TLDR Version of the Rules & Info:
– Commish does NOT own a team
– League simmed it’s first games on August 12, 2012.
– As of June 2022, we use OOTP 22.
– Scouting is on, set to Normal
– Injuries are set to Low.
– Coaches are on
– Talent Ratings are 1-100, with Overall/Potential Ratings utilizing the Star method.
– Cash Cap is $500,000
– New owners get their cash debt slashed in half upon joining.
– Revenue determines budget, information can be found here.
– Buyouts and Incentives are capped at 15%
– Top 3 teams per division make the playoffs.
– You can edit players potential and actual ratings during the off-season based on your in-season participation. For more information, click the VBL Rewards link at the top of this page.
– How many rewards a team has, can be found by clicking here.
– A full feeder league is used to populate the draft pool.
– Off-Season Typically takes 1.5-2 months
– Regular Season Sim Schedule is 3 days per sim on M, W, TR, SU. Due to Covid-19, we sim 4 days every day until further notice.
– DH was voted in by the GM’s beginning with the 2028 season.
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 led 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. The first games were played (Real time) on August 12, 2012.
The league began using real players, but during the 2004 season transitioned to utilizing a Feeder League system. While several of the Feeder players are “real”, the VBL is mostly known as a Fictional league.
The one rule that has remained constant throughout the VBL1, VBL2 and both the VBL3 and VBL is that the Commissioner does NOT own a team in the VBL.
The Commissioner maintains day-to-day operations of the league. The Commissioner is also NOT allowed to own a team in the VBL. 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.
There are no export requirements, and no rewards associated with exporting. However, it is expected that all Team President’s take care of their team as needed.
Upgrading OOTP Versions:
This league began with OOTP 13, and as of May 2020 uses OOTP 20.
This league never rushes to upgrade OOTP’s and will always do so in either an emergency, or a strategic way.
Typically, we upgrade every other version so that the cost to play in the VBL is minimal over two years.
Any GM caught cheating will be sent photos from Major Pixel’s personal library.
League Structure & Team Movement
From 2002-2009 season, the VBL was made up of two leagues with 14 teams each and three divisions per league. The schedule was 162 games, with a balanced format. Three division winners plus one wildcard made the playoffs from each league with the #1 playoff team facing the wildcard team.
Prior to the 2010 season, the VBL re-aligned to a two league system with 2 divisions. The divisions will play a division heavy, 162 game schedule with the top 2 teams from each division making the playoffs, and facing in a best of 7 playoff series.
Prior to the 2016, the league changed it’s playoff format.
The top 3 teams per division now make the playoffs.
Current Playoff Structure:
Prior to the 2016 season, the VBL voted to add a wildcard team to each division.
Team #3 travels to Team #2 for a best of 3 series, with all 3 games taking place at the #2 seed’s home.
The winner of that series, will face the division winner in a 2-3-2 style best of 7 series.
The winner of that series will play for the league championship with a chance to play for the VBL Title.
If there is a tie for a playoff spot or the #1 spot, then a tiebreaker game is scheduled.
If there is a tie for home field between #2 and #3, then head to head record, followed by in-division record, followed by run differential will be used to determine home field.
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 & Other New Owner Rules:
New owners that inherit a debt will get half of that debt bought out by the league immediately.
Team relocation can only occur in the off-season.
The divisions are geographical. By drawing a straight line from the middle of Texas up through Canada.
The Nied, Clemens, and Cabrera Division are played in cities to the East of that line.
The Barrett division is played to the West of that line.
New members of the league should reach out to the Commissioner’s office regarding the relocation of their franchise.
Team Relocation for Veteran Presidents (More than 3 seasons):
Team relocation can only occur in the off-season. To avoid constant relocation, veteran owners should reach out to the Commish to discuss relocation.
You will be docked 10 in fan interest, and 1 point in fan loyalty if you move.
Stadium Modeling & Updating
All stadiums begin with a capacity of 45,000. Through participation rewards it is possible to increase this total (see below info for rewards).
All minor league affiliates will play in the same park model as the big league club.
A team interested in changing their park must contact the Commish. The Commish holds the right to accept or deny the request (frequency being the only reason to reject most likely.)
Stadium Requirements: No Park Factor can be below .800 or above 1.200. Your dimensions can be whatever you wish as long as each park factor meets the minimum or maximum requirement.
Teams should use http://www.ootputilities.com/parkgen/ to create their park with the restrictions listed above and then send the Commissioner’s office a screenshot of the finished product.
Off-Season Sim Schedule:
A typical off-season takes between 1.5-2 real months to complete. The VBL off-season consists of salary arbitration, free agency, international amateur bidding and the amateur draft.
