CUSTOM LEAGUES KINGS
If you want to play in a tried-and-true format and create your team right now, standard leagues (Classic and SSG) are open to the public 24/7. But if you want to try something different, Custom Leagues – created by customers – are there in abundance.
There are franchise leagues, progression leagues, captains leagues, high and low salary cap leagues, “rags to riches” leagues, alphabet leagues, place of birth leagues … the possibilities are limited only by your imagination.
Diamond Mind Online would not be the same if the Community did not include some of the most clever and prolific creators of Custom Leagues. We’ll be featuring one of these in this space each month.
This month we’re visiting with David (dds17) Sherwood. At any given time you’re sure to find one or more of David’s many progression leagues in the Custom Leagues list. Here’s what David had to say:
Q: Tell us something about yourself: age, occupation, marital status, where you live, and interests (apart from DMO, of course).
A: I am 50 years old and my wife and I have a son in high school. I grew up on the West Coast, a Dodgers fan, but have lived in various parts of the East Coast all my adult life.
I stopped following baseball for much of my teens, but came back to it, of all places, through an economics class. I wanted to write a term paper explaining why married men make more money than unmarried men. My professor rejected all my research ideas, but steered me in the direction of sports, because of the wealth of statistics about “job performance.” I found someone who had collected a database of baseball stats and salary information, but I had to collect the players’ marital status myself by combing through all the teams’ media guides at a local sports museum’s archive. After I’d filled my head with the names of every player in the league, I decided to have fun with it by joining an online rotisserie baseball league. Around that same time, I discovered the writing of Bill James.
My interests outside of DMO include a love of old movies, science fiction and fantasy novels and travel.
Q: When did you start playing DMO and how did it first come to your attention?
A: Like many others, I first started playing the precursor to DMO at ESPN. I was sad to see it go, but soon after found myself beta testing the DMO game and have stuck with it ever since.
Q: What is it that you like about progression leagues?
A: I’ve played all sorts of leagues, but the ones I play most consistently have been progression leagues. One of the things that appeals to me about progression leagues is that they feel more realistic to me. It can be fun to play in a league where Babe Ruth faces off against Randy Johnson, but the DMO simulation engine can only make an educated guess about how a matchup between players of very different eras would be. On the other hand, I think it does a great job in simulating matchups between players of the same era. As a result, I feel more like a GM of a team when I’m playing a progression league.
And it still leaves room for a lot of variety. I’ve played progression leagues with both the Classic and Single Season player catalogs, with both live drafts and autodrafts. I’ve played progression leagues that run a year at a time, but also two at a time, three at a time, five at a time and a decade at a time. I’ve played in both franchise-based leagues and free-for-all keeper leagues, where everyone is initially up for grabs. Some of those leagues have relatively simple rules, while others have complicated drafts, including a progression league that played in real time, playing the 2019 season when it was released, then the 2020 season, etc., where everyone drafted a pool of prospects who had yet to reach the majors. Trading is a major part of baseball, but it rarely happens in a DMO season, except in progression leagues. Some of the progression leagues I’ve been in have had a number of trades each and every season.
Q: What makes a good progression league?
A: I think a good progression league needs to strike the right balance between having a player pool that doesn’t feel dauntingly large while still giving each owner the ability to make choices that can impact their rosters. My favorite type of progression leagues are the Single Season franchise leagues I’m running right now, where we play five years at a time, starting either in 1921-25 (for leagues with only the original 16 franchises) or in 1971-75 (for leagues with expansion franchises too). With five years’ worth of player-seasons, there are plenty of choices to make, and even franchises that may have struggled in real life can compete if they can draw from the best player-seasons over those five-year periods. When I ran leagues with the same basic structure but using the Classic catalog, I used ten-year periods, because the Classic player pool is so much smaller.
Q: Is there any advice you would give to people who haven’t played in a progression league before, but would like to give it a try?
A: Some progression leagues can be more complicated than others, and some progressions can take years to complete while others take only months. My advice would be to start with a progression with a manageable set of rules that won’t take years to complete, to see whether you like it. You’ll get the most out of the experience, and you’ll be doing your fellow league-mates a service, if you can play out the whole progression, so it’s best not start out too ambitious.
I would also say that playing in progression leagues takes some patience. It’s very hard to have a great team each and every season. There will usually be an ebb and flow to a progression. For example, playing the A’s in a progression can be a lot of fun in the early seasons, but more of a challenge in the 40’s and 50’s, before it becomes fun again in the 60’s. Those 40’s and 50’s seasons can still be rewarding, though, as you try to exceed expectations, even if you lose more games than you win. With that in mind, I’d also say that progression leagues may not be for you if you care a lot about your MaxScore. To me, that trade-off is well worth it.
Last thing I want to say is thanks to all those that have participated in my leagues. I’ve had a blast with DMO progression leagues thanks to all of you.