Anti-List: American Baseball Association

Austin Bristow II discusses his custom OOTP league, the American Baseball Association.

DISCLAIMER: Each and every team logo appearing in the American Baseball Association is the respective property of the organization, team, or artist listed here. Neither Austin Bristow II nor Pitcher List owns any of the team logos. All logos are intended to enhance the player experience of the ABA. Neither Austin Bristow II nor Pitcher List will collect any monetary gain from the use of these logos.

Anti-List is the satire and entertainment section of Pitcher List. Enjoy this article as it’s all in good fun.

 

I love Out of the Park Baseball. Between OOTP16-20, I have over 1,000 hours of gameplay. While the majority of that time was spent adjusting rosters, negotiating trades, and simulating games, another very sizable chunk was dedicated to creating the American Baseball Association.

For those who aren’t familiar with the game, Out of the Park Baseball is a very unique baseball video game. Unlike MLB: The Show, RBI Baseball, or Backyard Baseball, the player does not control players on the field. The goal is not to hit a home run or throw a no-hitter, but rather to put together a team that is capable of doing so. The player takes control of a major league baseball team as either the manager, general manager, or both. As the manager, you will set your team’s lineup, control when pitchers leave and enter the game, and call for steals, bunts, and other plays during the game. The general manager’s role (my personal favorite) is more extensive, including drafting prospects, managing your team’s 25-man roster, and negotiating contracts.

The sheer level of detail put into the game is incredible, from accurate gameplay functions to player personalities. Maybe the best feature of OOTP is the capability of creating a custom fictional league. About four years ago I set out to do just that – create a league that was all my own. Essentially, I created an alternate baseball reality with fake teams full of fake players in real cities. Instead of the Philadelphia Phillies, the City of Brotherly Love is home to the Robins. Some major league teams are located in cities that are not represented in the MLB, such as New Orleans and Las Vegas.

Upon creating the league, I took the time to find custom logos for all 26 major league teams, and later, designed custom jerseys and caps for each of them. Fast forward to a few months back and I was discussing the league with some folks in the Pitcher List Discord server (join us!) and they wanted to know if I could post the game files. After thinking it over, I decided to oblige, but only after an overhaul of the league data. Over the past few weeks, I’ve expanded the league from 28 teams (prior expansion took place about a year into playing) to 30, found new logos for many of the minor league teams, and designed home and away jerseys as well as caps for all 150 teams. It has been a labor of love that has culminated in a product I can be proud to share with all of you.

If you’re interested in downloading and playing the American Baseball Association, the game file is included in a link at the bottom of this piece. If you’re interested in reading about how I created the league and their jerseys, a bit of the ABA history, and more, read on!

 

Organization

 

The ABA is organized very similarly to the MLB: 30 teams separated into two leagues and six divisions. The two leagues, the Revolution League and Expedition League, are roughly separated by the Mississippi River, the RL to the east and EL to the west. The two leagues are then separated into three divisions each, as represented on the map below. The Revolution League is comprised of the Colonial Division (blue), Southern Division (pink), and the Border Division (white). The Expedition League is likewise comprised of the Prairie Division (green), Midland Division (yellow), and the Pacific Division (red).

Each major league team has four minor league affiliates – AAA, AA, A, and Rookie Ball. You can see a full map of all cities represented in the ABA here. Note that the ABA features twelve Canadian teams, three of which are major league level, and three Mexican teams. I did not double dip in any city, so there is no Cubs-White Sox or Yankees-Mets situations anywhere. I tried to keep the minor league affiliates of each team geographically close to their parent teams. I’ve never really understood having an affiliate across the country, like how the New York Mets AAA team was in Las Vegas for years until recently moving to Syracuse, New York. It just doesn’t make much logistical sense.

 

Creating the Teams

 

When I set out to make this league, I started by looking for logos. I am not capable of creating my own logos, so I took logos from different packs I found on the OOTP forum, and across the internet (each of which is cited at the top of this piece). To be honest, a lot of the initial 2015 decisions were based off which logos looked the best; the top logos were set aside to be assigned to the major league level teams, while the decent ones were used for minor league teams. In the 2019 revamp, a lot of the minor league logos were replaced with cleaner logos of the same team name or just replaced by another team name and logo.

