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Triple Play Baseball gives you the opportunity to step into the shoes of your favorite team's manager and general manager and guide your team into the postseason and beyond.  Not only do you handle the on-field duties as the manager, using Triple Play Baseball league rules lets you sign major league free agents, draft promising prospects, and make late season trades.

The Basics

The three dice used in Triple Play Baseball are read red, white and blue to produce a three-digit number from 000 to 999. Results from 000-499 are read on the hitter's card, and results from 500-999 are read on the pitcher's card. Most results are right there on the card, but occasionally you may need to refer to an outside chart. When necessary to roll one die, generally the blue die is used, where the red and white dice are used to produce a two- digit number. There is one extra die for use in special plays, a twenty-sided die. This is primarily used on the Sending Runners? chart and some error plays.

If the result is from 000-499, make sure you look on the proper side of the hitter's card. If the pitcher is left-handed, look under the vs. L range of numbers, and of course, look under the vs. R range against right-handed pitchers. The same goes for the pitcher cards when the result is 500-999. The hitters either bat RP (right pull), RSP (right spray), LP (left pull), LSP (left spray), BP (both pull) or BSP (both spray).  Players with two ratings "LP/LSP" (or similar) are used for the range charts.  The first rating is for infield range plays, the second rating is for outfield range plays.  More on those later.

While most plays will be resolved immediately using only the players' cards, occasionally you may need to refer to an outside chart.  Some plays you will need to look at the charts almost exclusively, like stealing and bunting.  A few terms need to be defined before proceeding, however.

Skill Ratings: Take a closer look at the batting cards. Each card has information you will need to refer to from time to time to determine an outcome. In the upper right, a player's eligible positions are listed with his defense. Position is listed first, followed by range, error, and arm (if applicable). Catchers have additional ratings for passed balls and middle infielders have a double play rating. There are seven different ranges going from Superior (SP) as the best, followed by Very Good (VG), Average (AV), Fair (FR), Mediocre (MD), Poor (PR) and Weak (WK) as the worst possible. Error is a range from 1 to 20, with 20 being the best possible error rating. Throwing ratings go from -4 for the best to +3 for the worst. For all other ratings, the higher the number, the better the player is in that category. Under clutch, there are three ratings: 'T' is for someone who is feared by the opposition in crunch time, 'N' is for a normal player, and 'C' is for someone who tends to choke when it counts.

 

Speed:  A player's ability to take the extra base or leg out an infield hit is measured by his speed rating.  This is a numerical scale, the higher the better.  Pitchers' speed ratings are always 3.  Speed ratings aren’t just based on pure speed, but a player’s intelligence in knowing the situations.  Speed ratings can be adjusted to be above 10 or below 0 on some of the charts, so be aware of how good defenders can change the situation.

Clutch: It is a clutch situation any time there are runners in scoring position with two outs and the game is within 4 runs, and also occurs when the game is within one run or the tying run is on base, at bat, or on deck in the seventh inning or later in the ball game. In save situations from the 9th inning or later, only pitchers with a 'CLOSER' stamina rating retain their 'T' and other special pitching ratings. When the batter and the pitcher each have the same clutch rating, their ratings cancel each other out. A 'T' pitcher becomes 'N' when he becomes exhausted, and 'N' pitchers become 'C' when they become exhausted. All players rated 'C' in the clutch make their opponents 'T' players.

Pitcher's Stamina: Starting pitchers have a stamina number, and relievers are rated either long, short or closer. Some pitchers can both start and relieve. The stamina number is actually the number of batters the pitcher can face without becoming exhausted. Stamina adjustments and for relievers can be found on the charts. Once these stamina numbers equal batters faced, the pitcher is in danger of becoming exhausted. If the pitcher allows two baserunners to reach base by a hit, unintentional walk or error after reaching his stamina number, he becomes exhausted, and may not become non-exhausted for the rest of the game. Pitchers may become exhausted prior to reaching their stamina number if they allow five earned runs or seven total runs to score. Relief pitchers pitching on consecutive days have their stamina ratings reduced by two for each consecutive day of work. So, if a reliever with a stamina of 8 is pitching in his third consecutive game, his stamina would be 4 (8 - 2 - 2 = 4). If a pitcher starts after a relief appearance, at least one day must pass between the relief appearance and the start. Relievers who start must use the starters rest chart.

