Introduction 1903, New York City. At long last the owners of the Federal Association and the National Association have come to terms, and there is peace in the baseball world once more. The crisis began 3 years ago, when the Federal Association, the longest running professional base ball league in these United States decided that talent shortages and lack of competitive balance deemed it necessary for the league to cut their number of teams from 12 down to 8. This gave a crucial opening for the National Association, an upstart league founded in 1892 and based largely in the midwest, to catapult themselves into national prominence. 3 of those 4 teams cut from the Federal Association jumped over to the National Association. Bolstered by its newfound strong presence in the major cities of the Atlantic seaboard, the National Association was able to compete directly with the Federal Association, and thanks to its cheaper ticket prices, comparable talent, and cleaner overall image (the National Association notably did not sell or allow alcohol into their games), it was the National Association which appeared to be coming out on top. This was a glorious time for the players. The rise of the prominence of the National Association undermined the Federal Association's infamous reserve clause, a clause written into every player's contract preventing him from playing for any other team for life. Player contracts soared from an average of $1200 per year to over $4000 as players freely jumped from team to team. It was a return to the chaos of the early days of baseball before the introduction of the owners. Things came to a head in 1902 as one player, Wellington Hough, simultaneously agreed to two separate contracts with two different teams, one in the Federal, and one in the National Association. When a judge ruled in favor of the player (and thereby benefiting the National Association at the expense of the Federal), it was the final nail in the coffin for the oldest baseball association in America: the Federal Association waved the white flag. The owners of both leagues convened in New York to finally and officially settle the dispute. The National and Federal Associations would coexist as the only two major leagues in North America. The several other upstart leagues which had enjoyed the benefits of such a chaotic environment, such as the Atlantic League, Lakes League, and Appalachian League, would be squashed. The reserve clause would be recognized and enforced by both major leagues and all minor leagues - no longer would players be free to jump from team to team as they so pleased, and consequently costs would be better controlled for the players. A standard set of rule changes - most notably a rule enforcing called-strikes on foul balls - would be agreed upon. Finally as a symbol of the newfound accord between the Federal and National Associations, the top teams from each league would get together and play in a World Series to decide the best base ball team in the world - the first time the World Series was to be played since the now-defunct National League played against the Federal Association in 1888. This new accord between the two Major Leagues of Base Ball is full of bright opportunities. A world of cheating, cut-throat business deals, and winning at any cost. The possibilities are endless, it takes but one enterprising owner to reach out and snatch them. What This NES is About This is a NES set in America, predominantly in the United States in the year 1903. Players in the NES (to avoid confusion I will refer to you the participants as players and the fictional baseball players as ballplayers) will take the role of part-owner and part-manager as they will create teams, sign and trade players, negotiate contracts and compete to be the best team in base ball. This is more than simply a game about baseball though. You don't necessarily have to know anything about the sport, and it may just be more entertaining if you don't. This isn't the baseball of today - with the heavily staffed offices of scouts, GMs, assistants to the GMs, and highly trained statistical analysts. The world of base ball from 1903-1920 was replete with eccentric owners who saw their teams as trifles - side projects for their amusement while they focused on more important tasks. Harry Frazee, an owner of the Boston Red Sox was notorious for selling ballplayers - notably Babe Ruth - to the Yankees to help him finance his first love - broadway shows. At the same time baseball was equally replete with austere former ballplayers and baseball men who had ruthlessly crawled to the top of the baseball world and saw ownership as their primary source of income. Owners such as Connie Mack of the Athletics and Charles Comiskey of the White Sox were notorious for their stinginess, acquiring players and then selling them for all they were worth their next year, gutting entire teams for all they were worth the instant they ceased to provide value. This wasn't to say Comiskey and Mack didn't value putting a good product on the field - Comiskey spent a small fortune (from his own personal savings, no less) to try to bring a World Series title back to Chicago at long last. At the end of the day, baseball at this time was no different to the myriad other trusts and industries running rampant at this time. Labor disputes, collusion, unethical practices, and a blatant disregard for employee health was a fact of the time, and one you the player is going to have to navigate. How This All Works You the Player will create a team. I will then provide you with a roster to start with. The game will progress by turns, and each turn will span 1 month of the game year, with offseason turns spanning 2 months instead of 1. During each turn you will submit orders. The orders can be as detailed or vague as you like. You are free to hire a manager to defer all in-game decisions, but you are just as free to give me game-by-game lineups with baserunning tendencies and substitution preferences. In addition to lineup cards you will also inform me via orders of any actions the owner takes to mitigate ballplayer disputes, owner-owner feuds, and any side-projects you may wish to carry on. I will then simulate the games using a program I've designed, and update you on the results of those games, in addition to any major news events going on in the world of baseball. Scoring in this game will be based on prestige points. It's important to remember that this is not a game about baseball, but about baseball's owners. Although baseball is a major focus of this NES, and putting a successful product on the field will be the fastest and most effective way to earn prestige, points will also be awarded to players who roleplay well at the expense of their