This revamp also saw the addition of two new major league level teams, the Minnesota Black Bears and the Washington Ambassadors. The Black Bears had previously resided in Phoenix, Arizona, but their move to Minneapolis left the city to a new team, the Phoenix Flames. Otherwise, nearly all of the major league logos remained the same, except for the Houston Stallions, Denver Peak, Pittsburgh Crows, and Detroit Wild. I should also note, the Blue Chips relocated from Reno to Las Vegas at this time as well.

Initially selecting cities in which to place major league teams was a lengthy, carefully thought out process. I used this spreadsheet to keep things straight and a map, similar to the one above, to visualize things more clearly. I took time to look at a list of North American cities sorted by population, trying to make the distribution of the major league teams realistic. I wanted to better represent the Southeast, instead of just having a team in Atlanta (go Bravos!). Thus, a whole division was devoted to the South, including the Atlanta Bobcats, Charleston Clippers, Jacksonville Jackrabbits, Miami Sharks, and New Orleans Jazz.

Likewise, in comparison to real-life Major League Baseball, I also wanted to better represent our Canadian fans and take a few teams out of California. That gave us the Vancouver Beacons (my current team I’m managing), the Toronto Bucks, and the Montreal Blizzard (the first team I managed and my personal favorite in the league.)

When it came to assigning logos and team names to each city, some came naturally, such as the Montreal Blizzard and Washington Ambassadors for instance. Others cities were assigned a logo I particularly liked but didn’t have a specific place for, like the San Francisco Bees or Kansas City Huskies. Others were more carefully selected. I am quite proud of placing the Pioneers in St. Louis, the Gateway to the West, as well as the Chicago Express, a nod to the Windy City’s importance as the railway hub of North America.

 

Jerseys and Caps

 

Out of the Park Baseball features an impressive Face Generation system to create a more realistic and rich gameplay experience. This FaceGen system creates a bust of each player, coach, and even your own character. The jerseys and caps the players and coaches wear are carefully detailed in the Major League Baseball setup; the Yankees appear in their signature pinstripes while the Marlins are sporting whichever set of colors they’ve decided their organization will use that particular year.

For the American Baseball Association, I created jerseys and caps for all 150 teams, even taking the extra step to make both home and away jerseys for each team. This process took a long, long time. I used Justafan’s ingenious programs Jersey Creator and Ballcap Creator to make all of them. The program was specially designed for OOTP and is so easy to use that any of you could pick up and easily put together your own jerseys and caps in minutes! While Justafan’s programs made this process simple, it was still tedious and time-consuming.

I downloaded several custom fonts for the jerseys, giving me about 20 options to pick from for each team. At that point, it was a simple set of design choices, from colors to font orientation, piping, v-neck stripe, sleeve stripe, etc. Hats were a very similar process. I did my best to establish the design of each jersey then match the cap to the jersey.

From there, it was just a matter of importing each of these jersey and cap files into OOTP properly, a task easier said than done. I don’t want to bore you with the minutiae, but it was a tedious process, especially when I was making little tweaks in the weeks leading up to publishing this piece. At the end of the day, these jerseys were well worth the time spent, as they make the league feel far more complete and realistic than just having blank jerseys or simple one-tone caps with the team’s logo awkwardly smacked on the front.

 

ABA History and Stars

 

I started the simulation of the American Baseball Association in 2010 (in-game). The sim has continued to the year 2048, so the league is about to begin its 39th season. In those 38 years, 17 of the 30 teams have won at least one championship. As you can see in the graph below, the Montreal Blizzard have been the most successful team in the league, due mainly to winning four championships in the first seven years of the league under the leadership of GM Austin Bristow II.

Despite their success and large market, the Blizzard do not lead the league in total budget, coming in at eighth overall. The top budget goes to the Atlanta Bobcats, who are prepared to spend $270,480,000 in 2049. The Bobcats are the only team I’ve ever seen in OOTP to achieve a market size of “ASTRONOMICAL,” and they use their financial success to consistently sign viable free agents and extend star players, much like today’s Los Angeles Dodgers.

The other largest markets in ABA surprisingly include New Orleans and Denver, each coming in with a “huge” designation, New Orleans boasts the second-highest budget, while Denver has merely the 16th-highest. The smallest markets include the Pittsburgh Crows, and the two new teams, Washington and Minnesota, each of whom has the 22nd, 29th, and 30th-highest budgets, respectively.

