Andujarsday 13. I’m not triskaidekaphobic

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Today is a special jarsday, because it is also a gameday for my Orlando City Soccer Club. It is a quarterfinal of the US Open Cup, which is one of the most fantastic things about club soccer. And I am slightly concerned that it is going to be ruined in the near future.

Since this is a sim baseball blog, I’m going to spell this out. Soccer/futbal is different than baseball and lesser popular American dominated sports in many ways. One of those ways is secondary competitions. Each year, all club teams in America compete in the US Open Cup. That includes MLS teams, USL Championship teams like Sacramento Republic, and lower division teams like Union Omaha and the team 3 miles from my house, The Villages Soccer Club. These small clubs get to compete against the biggest clubs in this tournament. It’s like a NCAA BB tournament where every team gets in.

So, why am I worried it will get ruined?  Mostly money.  But soccer teams, club and country teams, are being flooded with secondary competitions in an effort to make more money.  All MLS and Liga MX teams will have a Leagues Cup competition starting next year.  Champions Leagues are expanding.  World Cups are expanding.  FIFA is talking about more frequent World Cups.  Country teams rarely play friendlies because each federation has a Nations League now.  The saturation point is coming.

Well, I’m going to enjoy the Open Cup game tonight.  In a weird twist, Orlando has gotten lucky.  Weird because Orlando fans including myself love to point out that MLS loves it’s big clubs* and Orlando isn’t a big club.  Orlando City, and to a lesser extent tonight’s opponent, koller’s Nashville, have gotten lucky as the winner will be the home team in the semifinal game AND if they win that, they will host the final as well.  Orlando City hasn’t had a road game in the Open Cup yet this year.  That is the equivalent of winning 4 coin flips so far and 6 total if they advance to the final.  Orlando never gets lucky.  I hope my seat isn’t number 13.  

I hope you were not expecting a ranking listing today.  It’s going to take some time before I get in there and build it out.  This last week I’ve finally dug in and started trying to develop some new strategy for this new world we play in.  

I enjoy learning things slowly and without a manual. Solving the puzzle is a journey. Only when it gets painful do I consult the instructions or specs or youtube. I have taken the same tact with USB.

To be clear, I’m not talking about giving suggestions on things to improve/tweak/fix/rollback.  I’m looking at building strategies and knowledge to be a little better than your friends that you are competing against

To solve the puzzle you must first identify the problem.  Here are the changes that present a new puzzle for the user community:  

Overall ratings: I don’t trust these yet. I like them, the idea is great. But trusting them, that will take time. I’ve learned to ignore CN as high CN results in more GIDP. The release did talk about improving CN’s effect, but I just don’t have that level of trust right now. I much prefer to look at individual potential ratings and judge myself.

I’m in one league where I don’t get to see individual potentials and that is a mental struggle for me.  In those leagues without individual ratings, I look at the distribution of the actuals and hope all ratings are near the level of the development path.  I am much less likely to draft a hitter whose highest rating is CN or AR or GL.

Along the same thinking, pitcher defense does absolutely nothing for me.  They field one or less ball a game, so I ignore that and only look at the bottom left number/letter for pitching.  Again, distribution is important here.  I don’t want a pitcher that relies exclusively on CO.  If any HR, RA, GL or AR rating is much higher than a pitching related one, that’s a red flag. 

Potentials as letter grades: This is an easy one for me. I just mentally give a number to each letter grade. Depending on my mindset, it could be the ceiling, floor or midpoint of each range. I like the idea of not knowing everything about a player on draft day. CBT has developed a plugin if you desire more options in this area.

Seafat hidden, sorta: I still think seafat is a very important thing to manage. Pitchers with seafat throw less pitches put outing and start losing effectiveness earlier in games. I have started trying to build a listing of starting pitchers EN, IP and seafat to know how many innings a pitcher can throw with zero or minimal seafat. This will allow me to rest them throughout the season to keep them fresh for the postseason or important head-to-head games.

R/L hidden: This one bothers me right now. The only way to tell platoon effectiveness is a drill down tab on the player page. It is painful to look through each player card to find this info. I’m hoping this is addressed in a future update, but this one hurts me. A stats page with each players righty and lefty splits side by side would be really useful. Without it, I use generalizations. I tend to platoon my poor hitters and start my best hitters in both lineups. I platoon hitters with bad EN. I’d like to have more information that make these lineup decisions, but right now I do not.

Park effects change: My thoughts here haven’t changed much. I like grass because turf is plastic and I want my players to like me. Turf is fake. Turf hurts knees. Swallows Vince Coleman. Grass is pretty. The world needs ditchdiggers and groundskeepers. Striping grass is awesome, striping turf is ridiculous. Atlanta United has turf and they are awful plastic people. Anyone who has turf in the 2000s hates America and Canada and anywhere else sim baseball is played. In terms of competitiveness, I use turf when I have better defense.

Please, take my advice with a huge grain of salt.  I’m not RychyRych or anybody else with over 100 titles.  I’m just one guy who enjoys this game.

Spring Sports Contest Update

Final Standings:

21 drinkslinger

17 citizenclone, Humie87

15 GB Ray, randyb33

13 andujar, balmers

11 crimedog60, fyewiks

Congrats to slinger on the victory.  It is his first victory in his first contest played this year.  

Yearly Standings

This is the participation medal section of the game. 

46 clone (3 contests played)

41 jar (3)

40 Humie (2)

22 Fyewiks (2)

21 slinger (1)

3 jpax (1)

* I could write a lot about how MLS loves it’s big clubs. NYCFC is allowed to play in Yankee Stadium while other expansion clubs are forced to build a soccer specific stadium. Yankee Stadium is about half as wide as a soccer field should be. Slight exaggeration, but only slight. Miami tried signing more than the 3 allowed DPs, they are almost, but not quite a preferred big club. I don’t think their punishment was very severe though. LAFC somehow signed Gareth Bale to a TAM deal, not a DP deal. LAFC also signed Giorgio Chiellini to a TAM not DP contract somehow as well. Chicharito was on Orlando’s discovery list (an MLS roster mechanism) yet somehow gets to Galaxy without any compensation. Zlatan also gets to Galaxy. Somehow no MLS team bothered to add Miguel Almiron to a discovery list until Atlanta was coming into the league