St. Louis Post Dispatch
June 23, 2000

by Kathleen Nelson Sports Columnist

Whiteyball vs. Mightyball

To those who insist that "Whiteyball" could get the better of "Mightyball," we said:

Put up or shut up.

Serious baseball fans who dream of matching Whitey Herzog's 1982 Cardinals against the current team can live the fantasy with Dynasty League Baseball. Michael Cieslinski has spent nearly two decades compiling and breaking down stats into the probabilities that form the backbone of his board and computer games.

Cieslinski has analyzed both teams, so they seemed perfect opponents for a demonstration of his brainchild.

"With Cardinals fans being more sophisticated, they know more than other fans. They should get more of a kick out of this," he said.

But let's allow the suspense to build during some background.

The game bears little resemblance to the animation-laden counterparts on the market. In lieu ofcomplicated graphics that allow a replica Sammy Sosa to blow kisses to the crowd, the makers of Dynasty Baseball spent brain power analyzing each player's batting average vs. righties and lefties, his defensive range, clutch hitting and injury frequency. The game's programming also factors in how a pitcher performs in late innings and in a jam as well as variations in stadium dimensions, temperature, wind speed and direction.

The game comes in board and computer versions. The board game requires three 10-sided diceand oodles of player cards. Three years of analysis went into setting the odds on player tendencies. The greater the odds, the more dice rolls are programmed to yield that result.

Jim Edmonds, for example, earns the top rating for defensive range. When the ball is hit to centerfield, the number of dice rolls on which he can make an error are fewer than the number of rolls for Lonnie Smith.

"It's more of a strategy game," Cieslinski said. "It's something fans can graduate to after they tire of arcade-type games or become more savvy fans."

The computer version, an additional four years in the making, rolls the dice and looks up theoutcome for you, presenting the results as play-by-play in a scrolling box in the upper right corner of the screen. This version also compiles season, series and league statistics for Internet play.

The game does not take into account the managerial tendencies. "You are the manager,"Cieslinski said. "You can manage like Whitey -- or not. It might be fun to see if the '82 team would have been as successful without him."

Cieslinski selected Joaquin Andujar to start for the '82 squad; Darryl Kile started for the double-naughts. The game was a pitching duel for three innings.

Kile got into trouble in the fourth, allowing singles to Tom Herr and Keith Hernandez. The knucklehead managing the double-naughts walked cleanup hitter George Hendrick, preferring to face Darrel Porter, who singled home two runs. Ken Oberkfell then singled home Hendrick for a 3-0 lead.

In the fifth, an unfortunate roll of the dice landed on a number in Ray Lankford's relatively small error zone, which sent Lonnie Smith to second. Herr singled him home. That made it 4-0. Porter finished the scoring in the sixth with a bases-empty homer. No wonder Whitey loved the guy.

Meanwhile, Hernandez was a veritable Hoover at first, sucking up three potential error plays. And Andujar backed down from no man. He went the distance, allowing just two hits and striking out Mark McGwire twice in the 5-0 victory. All that was missing was an animated Andujar firing his finger pistol at Mac.

So Whiteyball rules -- at least on Cieslinski's hard drive.

The board version sells for $19.95; the computer version for $39.95. Additional team packs, sold in various bundles (including one upcoming with the Cards teams of '42, '67 and '85) are $39.95 each. For information or a demo version, log on to or call 561-752-3323.

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