MLB Pro League Rules

The Preamble
The Common Sense Accord
Article I — League Governance
Article II – League Play Schedule
Article III — Responsibilities of the Membership
Article IV — Financials
Article V — Rosters and Team Setup
Article VI — Drafts
Article VII — Trades
Article VIII — Chat/Forum Etiquette
Article IX — Penalties
Article X — League Settings
-The Original MLB Pro Writing Guide-
Article XI — Article Writing
Article XII — Article Writing Stylebook

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The Preamble

MLB Pro is a realistic Out of the Park Baseball (OOTP) league. By accepting an invitation to MLB Pro, you are acknowledging your agreement to accept and abide by the Constitution in its current and future forms. You also accept certain responsibilities involved with your participation and are agreeing to uphold them in an effort to make this playing experience as enjoyable as possible for everyone involved.

Disrespect towards ANYONE WITHIN THE LEAGUE IS NOT TOLERATED! While disagreements and debates will always be a part of any gathering of individuals, there is a line between joking around and being disrespectful and offensive. Make sure it is a line that is not crossed.

While member input is welcome and encouraged, note that decisions by the MLB Pro League Office are final. It is true that this league is not a dictatorship. It is also not a democracy. It in a benevolent autocracy where input in encouraged. At the end of the day though, decisions have to be made by the Board and those decisions need to be respected.

To be clear, these factors will always be considered when making changes:

  • Realism
  • The time it would take to implement and/or maintain the decision
  • The positive vs. negative consequences
  • The capabilities of the OOTP software

If you don’t like or understand a decision, please direct your opinion to the Commissioners via e-mail or PM on Slack.  This is far more productive than continuing a public discussion.

The Common Sense Accord (CSA)

MLB Pro members recognize that the league is intended to recreate a realistic modern baseball experience. Limitations of OOTP will occasionally result in opportunities for personal gain that would not occur in real life. Members agree to adhere to a common sense policy when approaching these situations and will refrain from taking advantage of unrealistic opportunities presented to them by the game. Members recognize that interpretation of what constitutes “unrealistic” is based on the discretion of the Board, who can and will enforce unilateral actions when needed to prevent and/or reverse moves that go against the spirit of the CSA.

If you are uncertain whether a move you’re considering would violate the Constitution, contact the League Office to receive guidance. Your case will always garner the best reception when you provide forewarning.

Lying is completely unacceptable and will not be tolerated. If an opponent asks you who you are starting – just for example – you have no obligation to tell them but if you answer them, that better be who you are start or you must tell them about the change. There is a difference between gamesmanship and lying and if you consistently break that, you will find yourself removed from the league.

Article I — League Governance

The Constitution of MLB Pro will be referred to for all questions regarding the rules and regulations of MLB Pro. The Constitution may be revised as necessary for the league to evolve. Whenever appropriate, members will be consulted prior to a Constitutional change. This is greatly dependent on the importance of the change on the health of the league. Any changes to these settings that are vital to the health of the league must be made solely by the Board. Any changes that are optional and do not affect the health of the league will be voted on by the league, in which 2/3rds of the league must vote either in favor of the change or abstain (meaning they are fine with either decision and defer to the wishes of the majority.) The lack of a vote is to be considered a vote against the proposal, but all members are expected to participate in all voting proposals.

Article II — League Play Schedule

During the regular season, simulations (hereafter alternately referred to as ‘sims’) are scheduled daily with GM exports due at 8:00 pm EST.*  The League Office will periodically release schedule updates to keep members up to date if changes from the norm are necessary. This alternate schedule will be readily available on the league homepage under Announcements.

MLB Pro members recognize that timely exporting is the most basic and essential requisite of a smoothly running league. In turn, the League Office recognizes that life responsibilities/emergencies can and do occasionally conflict with the exporting process.

Article III — Responsibilities of the Membership

There are seven base responsibilities involved with participation in MLB Pro. The Board will contact GMs neglecting their responsibilities. Repeated violations can result in the forfeiture of your membership.