Pitcher's Batting: The pitchers are rated on two scales from 1 to 8 (8 being the best) on their ability to hit. The first rating is for the Pitchers Hitting Card, the second rating is for the pitcher’s power on Deep! Plays.  Using the special Pitchers Hitting Card is a little different from the normal card. You don't need to concern yourself with the left/right side of the cards. Look down the column that has the proper # above it. For example, the #1 and #2 card is together. If your pitcher is rated a 1, look down the #1 side of the card (the left side) regardless of the pitcher. A pitcher must have at least 40 AB in order to PH or DH, as some of the pitchers have very high averages in just a couple of at bats.

Special Pitcher Ratings: Some pitchers have special ratings that will allow them to do better in certain situations. For pitchers with the special 'B' rating for control, all even numbered walks on the hitter cards are foul balls. The 'R' rating is used when runners are on base and can turn HR into foul balls. The 'L' rating is used when leading off an inning. Pitchers who do not issue many walks to batters leading off an inning receive this rating. All walks on the hitter's card are foul balls. The 'F' rating is used by relievers. Any relief pitcher who has this rating automatically becomes 'T' for the first batter faced (it is also a clutch situation for the first batter). Also, all 1B gcf on both cards become Range - Infield plays for the first batter. All of these ratings are negated if the pitcher is exhausted, but take precedence over a clutch situation.  Pitchers brought in for relief lose these ratings if not rated “CLOSER” in save situations in the 9th inning or later.

Playing Limitations: Some players have a special '# L/R' code on their cards. These are players who did especially good on one side, but had only a small number of at bats vs. that pitcher. In order to keep the game more realistic, these players are limited in the amount of times that you may bat them against one side or another. For example, a rating of '25 L' would indicate that this player would only be able to bat 25 times vs. a lefty all season long. This number should be factored by 162 if you are playing less than a full season. If you were only playing 64 games, the player would be limited to only 10 AB vs. L (64/162*25). Players must have a platoon advantage (L vs. R or R vs. L) in order to start or PH against a side when they are limited to less than 20 AB on that side. Players that have the limitations VS L or VS R with no number listed cannot enter the game vs. that side at all, but may remain in the game if a pitcher that they are limited against is brought in to pitch.

Using the Charts

Weather: Before the start of the game (and sometimes if the weather changes during the game), you will need to roll for the weather. First, check the schedule to see if it is a day or night game, and then roll to check the temperature. After that, roll two dice to check for precipitation. For some parks, you will also need to check on the wind to see where it is blowing. Make sure to use the right month for the game that you are playing. Be sure to check the key to see what effects the weather will have on the game. Retractable domes are closed on cold, hot, or rain.  Example: Playing a night game in June in Yankee Stadium. Two dice for temperature roll 46. Checking the charts you find it is a warm night. Two dice for precipitation roll 62. It is a partly cloudy night. Wind does not affect Yankee Stadium.

Range - Infield: This is primarily where your infield defense will come into play.  All pitchers have Range - Infield plays, but some pitchers throw more ground balls that others. There are some adjustments to the fielding ratings on the cards, depending on the manager's decisions.  Note there are separate charts for grass and turf fields.

On Hit & Run plays, increase the range by 2 grades of the middle infielder covering 2nd on plays up the middle, but decrease the range by 2 grades on plays in the hole to this fielder (SS covers vs. a left-handed batter, 2B covers vs. a right-handed batter).

Reduce the first baseman's range by 2 grades on plays in the hole when the first baseman is holding a runner on 1st base, but increase the first baseman's range by one rating on plays down the line.

The first and third baseman can also guard the lines against a possible extra base hit.  Increase their range by two grades on plays down the line, but decrease their range by two grades on plays in the hole when guarding the lines.

