Naples Daily News
Ron Hartman: Dynasty League Baseball fever ... Catch it
Monday, March 30, 1998
By RON HARTMAN, Staff Writer
A funny thing happened on the way to do an interview for this column. Michael Cieslinski, designer of the Dynasty League Baseball board and computer games, wanted to meet at a Twins-Orioles game in Fort Myers.
We had just walked through the front gate when we crossed paths with Rob Malec, the director of broadcasting for the Fort Myers Miracle. Rob noticed the Dynasty League Baseball game in Mike's hands, and for the next few minutes he did nothing but rave about how great the game is. "It's probably the best game I've ever played, short of being out on the field yourself," Malec said. "The realism of the game - all of the decision-making and managing - this gets you about as close as you can get." After playing the game myself that day for the first time, it was easy to understand Malec's enthusiasm.
Unlike other baseball games, DLB simulates almost every aspect of the sport. If the wind's blowing in or out, the game will reflect it. Adjustments are made for such things as poor field conditions, cold weather, type of playing surface (grass or turf) and umpires' strike zones. Each player also has ratings listed on their cards; for instance, a good fielder such as Ozzie Smith will be more likely to make a tough play than your average shortstop.
This game covers all the bases. "The game is to the point where it's pretty well perfected," said Cieslinski, who lives in Bonita Springs. "The core of the game is done. Now we can start getting into CD-Rom versions to incorporate ballpark photo backgrounds and crowd noises." Cieslinski, 39, first designed a game called Pursue the Pennant, which was on the market from 1985-94, before starting his 'Dynasty' company in 1992.
The DLB game evolved from Pursue the Pennant, and the computer version is a
translation of the board game.
If you're not a hard-core baseball fan, DLB probably is not for you. It's for the fan who appreciates the nuances of the game and the
sometimes-bizarre nature of the sport.
In fact, bizarre plays are an important part of Dynasty League Baseball. And
they're all based on actual plays that really happened:
* The Dave Winfield play: A liner to center field hits a bird and drops in for a single.
* The Tony Kubec play: A hard-hit grounder takes a bad bounce and hits the shortstop in the throat.
* The Jose Canseco play: The right fielder misjudges the ball as he goes back to the wall, and it bounces off his head for a home run.
* The Larry Walker play: The outfielder makes a catch for the second out and - thinking it was the third out - hands the ball to a fan while the baserunners circle the bases.
"I used to watch games and make notes of unusual events," Cieslinski said. "It's
amazing how many crazy things you see."
DLB features a Best of Baseball Series that includes many of the top pennant races, playoff series and World Series dating back to the 1950s. So you can play games involving teams from as recently as 1997, or going back as much as 40 years.
"A lot of people who grew up watching baseball like the idea of reliving the old days," Cieslinski said. "There was a guy who was a Mets fan who wrote in and said, 'I feel like I'm 11 years old all over again.'"
For more information on the game, call 561-494-2711, or check out Cieslinski's