Exports: Members are required to export a team file once every seven days at a minimum, regardless of whether or not they have moves to make. This is true for Spring Training, the regular season, and the off-season. Members are expected to export a minimum of every other game in the postseason when their team is participating. Prolonged periods without exports creates concern for the League Office and creates the possibility of being removed from the league. Throughout the year, there will be occasional league events such as arbitration filings where an export is required. You will be given ample notice ahead of these sims, as well as multiple days to get a file in for this event.

Rosters: The roster limit for all MLB active rosters is 26 players during the regular season and 28 during the September roster expansion, the offseason, and Spring Training. Minor league teams have a roster limit of 30 players with the exception of Rookie League teams that do not have a roster limit. GMs must ensure that these limits are not exceeded before their export. Failure to meet these requirements will result in auto-assignment by the Board (which may not be to your liking).

Designated for Assignment (DFA): Players may stay on your DFA list for up to 10 days. GMs must assign, trade or release a player before his allotted time on the list expires. Failure to do so will result in the release of the DFA regardless of contract status. Players can be placed on the DFA list for the following reasons:

  • If you attempt to demote from the majors a player who has no option years remaining and has not previously cleared waivers.
  • If you attempt to remove a player from the secondary roster who has not previously cleared waivers.
  • All newly acquired players with major league contracts are placed on the DFA list.

Lineups/Rotations/Depth Charts: It is your responsibility to ensure that these are properly filled for your major and minor league teams, and to have enough players to field a competitive team. All teams in your organization must have completely filled-out lineups and depth charts. GMs are expected to adjust for injuries as needed.

Injured List (IL): Players must be removed from your IL within seven days of returning to full health and serving their minimum IL stint. During the off-season, players must be removed from the injured list. Players can return to the injured list when Spring Training begins.

Personnel: GMs are expected to keep all teams in their organization fully staffed while in season. A lack of “quality” available personnel is not an excuse.

Voting: GMs are expected to vote for All-Star representation and for awards. We ask that team’s refrain from voting for their own players, with the exception of truly obvious situations.

Have some common courtesy. If someone sends you a message, just respond to them. General managers who develop indisputable reputations for ignoring messages from other GMs, not being available for discussion when they say they will, leaving conversations suddenly, or generally not showing respect to general managers who reach out to them will be reprimanded, up to and including being removed to the league after a vote by the staff.

Article IV — Financials

Each GM may set his or her team’s ticket prices. These prices must be within the range of $15.00 and $40.00. While ticket prices will be acceptable anywhere within the $15-$40 range, it is imperative that teams use some discretion when adjusting prices. In 2013, only 1 team had an average ticket price for the season exceed $30. Please keep in mind the average price when determining if your team should exceed the league average and by how much. Use common sense, recent and current team success, fan interest, and market size to determine what is appropriate for your franchise. The Board will continue to monitor teams and what they ultimately decide to charge. If we determine a price to be unrealistic according to the above guideline, we will be in contact with said team in the hope of finding an appropriate ticket price.

National media contracts are the same for every team but local media contracts can vary based on team interest, team support, and market size and are determined automatically by OOTP.

Teams are allowed to hold an unlimited amount of cash at any point but the maximum amount of cash that any team can carry over to the next year is $10,000,000.

There will be no salary cap. GMs are free to deficit spend if they so choose; however, as of January 9, 2020, teams will not be able to acquire salary via a trade that pushes them beyond $10M over budget at any given point in time.

  1. Budget is defined by the trade screen. For an individual GM to check it would be the finance tab’s “Total Money Available” — a reminder that salaries are prorated during the season.
  2. This amount will be revisited in the 2020 off-season to determine the effectiveness of the rule and the amount that has been set.

Revenue sharing will include all team revenue at a rate of 22%.