team's well-being, players who are stingy, and players who are the savviest businessmen. There are many ways to skin a cat in this NES. What I Need From You Right Now If you are interested in participating in this game, you are free to join, however you must apply. For now there will be a total of 16 spots available - 8 teams in each league. In the future I may open it up and allow for 2 players to participate as Presidents of the leagues, as well as owners of potential future upstart leagues. It really depends on how many people I get showing interest in the game. To apply I will need 4 things from you. I will need: the league you wish to play in, the city you wish for your team to be based out of, a backstory/history of your team ([Federal Association was formed in 1871, with the earliest earliest teams developing 1868-1870; majority of the teams forming throughout the 1870s and early 1880s.] [National Association was formed in 1894, sprouting from the Midwestern League which was founded in 1885. The earliest teams will come from the mid-1880s, with the majority of teams developing in the mid-1890s]). The backstory section is also where you should include any nickname(s) the team may have, as well as uniform designs. If you want to outline what type of team it is (good pitching, bad hitting, for example), you are free to do so and I will take that into account when I form the teams. Finally, I will need your owner's name, and his biography. Rules for applications: No racist nicknames. Travel concerns and demographics made it such that at this stage cities in the Midwest and the Atlantic Seaboard were really the only viable options to host ballclubs. As such, any city you choose can be no further south than Virginia, and no further west than Kansas City. The city you pick can be no smaller than 80,000 inhabitants. You can use this page as a reference: http://www.census.gov/population/www/documentation/twps0027/tab13.txt You can also start in Toronto or Montreal if you wish to be a bit more...Canadian. http://forum.skyscraperpage.com/archive/index.php/t-123807.html Keep in mind that you will be responsible for scheduling and that population sizes will affect your attendance (your primary source of revenue). Each team is required to play every other team in its league 22 times before September 30th. You will be penalized for every game you do not play in the form of a fine, excepting games called due to weather. Also keep in mind that your sole form of travel is rail, and passenger trains averaged just 20 mph during this time, so distances are a very real factor that you're going to have to think about. Finally keep in mind that many cities at this time carried blue laws which explicitly banned the playing of baseball within city limits on Sundays. This will be in play, so you may want to be aware of whether or not your city had blue laws. Thanks for reading this, I hope you decide to join in this little NES of mine. I think it's going to be a lot of fun! The real thread will start just as soon as I can form the teams. Oh and ONE MORE THING! While it isn't required for you to be schooled in or even particularly knowledgeable about baseball to play this game, it will definitely help you be successful. I would recommend at least familiarizing yourself with how baseball looked in this era. These are some book recommendations for anybody looking to learn about the period or gain some extra knowledge to help them: The Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract - This is a fantastic starting point for anybody interested in learning about baseball's history. Bill James is, in my mind, the greatest baseball writer ever. He's fantastically fun to read, with a great deal of knowledge, and he does a good job of bringing each decade of baseball to life. Crazy '08 - A history of the 1908 baseball season. The primary inspiration for this NES (alongside the Historical Baseball Abstract). It provides excellent information on how baseball looked in this era from both a player and ownership perspective. Good information about how contract negotiation tended to work. Eight Men Out - A history of the Black Sox Scandal of 1919. It's a little late for the start date, but the deadball era was the deadball era. Again it provides good information on how deadball baseball worked. Baseball In The Garden of Eden - A history on the formative years of baseball. I'm not a big fan of John Thorn but his research is sound. This one may help in developing team histories. Ken Burns: Baseball - Probably my all-time favorite documentary series. Ken Burns does a really good job of bringing baseball to life in this series, although a lot of the information is very pie-in-the-sky and New York-centric. A good starting point if you don't know anything about the history of baseball. In addition to books on the history of the game, it may behoove you to inform yourself about baseball statistics and analytics. Although sabermetrics are not required to succeed at this game, the simulator I created is based on sabermetric principles. Players wishing to get a leg-up on the competition (or who wish to learn more about baseball statistics) should consult these books: Moneyball - A history of the 2002 Oakland Athletics season. This book does a good job of preventing some of the more basic principles of sabermetrics in a very readable style. This one is a real page-turner. The Book: Playing Percentages in Baseball - Tom Tango's revolutionary work. This book looks at the statistics between a lot of "baseball strategies" like bunting, stealing, intentional walks, and lineup orders. It's important to take with a grain of salt, because the deadball era was a very different beast than what Tango is talking about. It does lay down the principle behind wOBA, the single most important statistic you can use. An excellent and fundamental read for any sabermetrician. Baseball Between the Lines: Why Everything You Know About the Game is Wrong - A Baseball Prospectus Book (Nate Silver is a contributor in this book). Like The Book, this one looks at a lot of fundamental "baseball principles" and tries to identify if they hold water. In addition to being a thoroughly interesting read, it introduces some interesting concepts like fielding evaluation and lineup ordering. Any of Bill James' Baseball Abstracts - Again, Bill James is perhaps the most important baseball writer of all time. Each of these yearly abstracts is chock full of information that may be useful to you. In the main thread I will provide a glossary explaining many baseball terms, statistics, and the concepts behind them. If you have any questions about statistics, what they mean, or how to use them, feel free to ask me and I will be more than happy to help you out.