Introduction & History
The Virtual Baseball League began with the VBL1 and VBL2 in the mid 1990’s using Front Page Sports Baseball as the simulator of choice.
In 2002, the VBL3 began as the VBL1 and VBL2 began to shut down.
From 2002-2012, the VBL3 was simmed using Front Page Sports Baseball and lead by Mike Branda. In 2012, the final sim was done, but as the doors to the VBL3 closed –which lead to Branda opening the doors to the VBL, utilizing OOTP Baseball as the sim of choice.
After 10 years were simmed, in an effort to provide historical context, all owners participated in an inaugural draft. The first year of the VBL was 2002 in-game and 2012 real time.
During real-time 2016, Commissioner Branda decided he didn’t have enough to do and began the International VBL which would run it’s games during the off-season of the VBL…and vice versa.
The league was designed to be drastically different not only from the VBL, but from many other OOTP leagues currently in existence.
The IVBL is a 24 team league with a college feeder league that produces “ready now” talent that can instantly help any franchise. There is only one minor league level to manage, and injuries are set to low.
The one rule that has remained constant throughout the VBL1, VBL2 and both the VBL3 and VBL is that at no time is it acceptable for the Commissioner to own a franchise within his own league.
The Commissioner maintains day-to-day operations of the league. The Commissioner is also NOT allowed to own a team in the IVBL. The only time this is acceptable is when a vacancy occurs, with every intention to fill that vacancy quickly.
Team President Responsibility:
All Team President’s are expected to stay involved in all aspects of running their organization, meet published deadlines for mandatory events, and respond in a timely fashion to their fellow owners when a trade inquiry is received.
Upgrading OOTP Versions:
Currently, the IVBL uses OOTP 16. In a non-emergency situation the decision to upgrade OOTP to a newer version must first pass a 75% vote within the league owners. It is from that point that the Commissioner will decide if the league should upgrade.
Any team President can present the league with a vote on the subject.
Any President caught cheating will be sent photos from Vienna GM’s personal library.
League Structure & Team Movement
The IVBL consists of 24 teams, with no divisions or league separation. We play a balanced 138 game schedule.
The teams exist in 24 different countries and any future teams must be from countries that are pre-approved. If a country is not pre-approved, but the Team President has a personal connection to that country, then a discussion can be had.
The top 8 teams in the IVBL standings will make the postseason tournament. The better seed will gain home field advantage over the worse playoff seed.
The tournament is then re-seeded after Round 1, making it a benefit to the “better” playoff teams as they advance.
New Team Settings:
In the event of league expansion, all new teams will begin their franchise with the lowest loyalty, fan interest, market, stadium capacity and media contracts in the league.
They will also have the smallest budget in the league. Their budget will be determined by taking the difference between the 2nd lowest budget and the lowest budget and deducting that from the lowest.
(i.e. Team with second lowest has a budget of $10m and Team with lowest budget has $7m – then expansion team will have a budget of $4m)
Team Relocation for New Owners:
New Owner Relocation & Rebranding:
A New owner can relocate his franchise to an unused pre-approved country, but will face a penalty of $250,000 cash sent to the league. Also, they will be docked 10 fan loyalty points.
A New owner can relocate his franchise to an unused pre-approved country, but will face a penalty of $62,500 cash sent to the league. Also, they will be docked 1 fan loyalty point.
A New owner can re-brand his franchise to any city within their current country and/or any new nickname that isn’t used as long as they have uniform,logos, etc (Commish has over 1k of these for you to sift through).
The penalty for doing this will be $31,250 cash sent to the league. Also, they will be docked 1 fan loyalty point.
If the team does not have the cash, they cannot move their country or re-brand in their third off-season.
Team relocation can only occur in the off-season.
Team Relocation for Veteran Presidents (More than 3 seasons):
A veteran President may relocate if his team has performed under .500 for the past 3 seasons as of the current season they request. The franchise will be docked 14 fan loyalty points, and 5 fan interest points. The city of choice must be in line with the geographical boundaries of the current division.
Team relocation can only occur in the off-season.
Stadium Modeling & Updating
Sims are run Sunday, Monday, Wednesday & Thursday with all export deadlines at 7:00 PM EST.
During the regular season, a sim will consist of 3 days.
The off-season sims will be 3 virtual days until January 1st, then 5 virtual days for the month of January, then a full 7 days at a time in February which takes us to Spring Training.