PLAYER CONTRACTS

Contracts are governed by several house rules. Before offering a player a contract, familiarize yourself with these rules. Contracts in violation of these rules are subject to review.-

Contract Options

  • Contracts of three-years or less of length will be limited to no more than 1 option (Team, Player, Vesting) OR opt-out.
  • Contracts of four-years and five-years in length will be limited to no more than a combination of 2 options or opt-out years. (Example: Opt Out Y2 / Option Y4 or Option Y3 / Option Y4)
  • Contracts of at least six-years in length may include up to 2 option years (Player/Team/Vesting) AND one player opt-out years.
  • One team options is allowed in the final-year of a contract WITH a 50% buyout included.
    • No player or vesting options are allowed following a team option
  • Vesting Options: (If a vesting option breaks these limitations, the option will be converted into a guaranteed year.)
    • Games Played (All Position Players): 80 GP Maximum, Plate Appearances 250 Maximum
    • Games Started (Starting Pitchers): 20 GS Maximum
    • Innings Pitched (All Pitchers): 120 IP Maximum for SP/50 IP Maximum for RP

-MLB CONTRACT EXTENSIONS-

The allowable length of a contract extension will be directly tied to the player’s time spent on the secondary roster — rounding down to the nearest COMPLETED year of service time will dictate the number of years that can be offered to a player.

  • A player who has completed 0 years of time on the secondary roster is NOT ELIGIBLE for an extension.
  • A player who has completed between 1 and 4 years of time on the secondary roster may sign an extension UP TO 4 years in length.
  • A player who has completed 5 years of time on the secondary roster may sign an extension UP TO 6 years in length.
  • A player who has completed 6 years of time on the secondary roster has no restrictions on a contract extension.

Any violation of the above will result in the immediate voiding of the contract extension.

-INTERNATIONAL FREE AGENCY-

International Amateur Signees cannot be traded until the start of the following year IFA Signing Period begins.

Article V — Rosters and Team Setup

The roster limit for all MLB active rosters is 26 players during the regular season and 28 during the September roster expansion, the offseason, and Spring Training. Minor league teams have a roster limit of 30 players with the exception of Rookie League teams that do not have a roster size limit. GMs must ensure that these limits are not exceeded before their export. Failure to meet these requirements will result in auto-assignment by the Board (which may not be to your liking).

GMs are expected to have all applicable lineups, rotations and depth charts fully set up for each team within their organization while that team’s league is in season. At minimum, all in-season teams in your organization must have completely filled-out lineups, must have at least 4 pitchers slotted in as SP and 5 pitchers slotted in as RP, and must have a depth chart that is reasonably set up to utilize all hitters on the roster. GMs are expected to adjust for injuries and roster movement as needed, per the requirements previously stated.

To be eligible for a team’s playoff roster, a player must be on that specific team’s 40-man roster or their disabled list on August 31st, the day before the September roster expansion. Players signed through free agency or acquired on the waiver wire after August 31st are not eligible for postseason play, regardless if they were playoff eligible for their previous team. Roster moves cannot be made while a playoff series is in progress.

If a player is injured between now and the playoffs, a replacement may be made by a player in your organization as of end of tonight.

During the playoffs, at the completion of a round, if there is need for an injury replacement, again the player may be picked from your organization as of end of tonight.

Article VI — Drafts

The MLB Pro Amateur draft will take place via Stats+. Amateur Draft participation is mandatory. MLB Pro GMs unable to make a pick live are expected to create a pre-ranked list within Stats+.

MLB will hold a Rule 5 draft in December of each season. Teams will have the option to submit a draft list from which OOTP will draw draft selections from. Submitting a draft list is not required. Teams cannot make more selections than they have open secondary roster spots. Players selected in the Rule 5 draft must stay on the selecting team’s active roster or IL for one full season. They may also be placed on waivers or traded. If the player changes teams, the roster restrictions move with the player. If they are reassigned to the minor leagues, they will be automatically returned to their previous team. All healthy players eligible to return from the 60-day DL must be placed on the roster or released during the sim cycle preceding the Rule 5 draft.

Recently drafted players may be traded following the World Series of their first professional season.

Article VII — Trades

Players, personnel, and cash are all viable items to trade. Draft picks cannot be traded but players in their first year since being drafted may be traded. The MLB Pro trade deadline is July 31In the month of August, only players not on the 40-man roster are eligible to be traded.

Trade Restrictions:
  • No more than ten players may be included by a team in a single trade.
  • Players with at least ten years of major league service and at least five years spent with current team may exercise their 10/5 rule rights to veto a trade.
  • The minimum amount of cash that can be traded in a trade is $50,000.
  • A player who signs a big league contract or extension during the season, cannot be trade for 90 days.
  • A player who signs a big league contract or extension during the offseason, cannot be traded until June 1 of the following season.
    • A player who is arbitration eligible who signs a one-year extension between the start of the offseason and day of arbitration hearings, may be traded immediately. This one-year extension is being viewed as an arbitration settlement thus making the player eligible to be traded.

