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Rule Changes for 2002

Benchwarmer Baseball Rules Index

Relief Pitcher minimums

Based on 2 years of play, it's apparent that relief pitchers are used a little differently than they were about 5 years ago (probably more change with the set-up men rather than the closers).  Most teams this season did not meet the minimum values for relief pitchers.  After some tweaking and checking the stats for 2001, here's a new breakdown.  We'll see how well this works and perhaps fine tune again after 2002.

Relief Pitchers Used Current Minimum IP New Minimum IP Reduction
R1 3.3 2.7 -0.6
R1-R2 7.0 5.7 -1.3
R1-R3 11.3 10.0 -1.3
R1-R4 14.3 13.0 -1.3
All 5 17.0 16.0 -1.0


See the Scoring Formula for more details on how this is used.

Maximum Cash Balances

Intentionally or unintentionally, it is possible for owners to carry over large sums of cash into the next season.  Over the course of a few years, that could lead to a huge imbalance and allow an owner in a given year to assemble a "super team".  One week before the beginning of a new season, all teams that have cash balances over $10 million will have those balances reduced to $10 million.  In 2003, after the expansion teams have another year of play, that figure might be dropped even further.


Owners can still accumulate cash after that time - with the $2 million Opening Day cash distribution, salary rebates, and financial gains through wins and position in their division.


The spirit of this rule is to attempt to maintain competitive balance.

Multi-year Contracts

There is no change in the process of signing players to multi-year contracts, but currently signing a rookie to a 5-year contract is just too good of a deal that carries little relative risk.  Thus, the minimum signing values will change to the following:


Player signed for: Cost: Old Minimum Salary New Minimum Salary Contract Total (minimum)
2003 2002 Salary $250,000 $250,000 $250,000
2004 2003 + 25% $500,000 $1,000,000 $1,250,000
2005 2004 + 25% $1,000,000 $1,750,000 $3,000,000
2006 2005 + 25% $1,500,000 $3,000,000 $6,000,000
2007 2006 + 25% $2,500,000 $4,000,000 $10,000,000


Note that there is no change for a 1-year contract extension.

Entry Fees

With the cost for the web site, the stat service, and the post-season trophies, I need to increase the entry fee slightly to attempt to break even.  I might also be able to make a little money for my own time, but probably something like a penny an hour.  If I am ever able to expand this into a multiple-league operation, I may be able to lower the fees for this original league and keep it at a lower level.


There is a $10 increase for the 2002 season, making the entry fee $35.  However, I will continue the idea of early payment discount.  If you pay before February 1, you get a $10 discount, making the total only $25.   Further details to come on getting me the money.

Late Payment of Entry Fees

Beyond the early-payment discount, I need to encourage everyone to pay quickly so that I'm not attempting to collect money throughout the summer.  Thus, if you do not pay by certain times, there will be roster penalties:

If entry fee is not received by: You may not...
April 1, 2002 Make roster changes (signings, drops, trades, contract extensions).
May 1, 2002 Make roster changes or lineup changes (batting order, pitching rotation, etc.)

Once payment is received, full rights are restored.



The rules and several mailings and postings that I made last season indicated that August 1 is the deadline for contract extensions.  To clarify however, what this really means is that the deadline is the final transaction submission date in July.  So for 2002, you can expect that the deadline is July 29, 2002.


Divisional Tie Breakers

Note - there are no changes in determining home field advantage for the playoffs or for breaking ties in positions 2-4.


I got lucky this season, when Nordeast beat Norwalk by a game instead of them finishing in a first-place tie to end the season.  Under the original rules, deciding the tie would have meant applying all the tie breakers, starting with head-to-head records.


Beginning in 2002, any teams tied for 1st-place will meet in a one-game, winner-take-all playoff game.  This will be treated as Game 151 of the season.  Teams will not be able to make lineup changes - the rosters for Week 25 will continue into the playoff as though there were 7 games, not 6, that week.  The pitching rotation will continue, thus both teams will use their #1 starters.  The previous tie breaker system will be used to determine which team is the home team.


Should there be a 3-way tie  (we came close this year), the teams will play each other once in a round-robin format.  The team with the best record will advance to the playoffs.  They will use the following schedule:


Game # Teams Starting pitchers
151 A vs. B A: S1 - B: S1
152 A vs. C A: S2 - C: S1
153 B vs. C B: S2 - C: S2


Home teams for each game will be determined the same way as in a 2-team tie.  Team order will be determined through a random process.


Should all three teams end up tied again (1-1 in the round-robins), there will be a final set of divisional playoff games, this time single elimination.  The standard tie breakers will be used to rank the teams 1-3 and determine which team gets a bye in the first game, with one change - the head-to-head records will be cumulative for all teams involved in the tie, not just between two individual teams.  This will be the schedule:


Game # Teams Starting pitchers
154 Team #3 at Team #2 S3 for both teams
155 Winner of 154 at Team #1 Team #2/#3: S4  --  Team #1: S3


 If by some cataclysmic event there is a 4-way tie, this process will be modified to include 4 teams instead of 3.
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