Graphic by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)

As for star players of the ABA, there is one soon-to-be Hall of Fame pitcher that stands out above the crowd: “Dandy” Danny Pritchard. The 41-year-old right-hander just retired at the end of the 2048 season as the all-time ABA leader in games started (566), innings pitched (4,085.2), wins (275), strikeouts (4,653), and WAR for a pitcher or hitter (129.1). Dandy Danny pitched nearly his entire career in Cincinnati, winning seven Cy Young Awards (the ABA calls it Pitcher of the Year, but it serves the same purpose and I’ll refer to it as Cy Young for clarity’s sake), two MVPs, recording the pitching triple crown in 2033 and 2035, and was selected to twelve All-Star teams. He pitched one no-hitter in 2040 against the Detroit Wild, recorded one game with 18 strikeouts (one shy of the ABA record), and three games with 17 strikeouts.

When discussing the best hitters in ABA history, no one player stands out. San Francisco Bees star Mitchell Ford is the all-time leader in home runs (608), RBI (1,738), and total bases (5,008). Fort Worth Bandits former right fielder Jose Rojas leads the league in career on-base percentage (.425), runs scored (1,727), and stolen bases (775). Houston Stallions former right fielder Elton McDaniel is the all-time leader in games played (2,922), and hits (3,107).

Of the players currently active in the ABA, Vancouver Beacons 25-year-old first baseman Yuk Chien may be the most exciting. An international free agent from Taiwan, Chien has won the EL MVP the past two seasons, leading the ABA in hits, runs, doubles, RBI, home runs, batting average, and OPS over that time. The Beacons, under the leadership of GM Austin Bristow II, signed Chien to a 10-year, $329,000,000 contract extension following the 2048 season.

Top active pitchers in the ABA include New Orleans Jazz starter Germão Della, who won the 2048 RL MVP and Cy Young after pitching to a 1.46 ERA (a single-season ABA record!) and 0.82 WHIP while striking out 284 batters. However, Tom Reynolds of the Omaha Bison is likely the top pitcher in the league at this point, having already eclipsed 3,000 strikeouts and going into his age-31 season. Reynolds has struck out more than 300 batters in seven of his 10 big league seasons while putting up a career 2.56 ERA and 0.98 WHIP.

Since his debut in 2039, Reynolds has been award the Cy Young in every full season except for 2044, when he only struck out 318 with a 2.79 ERA. He must have been upset about the streak being broken because in 2045 he went on to have arguably the greatest pitching season the ABA has ever seen: 34 games started, 25 wins, 1.47 ERA, 0.74 WHIP, 353 strikeouts, 12.1 WAR and leading his team to a championship victory. If Reynolds continues his dominant career throughout his thirties, he may go down as one of the greatest pitchers in ABA history right beside Pritchard.

 

I have put far too much time into this fictional league than it really deserves, but as with any pet project, the hours were enjoyable and it rarely felt like work. I’m actually quite nervous to share this with all of you, as I’ve worked so hard to get all the kinks and imperfections out of the game, but have had very little opportunity to test much of it. So, if you do download the game and begin playing it only to find an issue, please let me know! I may not be able to fix your particular game, but I should be able to fix the downloadable game file.

I also want to give a special shoutout to Justin Paradis for creating the ABA logo, the Pittsburgh Crows logo, and the beautiful featured image and championship chart for this piece. I want to thank my good friends Dave Cherman, Joshua Botelho, and my wife for giving me invaluable feedback on teams, logos, jerseys, and just putting up with me blabbering about the ABA for the past few months.

Thank you for reading, and please enjoy playing the American Baseball Association as much as I have.

 

Featured Image, championship chart, and ABA logo by Justin Paradis (@freshmeatcomm on Twitter)

Austin Bristow II

Raised as an Atlanta Braves fan in central Illinois, Austin Bristow II attended Eureka College for undergrad and Purdue University for his master's degree in Higher Education Administration. Since co-founding his home league at age 16, Austin has been obsessed with fantasy baseball. Austin serves as the Staff Manager for Pitcher List and host of the On the List podcast.

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