Team Presidents are expected to export and stay involved with all aspects of the organization.
If a President needs to take a vacation or needs time off from the league, they need to contact the Commissioner’s office to ensure the team is there for them when they return.
League Settings Overview:
- Ratings Scales: 20-80
- Overall Ratings – 20-80
- Potential Ratings – 20-80
- Coaches/Scouting: On
- Scouting Accuracy: Normal
- Designated Hitter: Yes
- Cash Cap: $10,000,000
- Expanded Rosters: No
- Minor League Free Agency: Yes
- Ghost Players: No
- Personality Ratings: Yes
- Morale Ratings: Yes
- Suspensions: Yes
- Drug Suspensions: No
- Visiting Team’s Gate Share – 50%
Player Contracts – The Smithwick Guard Dog Rules:
There are several flaws in the game that allow teams the ability to trick the AI. We are trying to avoid that. To make things easy to remember, all financial rules below stick to a 15% guideline.
Every team will receive a warning and contract adjustment for the first offense. However, the second offense of the following rules will result in more guaranteed money for the player.
It is the owners responsibility to make sure a player is not demanding a contract that is “illegal.”
A legal player contract must meet the following criteria:
- Each incentive or bonus may not exceed 15% of highest guaranteed yearly salary within the contract. (Example: If Johan Santana makes $1million as the highest guaranteed salary during a multi-year deal the bonus for winning Pitcher of the Year cannot be any higher than $150,000)
- Playing time/Innings/Plate Appearance incentive must be within 15% of their most recent year’s performance. (Example: If Santana pitched 220 innings in 2008 – his bonus for innings pitched in 2009 can NOT be under 187 and cannot be over 220 innings.)
- Team Options: A team option buyout MUST be at least 15% of the highest yearly guaranteed value on the contract. The option also may NOT be 15% more than the highest yearly guaranteed value.
(Example: Player is signed to 3 year back loaded deal worth 500k-500k-1mil with a 4th year team option – that team option cannot be any more than $1.15million with a buyout must be NO LESS than $150,000)
- Player & Vesting Option Buyout: There is no rule on the buyout amount for these options, however they still fall under the 15% of yearly guaranteed value rule.
- Contract Extensions: You cannot offer a contract extension to a player until they have officially reached arbitration. If an owner breaks this rule, the final two years of the deal become player options with no warning issued.
The owner will receive a warning the first time they break any of the above contract rules (except the Extension rule). All contracts breaking the rule will be reset to abide by the rule they broke.
For the second offense, all of the bonus/buyout $ will be added to the final year of the guaranteed salary. So if you have a 4 year deal with $100k in bonuses that are illegal, that is $400k added to the players final guaranteed year.
For the third offense, Vienna GM is given your home address.
If the player concerned was signed as a free agent, the player will be released back into free agency. If the contract was an extension, then the extension will be voided and the team will retain rights to the player.
Designated For Assignment (DFA):
If a Player is left on DFA (with no time remaining) while a sim is being done, the commish will try to put that player in the minor leagues. If a player cannot go to the minors for whatever reason and there is no room on the 40-man roster, then the player will be released.
The DFA time is 13 days.
Organization Roster Size:
Every team is expected to fill a complete roster within all of their various league levels. If the Commissioner sees that you have an incomplete minor league roster (to the degree you have holes in your lineup/rotation/bullpen) – signings will be made for you automatically, with a warning sent.
It is in your team’s best interest to follow this guideline as it will ensure your minor leaguers can develop properly.
A player will remain on waivers for 9 days before passing through.
All owners are expected to respond in a timely fashion to their fellow owner who inquires about a trade. When a trade is completed, the owners must CC the Commissioner’s office on an email explaining the details of the trade using position, player name and level. (Example: Austin Sends 3B Dave McGilicutty (AA) to Springfield for SS Happy Gilmore (ACT).)
- Draft Picks for the upcoming year can be traded. One year’s worth of future draft picks can be traded but it is up to the receiving team to remind the Commissioner that the pick needs to be swapped in game after the current draft takes place.
- Teams can trade a maximum of $500,000 in cash and may only do so if they have the cash on hand.
- Trades are processed after the daily games are simmed. If a player gets disabled list injured during these simmed games, the Commissioner will not process the trade and ensure that both parties still agree.
