Fowler doubles on a 1-2 count to open the ninth.

11:29: Helton singles home Fowler. 7-7 game.

11:31: Eric Young Jr., in to pinch-run for Helton, steals second, and moves to third on Scutaro”s ground out. Gonzalez is walked intentionally for Troy Tulowitzki. That”s like bypassing Mike Tyson to fight George Foreman.

11:33: Putz walks Tulo, loading the bases for Jamie Hoffmann (.235-15-36), who entered as a defensive replacement for Cuddyer earlier in the game. Hoffmann has not had as big an at-bat in his professional career.

11:36: Putz works him to 0-2. Hoffman gets him to a full count before striking out swinging.

11:38: Tyler Colvin is the pinch-hitter. He promptly grounds out to end the threat. But the Rockies salvaged their season…for now.

11:40: Capuano: Six no-hit innings. The M”s still lead 1-0, on the strength of one hit, against the Angels after six innings.

11:43: James Darnell”s two-run homer puts the Dodgers up 4-0. A triple and a wild pitch later and it”s 5-0 Dodgers.

11:45: Aaron Hill walks with two outs, bringing up Chris Young. Young, who has homered already, hits a bomb to straight-away center…only to see the ballpark swallow it up. They”ll play free baseball in Arizona.

11:50: AJ Ellis strikes out, ending the sixth in LA. 5-0 Dodgers. Capuano heads back out to the mound.

11:52: Putz goes back out for another inning and is greeted by a Jonathan Herrerra single. Fowler to the plate.

11:54: Fowler triples home Herrera, putting the Rockies up 8-7.

11:55: Freddy Sanchez singles off Capuano, ending 6 1/3 no-hit innings for the Dodger starter. Meanwhile, Jordan Pacheco is hit by a pitch against new pitcher Bryan Shaw. Runners are on the corners with one out for Scutaro.

12:00: As the clock strikes midnight, Scutaro walks to load the bases for Gonzalez. Seattle still leads 1-0 (still with only one hit), while the Dodgers lead 5-0 against the Giants.

12:03: Gonazlez doubles home two runs, giving the Rockies a 10-7 lead. He also sets a regular season record for doubles in a game with his third. He is 4-for-5, 3 2B, HR, BB, 5 RBI on the day. Not bad when your season is on the line.

12:05: Hoffmann grounds out, scoring Scutaro. 11-7, Rockies, as they go to the bottom of the 10th.

11:12: The D”Backs finally lay down. Rockies 11, Arizona 7. If the score holds at Chavez Ravine, there will be another one-game playoff, this one for the NL West title.

12: 16: The Dodgers-Giants game goes to the eighth, LA up 6-0. Seattle still leads 1-0 as Blake Beaven is two outs away from his first-ever complete game shutout.

12:20: Mike Trout, who singled, has moved up to third base on a steal. He is the tying run for the Angels with two outs and Bobby Abreu at the plate. Brandon League has come in to shut things down. The question is…can he?

12:24: Nope. Abreu smacks a two-run homer off League. The Angels finally break through: Abreu”s round-tripper was the team”s tenth hit of the night. Angels lead 2-1 as they go to the bottom of the ninth.

12:35: With two outs in the bottom of the ninth, John Jaso takes Jordan Walden deep, tying the game. It his Walden”s fourth blown save and Jaso”s first home run of the season. In his defense, he spent most of the year in AAA Tacoma while Jesus Montero got the at-bats in Seattle.

12:36: And there will be another one-game playoff. Capuano pitches eight innings of one-hit ball before letting the bullpen finish a 6-0 victory over the Giants. The one-game playoff will be in Colorado tomorrow night.

1:31: Alex Liddi”s double scores Michael Saunders, sending Mariner fans home happy. Seattle wins 3-2 in 12.

The Wrap-Up (AKA “I Need A Cigarette”)

With Real-Time Simulation, you don”t have to let your world zoom by. You can stop to smell the roses and watch the action unfold before your very eyes. On one day, there were several games with severe playoff implications, along with comebacks, no-hit bids, the kind of clutch hitting you would want from your MVP candidates, and the types of moments that make us all baseball fans.

And you get to enjoy it all throughout the year.