When the infield is playing in for a play at the plate, reduce all infielder's ranges by 2 grades.  Pitchers are only considered ‘in’ when the bases are loaded or at least 3 other infielders are ‘in’, but their ranges are not adjusted on the Range - Infield chart.

Example: Frank Thomas (RSP) hits a Range - Infield play on grass.  Two dice for location roll 92.  The ball is Ripped! to 3B, a line shot.  The third baseman has a range rating of AV, and was playing at normal depth, so there are no adjustments.  Two dice roll 84, so Thomas hits a hot smash past the third baseman for a single, runners advance two bases.

Range - Outfield: This is primarily where your outfield defense will come into play. It is played exactly like the Range - Infield chart, except that there are fewer adjustments to the player's range rating.

Outfield In: The visiting manager can elect to play his outfield in any time the winning run is on third base with less than two outs in the 9th inning or later.  All Texas Leaguers and Shallow Bloopers are caught and the runners must hold.  All balls Over the Head and Into the Gap are considered game winning singles.  Balls Down the Line, runner on third does not automatically score, but may attempt.

Ballpark adjustments on the Outfield Range Chart: When playing in Colorado, Chicago NL, or Boston there are several adjustments you must be aware of when using the Outfield Range Chart. The adjustments are listed on the chart for easy access during game play.

Error Chart: Your fielder's error ratings will determine how many balls they field cleanly.  Fielder's error ratings are reduced by six when playing in cold weather or when the infield is playing in for a play at the plate.  To roll for a possible error, simply roll one die to see where the ball was hit, check the fielder's card for his error rating, and check the chart to see what two-digit number you need to roll.

Example: Jim Thome rolls an error play. Roll one die... 4 (2B).  Your second baseman has an error rating of 14.  Thome rolls two dice for a 34.  The result is an E(1), a one base error.

Wild Pitch/Passed Ball: Pitcher's frequency of wild pitches and catcher's passed balls.  In a clutch situation, if your pitcher is rated 'T' against a normal hitter, batter strikes out (do not roll for WP/PB).  If your pitcher is tired, he gives up a WP automatically.  With no runners on base, go to the Foul? chart.

Bunting: A player's ability to bunt successfully is reflected in his bunting rating. If the player the ball is bunted to is playing in, or the ball is bunted to the pitcher or catcher, the batter's bunting rating is reduced by one. Pitchers and catchers are always assumed to be playing in when bunting. There are two charts, one for turf, one for grass.  You can bunt for a hit with no runner on first, or attempt a sacrifice at any time.  Bunting ratings are reduced one additional grade when attempting a suicide squeeze with less than 2 outs.

Stealing: In order to steal a base, you must first get a jump.  The pitcher's hold and the runner's jump are used on the jump chart. The higher the jump and steal ratings the better. Reduce runner's jump ratings by 2 for steals of third base, and by 4 for steals of home. If the fielder isn't holding your runner on first, you do not need to get a jump. Runners on 2nd or 3rd that are not being held still need to get the jump. Add 2 to your steal rating if not being held on any base.

If you get the jump, the pitcher's stealing adjustment, the catcher’s throwing rating, and the runner's steal rating are used.  Also, on turf, add 1 to your steal rating. 

For middle infielders, when holding runners on 2nd, add two to their range fielding balls hit up the middle, but subtract two when fielding balls in the hole.  Pitcher's jump and steal ratings are always one.

Sending Runners?: Use the twenty-sided die on the Sending Runners? chart. Adjust a runner's speed rating by the outfielder's arm rating and other adjustments on the chart.

Deep!: A pitcher's frequency to give up the long ball is reflected in the pitcher's Deep! section. The ballpark you are playing in and the player's power are the greatest factors in a possible home run. Roll one die to check where it was hit, and two dice to go for the long ball. Adjust the wall distance for wind and for a clutch situation. In clutch situations, a 'T' hitter will subtract five from the distance needed, but a 'T' pitcher will add five to that distance. An exhausted pitcher is more likely to give up the long ball, so subtract five from the distance needed for a home run.

