Baseball simulation has become all the rage. Diamond Mind is an industry leader in baseball simulation, and fans were playing Strat-O-Matic baseball decades before Yahoo! started their first fantasy league. Baseball simming is cropping up all over SBNation, too, as Larry at Viva El Birdos and Will at Royals Review are having some fun with it all.
With them as my inspiration, I downloaded Strategic Baseball Simulator to see what possibilities it held for me. Before I even began searching for a baseball simulator I knew what my first simulation was going to be: the 2006 World Series that never was (but, in this heart, should have been). My goal was never to further lament the Mets' untimely exit from last year's postseason, but to have a little bit of fun with elastic reality.
After poking around the software a bit, I realized that in order to do what I needed I would have to create team files for last year's incarnations of the Mets and the Tigers. SBS only currently has teams through the 2005 season, and there are plenty of gaps along the way. Further, I wasn't just looking for the 2006 team rosters; I actually needed their respective postseason rosters. Fortunately, SBS's team files are simply organized text files, and the PDF documentation clearly describes how to construct one of your own.
With a bit of effort (and a bit of scripting), I created postseason roster files for the 2006 Mets and Tigers. With my teams and their players (and *their* stats) in hand, I was ready to start simming.
SBS will simulate full season, many full seasons, a series of games, or just a single game. I decided to use the latter, simulating World Series games one at a time until one team had four victories. I had considered simulating a large quantity of seven-game sets so as to (mostly) eliminate statistical noise, something that is largely present in a small sample (like a single seven-game series). In the end I decided to simulate just a single, best-of-seven series, which would more closely resemble the fickle nature of the very thing I was trying to simulate in the first place.
With that, the teams' managers turned in their respective lineup cards and Game 1 of the 2006 Sim World Series was underway.
Lineup: New York Reyes SS Lo Duca C Beltran CF Delgado 1B Wright 3B Floyd DH Valentin 2B Green RF Chavez LF -- Glavine SP Lineup: Detroit Granderson CF Monroe LF Polanco 2B Ordonez RF Guillen 1B Rodriguez C Casey DH Inge 3B Santiago SS -- Verlander SPTop 1st
Jose Reyes led off the game by tapping out to Sean Casey at first. Paul Lo Duca followed by popping out to Ramon Santiago at short. Carlos Beltran followed with a walk and Carlos Delgado blasted a two-run homerun over the left-field fence.
After cruising through the first two innings, Tom Glavine ran into some trouble in the third. After striking out Brandon Inge, Glavine allowed back-to-back singles to Santiago and Curtis Granderson. He induced a lazy fly to left field off the bat of Craig Monroe, but after David Wright booted an easy grounder from Placido Polanco to load the bases, Magglio Ordonez made the Mets pay with a two-run single that tied the game at deuces.
There's nothing as demoralizing as giving up runs after your team just tied the score, but Verlander did just that as he served up a leadoff homerun to Beltran that put the Mets up 3-2.
Glavine retired ten straight Tigers at one point, but in the seventh frame Detroit put two runners in scoring position with two singles and two sacrifice bunts. Poised to take the lead for the first time in the game, Granderson flew out to deep right to end the scoring threat.
After the Mets went quietly in the top half of the inning, Glavine struck out Monroe and got Polanco to plop one in front of the plate that Lo Duca made short work of. Ordonez followed with a sharp double, and Willie Randolph emerged from the Mets' dugout and flashed the fingers of his left hand, clearly signaling for Billy Wagner to come in and record a crucial four-out save. Looking to maximize his team's likelihood of scoring on a single, Jim Leyland brought in Alexis Gomez to pinch-run at second. It mattered little, as Wagner got Carlos Guillen to ground out harmlessly to Delgado to end the inning.
Leyland brought in Wilfredo Ledezma to keep the deficit to one run, but he failed miserably. He started out by walking Delgadom, who was puzzlingly removed from the game in lieu of pinch-runner Julio Franco. Randolph had a few tricks up his sleeve, as Franco was given a green light to steal and he wound up doing just that. Franco beat Pudge Rodriguez's wild throw to second and was able to advance to third when the throw couldn't be handled. After David Wright grounded out to short, Cliff Floyd singled in Franco to give the Mets a two-run lead. Jose Valentin flew out weakly to left, but Shawn Green singled Floyd to second and Endy Chavez followed with another single that plated Floyd and gave the Mets a 5-2 lead.
After retiring Rodriguez to start the last of the ninth, Wagner allowed a double down the line to Casey, who was promptly (and inexplicably) pinch-run for by Omar Infante. Wagner slammed the door, though, getting Inge to bounce out to short and Santiago to ground out to second to wrap a bow around the Mets's first World Series win in six years.
06 New York AB R H B W K 06 Detroit AB R H B W K 6 Reyes 5 0 0 0 0 2 Errors: 8 Granderson 4 1 1 0 0 1 Errors: 2 Lo Duca 4 0 0 0 0 0 Wright (1) 7 Monroe 4 0 0 0 0 2 Rodriguez (1) 8 Beltran 2 2 1 1 2 0 Home Runs: 4 Polanco 4 0 0 0 0 0 Doubles: 3 Delgado 3 1 1 2 1 0 Beltran (1) 9 Ordonez 4 0 2 2 0 1 Ordonez (1) Franco 0 1 0 0 0 0 Delgado (1) Gomez 0 0 0 0 0 0 Casey (1) 5 Wright 4 0 0 0 0 1 Stolen Bases: 3 Guillen 4 0 0 0 0 0 LOB: 7 0 Floyd 4 1 3 1 0 0 Franco (1) 2 Rodriguez 4 0 2 0 0 0 4 Valentin 3 0 0 0 0 1 LOB: 5 0 Casey 3 0 1 0 0 0 9 Green 4 0 1 0 0 1 Infante 0 0 0 0 0 0 7 Chavez 4 0 1 1 0 1 5 Inge 4 0 1 0 0 1 6 Santiago 3 1 1 0 0 1 Pitcher IP H R ER BB SO Pitcher IP H R ER BB SO Glavine W(1-0) 7 2/3 7 2 0 0 6 Verlander L(0-1) 8 4 3 3 2 6 Wagner S(1) 1 1/3 1 0 0 0 0 Ledezma 0 2/3 3 2 2 1 0 Grilli 0 1/3 0 0 0 0 0 R H E 06 New York 200 100 002 5 7 1 06 Detroit 002 000 000 2 8 1