OOTP 13 puts a host of new tools, a redesigned and improved user interface and countless functional improvements all under your control so you can mold and shape your mega-million-dollar major league franchise or small market independent start-up to its maximum potential. The game is truly yours for the taking, so come play it your way!

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Bike Spokes and Shoe Boxes – Too Many Cards?

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Bike Spokes and Shoe Boxes – Too Many Cards?

Posted on 21 March 2012 by Tim Danielson

It almost burns my fingers to type that.  It is just one of those things that I can not wrap my mind around.  The idea ranks right up there with ‘too much money’ or ‘too much fun.’  OK, ‘too much fun’ maybe, but how can someone have too many cards?  For whatever reason, either you bought into the overproduction of cards in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, you really do have an addiction or you sneak a little more card allowance than you should, (I love you honey) you have at least one closet full of boxes of cards you have not touched in years.  So now what?  After some conversations with some friends and readers I decided that this week Bike Spokes and Shoe Boxes will look at some options to help with your *cough* problem and maybe even make yourself feel good along the way.

The first question that comes to the minds of a lot of people is what can they get for their cards?  Anyone who is computer savvy may put them all in box and list them on-line.  It will be tough to make money this way for a couple of reasons.  Unless you know what you have and take the time to correctly list and describe it you could lose out on some money, if they sell at all.  Not too many people will bid on an auction titled ’20,000 misc. baseball cards from the 1980’s.’  Bidders will ask questions like what sets(s) are they from?  Are they all different?  Are they common cards or are some star cards included?  If you want to sell your cards like this you probably do not have the time or desire to go through them and answer these questions.  Besides, do you know how much 20,000 baseball cards weigh?  It will cost more to ship them then they are worth.

A little underused but easily abused option is to take your cards to Goodwill.  Yes Goodwill will take them and you can get a tax write off for them.  Please be cautious and realistic though.  If you can not sell 20,000 cards at the ‘book value’ of eight cents per common card, what makes you think Goodwill or the government can?  A general rule of thumb when filling out the tax claim paperwork is to think yard-sale prices.  Better yet, do not even claim them at a value per card.  List them as 20,000 baseball cards for $50 or $1 per complete set.

Donate your unwanted cards to your local school.  The elementary school where my wife teaches and my kids attend has a school store program.  Kids earn school dollars for good behavior and being helpful.  Every other week, the kids can go shopping at the school store for little packs of cards that are put together.  The kids love it and I think it is a great way to keep this hobby alive by getting younger generations excited about collecting cards.  Even if the kids have never heard of the players and they retired before the kids were born!

Donate your cards to a children’s hospital or orphanage.  They may not be worth anything to you, but a handful of common cards from a stranger may be everything to a sick child or kids who do not have anything.  I try to teach my kids about giving to and helping others.  This is a great way to practice this idea.  If you ever want to see a bunch of adults and kids cry over some ‘worthless’ baseball cards, give them to one of these two groups.  If you do not feel anything, it is time to check your pulse.

Give your cards away as Halloween treats.  Parents love this because it is a little less candy to rot teeth on.  Kids love it because the cards will last them longer then the candy will and will not cause tummy aches.  I have done this before and both boys and girls seem to love it.  This is another way for us to help keep the hobby strong and start future generations on card collecting.

Keeping with the idea of encouraging younger collectors to get started, consider donating unwanted cards to a local Boy Scout troop or Little League team.  I have heard of a few Eagle Scout projects involving sports.  Fathers and sons collecting baseball cards is also part of the American dream.  I always loved getting a pack of cards from my coach one season in Little League.  Win or lose after each game we knew we would get a pack of Topps cards.  This is when I actually learned the art of trading.

Lastly, and I will admit that this was hard for me to swallow at first, is to recycle the cards.  My friend Tim Carroll has found a creative way to do this.  He actually cuts baseball cards into tiny pieces by the thousands.  Take a close work at some of his masterpieces at Tim Carroll Art.  Every time he finishes a new piece, I try not to think of all of the baseball cards who lost their lives to make it, but rather the sum of the parts and the finished product.  He actually has sold commissioned pieces of his outstanding artwork.  I am sure that he has made more money selling these pieces of art made of worthless baseball cards then he ever could just selling the cards outright.

Besides an art medium, what other uses do recycled baseball cards have?

Until next week, keep collecting, collect for the joy of the hobby and collect for the fan in all of us.

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