Season Sim Schedule:
Sims are run Sunday, Monday, Wednesday & Thursday. 3 days per sim day are processed.
Export deadlines for every sim except Wednesday is 7pm EST.
The Wednesday sim deadline is 12pm EST.
Due to Covid-19, the VBL went to an every day sim schedule with every deadline being 12pm. Instead of 3 days, the VBL played 4 days per sim.
When the pandemic draws to an end, the VBL will reevaluate the sim schedule.
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: 1-100
- Overall Ratings – 1-100
- Potential Ratings – 1-100
- Coaches/Scouting: On (Teams are required to have full coaching staff. Asst GM is not required)
- Scouting Accuracy: Normal
- Designated Hitter: No
- Cash Cap: $500,000
- Expanded Rosters: Yes
- Playoff Rosters: Yes, must be on the 40 man roster prior to Sept 1.
- Minor League Free Agency: Yes
- Ghost Players: No
- Personality Ratings: Yes
- Morale Ratings: Yes
- Suspensions: No
- Drug Suspensions: No
- Visiting Team’s Gate Share – 20%
- Budget – Decided by Revenue, NOT the Owner Note: Coaches can be extended at any time, but a new hires, can NOT happen until the VBL off-season starts which is generally 2 virtual days after the champ is crowned. The ONLY new hire that can take place at any time, is your scout.
All buyouts must be a MINIMUM of 15% of the salary offered during that season.
All Vesting Options can NOT be higher than 15% of highest guaranteed year on the contract.
Incentive or Vesting Qualifier:
- 500 PA or 130 games started for a hitter
- 180 IP or 25 starts for a SP
- 50 IP or 25 games finished for a RP
A player’s RP/SP status is determined by their most recent role.
Contract Consequences $
1st Penalty: Warning and adjustment
2nd Penalty: Half of the bonus value goes into the guaranteed value and bonus adjustment
3rd Penalty: Total bonus is added to guaranteed value and bonus is also properly added.
Team/Player/Vesting (or Opt-Out) Option Value:
An option of any kind (Team, Player, Vest or Opt Out) value can NOT be higher than 15% of the highest guaranteed value.
Example: A guaranteed contract has 500,000 and 600,000 yearly value. The Team Option can not be more than $690,000 which is a 15% increase over the 600,000.
This is to make sure players are not unwisely and unrealistically accepting a team option that is a drastic increase from their guaranteed value which is an offer with no real intention of executing by the GM.
There can only be ONE Team Option in a contract.
1st Penalty: Warning and adjustment
2nd Penalty: TO’s become guaranteed except the last one.
A player can receive a multi-year contract extension at any time. That contract can only have ONE Team Option.
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.
A team’s budget and available funds does not impact whether or not a team can make a trade.
The Zorrilla Rule:
No arrangement between Clubs for the loan or return of a player shall be allowed.
The First-year Player Draft (15 Rounds), which is on March 1st (in-game) is handled via Stats +.
The draft typically begins when we hit Feb 1 in-game.
The draft order is based on worst regular season record, to the best.
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.
There is no minimum or maximum for team spending.
Cash on Hand
There is a cash cap set at $500,000
Ticket Prices may be set anywhere from $4 and $7.
Visiting teams will receive 20% 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.
Prior to the 2020 season, the VBL negotiated a new media contract.
National Media = $725,000 for all teams
Local Media Baseline = $450,000 baseline
Fan Interest & Merchandise
Fan Interest will be determined by the team’s actions.
Prior to the 2020 season, the Merchandise Baseline was increased to $350,000.
Each team receives a budget based on their revenue from the year prior.
All VBL teams began with the same budget.
No 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
How to Earn Points:
Team Presidents can earn points by submitted press writings 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 here.
Details of the reward structure are sent out to the league every season as a reminder.
The winning league will split the gate revenue evenly, and it will be added to the merchandise of each team. Formula for determining the gate is just $5 times the attendance.
Spring Training League Benefits:
Each spring, the AL will play the NL in 16 home/away series’
Beginning in 2028, the league that wins the most spring games will distributed $50,000 merchandise cash to each team in their respective leagues.
The team in the winning league will receive a $20,000 bonus on top of the 50k. If there is a tie for the best record, then those teams will split the 20k bonus.
Home field advantage is determined based on whichever league the previous year’s winner came from.
The winner of the championship will receive the following:
- +6 long-term fan interest bump
- +4 short-term fan interest
- $50,000 Cash (goes into merch)
- +1 Market (0-20 scale, manual add capped at 10), if you are capped, you will earn an extra 500 seats to your stadium regardless of whether you’ve reached the 50k capacity max.
Interested in Joining the VBL? Send an e-mail here