The First-year Player Draft (6 Rounds), which is on March 1st (in-game) is handled via e-mail draft for the first two rounds.
The e-mail portion will begin when the game hits February 1st.
After that, the Commissioner will update the draft pool in the game and provide a new league file. There will then be 3 nights of live drafting for rounds 3-5. Anybody who cannot attend will have their pick done via their exported draft list.
It is in the best interest of the GM to export a draft/scout list in the few sims prior to the March 1st sim. Doing this will ensure your scout creates a more in-depth list for the later rounds.
We ALL have day jobs… please be prepared with a short list… you can email it to me or email to yourself. If you’re 10 picks away make a list of 10 guys. I think if you are further than 10 or so picks away, its reasonable to expect you to need to look at who was picked before you select. Just remember you have 27 others waiting for you to pick please.
The draft order is based on worst regular season record, to the best. The playoff teams are put into the order based on where they finished in the tournament followed by their seeding being the tiebreaker.
For non-playoff teams, head to head record determines the tiebreaker. If it’s tie then a random draw will determine who gets the better pick.
Rule V Draft
The Rule 5 draft will be held through the e-mail list. We will draft via e-mail, and depending on the pace might meet up live on Slack to finish it.
A team’s player payroll can NOT exceed $4million.
Cash on Hand
There is a cash cap set at $10,000,000
Ticket Prices may be set anywhere from $4 and $7.
Visiting teams will receive 50% of the home team gate.
All teams began the VBL with equal National and Local media deals. After 3 seasons, the deals were re-negotiated automatically.
Fan Interest will be determined by the team’s actions.
Each team receives a budget from their owner. The owner controls your budget.
Free Agent Compensation
The VBL used Free Agent Compensation through the 2013 draft, following the draft we no longer use it when the owners voters 20-8 to eliminate it.
Participation Rewards & Bonuses
– Presidents can earn a maximum of 50 points per season – but with banked points it is possible to earn more.
– A President can bank half of their points for 1 year. (IE the most you could possibly carry over is 25 if you had earned 50)
– All Player Points may only be used if a player has a work ethic of Normal or higher. (IE no player with the word LOW in his work ethic can be altered)
– Teams may make 1 change per player per year. An individual player cannot receive two edits in one off-season
– When a new President begins his first off-season, we take the average number of points for the bottom 5 participators and add that total to their team’s reward total.
– All edits are applied to a players ACTUAL rating, rather than their POTENTIAL rating.
IE Prior to 2004 we had 3 new Presidents – the bottom 5 participators earned 7-7-7-12-14 points. Therefore our 3 new Presidents got 9 points added to their reward total.
How to Earn Points:
Team Presidents can earn points by submitted press clippings to the league mailing address using the templates provided on the right hand side of thevbl.org under the Rewards section.
Point totals can be found by clicking the link labeled Reward Totals.
How to Use Points:
Before Spring Training, your reward totals will be added up, the deadline for these will be Opening Day. You can use those points toward the following
Work Ethic (5 points) – Bump a player’s work ethic from Low or Very Low to Normal
Fan Interest (5 reward points = 1 point bump) – Spend 5 points to increase your fan interest by one point in the game). Max spent per year is 10 points.
Ratings Edits: Remember the rating you see if your scouts interpretation of the “behind the scenes” rating.
Improve Control (5 reward points = 5 points in Control)
Improve Movement (5 reward points = 5 points in Movement)
Improve Stamina (5 reward points = 5 points in Stamina)
Power (5 reward points = 5 points in Power)
Eye (5 reward points = 5 points in Eye)
Infield/Outfield Range (5 reward points = 5 points in IF or OF Range)
Infield/Outfield Arm (5 reward points = 5 points in IF or OF Arm)
Infield/Outfield Error (5 reward points = 5 points in IF or OF Error)
Catcher Ability/Arm (5 reward points = 5 points in Ability or Range)
To qualify: A Player must have a work ethic of normal at minimum (except for the work ethic edit), and must be under the age of 26 as of 4/1. Meaning if their 26th birthday is on March 30th, they do not qualify that year.
Application: Presidents’s should send this to the Commissioner’s Office every off-season.
Points Before Edits:
List players age AND Work Ethic as you’d like to edit them. For example…
CF Luis Martinez (High WE, 25) – +3 CON / +2 EYE