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Playing the Rube: A Baseball Experiment – Chapter 1 – ‘I Made the Rooster’

The Phillies won a world championship in 2008.

Then Ruben Amaro Jr. was named general manager.

The Phillies didn’t win another world championship.

Tim Malcolm and Dan Walsh wonder if they can do better. So, announcing “Playing the Rube,” a weekly series with accompanying podcast in which Tim and Dan attempt to steer the Phillies to more victories, starting in 2009, through the deep simulation game OOTP Baseball ’18.

***

CHAPTER 1: “I MADE THE ROOSTER”

Before we can start our journey in spring 2009, we have to first set up the rosters. But before we can do that, we get a message from our owner (who’s not David Montgomery) regarding his expectations for 2009: Make the playoffs. Also, build a contender through 2011.

Sounds feasible. Also, that’s exactly what Ruben did while he was GM. We can do this.

Here’s our front office page:

Dan and I both outline our goals: He wants to make the playoffs and contend for multiple years, while I’m not so worried about the postseason in 2009. I’d rather ensure we’re contending for a spot by September, since there are other competitive teams out there (Mets, Braves, etc.) and we’re in a one-wild-card era.

Then we go through the roster, all of it, choosing who we want to invite to spring training while discussing which prospects should start where, so their development continues at the right pace.

Here’s our likely 2009 spring training roster:

CATCHER: Carlos Ruiz, Chris Coste, Paul Bako, Lou Marson

FIRST BASE: Ryan Howard, Andy Tracy

SECOND BASE: Chase Utley, Miguel Cairo

SHORTSTOP: Jimmy Rollins, Eric Bruntlett, Jason Donald

THIRD BASE: Pedro Feliz, Greg Dobbs

LEFT FIELD: Raul Ibanez, Matt Stairs

CENTER FIELD: Shane Victorino, Brian Stavisky

RIGHT FIELD: Jayson Werth, John Mayberry Jr.

STARTING PITCHER: Cole Hamels, Brett Myers, Joe Blanton, Jamie Moyer, Kyle Kendrick, JA Happ, Rodrigo Lopez, Andrew Carpenter

RELIEF PITCHER: Brad Lidge, Ryan Madson, JC Romero*, Scott Eyre, Chad Durbin, Clay Condrey, Jack Taschner, Tyler Walker, Chan Ho Park, Mike Zagurski, Scott Mathieson

(* = suspended first 50 games of regular season)

We basically know much of the team at this point, but there are a couple battles (fifth starter, a bullpen spot or two, an outfield bench spot, middle infielder). We also decide we’ll need to boost the competition in a few battles, but that’s next week.

This week, listen to our rambling about philosophies and rosters! The fun begins!

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