Example: A RSP hitter rolls a 3 in St. Louis. The ball goes to LF, which in St. Louis is a 28. The player has a power of 4, and needs an 80 to hit it out.

Playing the Game

Warming Up Pitchers: To warm up a reliever to enter the game, simply announce that you are doing so. A maximum of two relievers may warm up at any one time. A relief pitcher must have been warming up for at least two batters (the break between innings counts as one batter) in order to enter the game. A reliever may warm up for two innings without penalty, but has his stamina reduced by 3 for each inning he remains warming up after that.

Infield In: The defensive manager can elect to play his infield in to make a play at the plate or protect against a bunt. The whole infield may come in, or just the 1st or 3rd baseman. Reduce a batter's bunting rating by one in bunted to an infielder playing in, but the range ratings are reduced by two grades on the Range - Infield Chart for players in. Pitchers and catchers are always assumed to be playing in (and therefore reduce the bunting rating when fielding a bunt), but their ranges are not adjusted on the Range - Infield Chart, nor are their error ratings adjusted. Their ranges are adjusted on the bunting chart, however.

Please note that if a DP grounder is hit to an infielder playing in (not the pitcher), the result is a Range - Infield play to that player (don't forget the -2 range adjustment).

Hit & Run: With a runner on 1st, 1st and 2nd, or 1st and 3rd (runner on 3rd does not run) you can elect to hit & run. This provides the runners with extra speed when trying to take an extra base, and moves the infielders around for Range - Infield plays, but it's not without risks. A Line Out! on the hitter's card can turn into a double play, home runs on the batter's card and walks on the pitcher's card turn into a foul ball to protect the runners. You cannot hit & run with the bases loaded. For a player with the SP hit & run rating, regular strikeouts on both cards turn into possible foul outs.  “K/Tired?” results are still strikeouts.  Other H&R rules still apply.

Errors: Reduce the error ratings by 6 in cold weather and when the infielder is playing ‘in’ (both may apply).  Pitchers are only considered ‘in’ when the bases are loaded or at least 3 other infielders are ‘in’.

Pitching Around Batters: You may elect to pitch around a batter when first base is open. If a big threat is up, but you don't want to intentionally walk him, you may announce that you are pitching around the hitter. Home runs on the hitter's card and strikeouts on the pitcher's card turn into walks.

 

Emergency Pitchers: Emergency pitchers are available to use when the game is out of hand or when no other pitchers are available. You must be down by at least ten runs, and all the emergency pitchers cannot pitch more than two innings total per game unless no other pitchers are available. Each emergency pitcher can not pitch more than two innings. After every two innings or each outing, you must check for injury using a -1 adjustment of the player's injury rating.

Alternate Card Sets: The alternate card sets are players who were very limited in playing time for one reason or another. No players from the alternate card sets can appear in postseason play, as some players may have a very good card in just three or four at bats.

Charts:  Be sure to check the charts for more information on special rules.  Each season will have a new set of charts for changes in ballparks and game rules.  There may also be more information at http://www.tpbaseball.info/leagues/index.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Triple Play Baseball League Play

There is nothing more exciting than getting together with some of your friends and forming your own Triple Play League. From draft day all the way to October, you can guide your franchise through savvy trades and astute free agent signings to the World Championship. The rules that follow have been used in one form or another for over 15 years in face-to-face leagues. They have been designed to be the most realistic rules possible. They promote league parity through free agency and multi-year contracts, and the salary system has been recognized as an important step in tabletop baseball history.

The Draft

On each player card, a salary is listed determining the value of a player. This salary is listed in thousands (000). This salary takes into account many different features of the players. It has been used and analyzed extensively and is an accurate barometer of a player. Of course, depending on what you're looking for, you may be able to find someone cheaper to do the same job as the more expensive player. This salary is the cornerstone of the league, as all of your player salaries can not go over the salary cap of $70,000,000. Of course, your salary cap may increase through trades if people include money to help take care of high salaried players they may be trying to dump.

The salary cap and formula are very realistic. It promotes a good farm system to replenish any stars lost to free agency. Young players who haven't yet established themselves are usually inexpensive, but their price may skyrocket in free agency just a few years later. This is realistic and promotes league parity.

Prior to the draft, there is the annual pre-season free agent signing period. Of course, the first year of your league, there won't be any free agents, but in the following season, players who are released from teams and players who have their contracts expire will be able to test the free agency waters. Essentially, free agency is just an open auction on players.

There are two types of free agents: restricted and unrestricted. An unrestricted free agent is one who has received no offer from the team he was on the previous season. This player must be signed for at least 50% of his salary listed on his card, or the league salary minimum of $225,000, whichever is greater. An unrestricted free agent is signed by the team which makes the highest bid on the player. He is considered signed when all bidding on him has stopped.

A restricted free agent is one who has received an offer from the team he was on at the end of the preceding season of at least 80% of the last season's salary. Any team may retain the right to match an offer made to a player who are free agents by making those free agents 'restricted'. Once the highest bid on a restricted free agent has been reached, the restricting team may choose to match the bid. If matched, the high bidder gets one last bid on the player, where the restricting team may match that bid. If the restricting team does not match both bids, the high bidder gets the player.

The draft (usually held the same day immediately following free agency) proceeds as follows: Teams draft in reverse order of last year's winning percentage. Expansion teams pick first each round, and receive a bonus pick at the end of each round. All teams must continue drafting until they have a minimum of 30 players under contract. Teams must stay under the salary cap during the draft.

Multi-Year Contracts

After the draft, teams may sign newly acquired players to a one-, two-, three- or four-year contract. Each player signed to a multi-year contract is guaranteed a 10% raise from the previous year's salary for each year of the contract. So, if you sign a player to a $2,000,000 three-year contract, the second season he will earn $2,200,000 and the third season he will earn $2,420,000. Some of the salaries can get pretty high going up 10% compounded per season, but this is the only way you can lock up a player on your team without having to re-draft him or make him a restricted free agent. Multi-year contracts may be bought out by a team paying an amount equal to one-half of the player's salaries for the remainder of the contract. In the above example, if the team wanted to buy out the player after the first season, it would have to deduct $2,310,000 ($2,200,000+$2,420,000/2) from the second season's salary cap. Buying out a player can become very expensive, so make sure you sign your players wisely. Players who have their multi-year contracts bought out become unrestricted free agents.

If you are worried about switching over existing leagues all in one season, you may try increasing the salary cap for the first few years so that transferring over won't be too painful for the teams with lots of expensive players. A more realistic way in the 90's would be to implement the salary cap immediately and make the GM stay under the cap, or get under that cap if already over. This would make it seem like the team was just sold to new owners who demand a lower salary cap.

Player Limitations:  All of the normal player limitation rules are in effect, plus an extra one to prevent overuse of players with few at bats.  Players shall be limited to 120% of the innings pitched or at bats listed on the player card.  This number shall be factored by the number of games to be played in your league divided by the number of games played in the majors for the actual innings pitched or at bats available for the season.

For example, a player with 310 at bats playing an 80 game simulated season would be limited to 183 at bats (310 * 120% * (80 / 162)) for the season.  Of course, in older or strike-shortened seasons, you would reduce the "162" to the number of games played that season.

Players with 500 at bats or 200 innings pitched listed on their cards would have no limitation on their usage.  Of course, this number is also factored for older or strike-shortened seasons, so in a 144 game season (1995 MLB), use 444 at bats or 178 innings pitched to be unlimited.

These limitations keep players who had few at bats from making a huge contribution towards a team.  There always seems to be some player who hits .450 in 50 at bats, but it just wouldn't be right for him to bat 500 times in your league.

Acknowledgments

TP Baseball just wouldn't be where it is today without the many people who have played in the St. Louis TP Baseball League all these many seasons since 1985. We've had them all, the good, the bad, and the ugly, but it has always been more than enjoyable and also good learning grounds on putting out the best game possible. Quite frequently, league members are the guinea pigs for new rules and ideas. The good include all the people who suggest ideas, trying to make for a more realistic game.