PTBNL: Players To Be Named Later ARE NOT ALLOWED!!

Cash: Only cash on hand may be traded during the preseason and season (i.e. no deficit trading) except for when the cash being traded is to make up a portion of a player’s salary. The player must be in the same trade and the cash may not go beyond the player’s full salary for the current year. Deficit trading is allowed in the off-season when the team sending cash is projected at a profit according to the Proj. Final Balance figure and the amount of cash sent may not exceed the sum of cash on hand and their Proj. Final Balance.

TRADES

Please use the following as a template for all trade posts because there will be no exceptions. If a trade is not posted in this manner, you will be told the problem with the posting and the processing will be postponed until the problem is corrected:

Title: Miami/Texas

Miami sends:

SP Mark Buehrle
2B Gabriel Ortiz – AAA New Orleans
LF Donnie Webb – AA Jacksonville

Texas sends:

LF Alex Gordon
3B Christian Villanueva – AA Frisco
RF Nomar Mazara – A Myrtle Beach

Miami accepts this deal because Buehrle is a good pitcher but is far too inconsistent for our tastes, not to mention he becomes very expensive over the years. He get our new left fielder in the young star of Alex Gordon, as well as two solid prospects and cash that will be very handy this offseason.*

*In a reply in the same thread, Texas would post a similar acceptance and rational for the trade from their perspective.

The commissioner must approve and process all trades. Trades are reviewed for legitimacy and to make sure there is no possibility of cheating or collusion. If a trade is not deemed suspicious, it will be processed in the next sim. In the instance that the commissioner is involved with a trade, a board member must post their approval of the trade before it can be processed.

New GM Waiting Period: New GM”s are not able to trade in their first two-weeks.  This serves as an introductory period for new GM’s. In addition, we ask new GM’s to at some point prior to making any trades, that they make a trade block.

The responsibility of the new rule is shared upon those already in the league.  Let the new GM’s become acclimated to the league before bombarding them with trade offers.  When we hire a new GM, it is with the intention that they will be sticking around for YEARS.  You will have plenty of time to make trades with our new GM’s, we just ask that they do not come within this new period.  This goes beyond posting trades — do not discuss dealings in depth. Sure, it’s fine to ask what their plans might be, but try and not go much beyond that!

Article VIII — Chat/Forum Etiquette

MLB Pro chat and forum are provided as a place for league members to share their thoughts on matters related to the league. Members should create new threads in the appropriate sub-forum. Hateful or bigoted speech is strictly forbidden and grounds for expulsion from the league.

Members are expected to maintain civility when communicating with their peers on the forums. Competitiveness is welcome as long as it is paired with equal amounts of respect. Disagreement and debate will naturally be part of the forum experience, yet at all times, members should consider the feelings of their peers before posting. Members making disrespectful or insulting posts will receive a warning. Hateful, intolerant or bigoted speech will result in a member’s immediate expulsion from the league. Carefully judge the nature of your relationship and act accordingly.

MLB Pro forum etiquette requires that members refrain from making multiple posts in a single thread in a short time span if no response from another member has yet been made. If a member wishes to make a number of quotes and responses, or if he has multiple thoughts to share, he should include them all in one post rather than separate them into multiple small posts made one right after the other. If a member thinks of an addendum to a post he just made, he should edit his last post or wait for another member to respond before posting his new thought.

Article IX — Penalties

From time to time, members of a league fair to follow the rules of the Constitution. While it is something that is avoided at all costs, occasionally penalties are needed to correct actions. In the worst and most chronic of issues may require the most severe of actions. Penalties that can be given to league members can include but are not limited to:

  • Sliding-scale export suspensions
  • Chat ban
  • Forum ban
  • Financial penalties
  • League expulsion

Article X— League Settings

The league settings detailed here are subject to change. The Board reserves the right to make changes to league settings during the off-season as he sees fit. As previously stated, any changes to these settings that are vital to the health of the league must be made solely by the Board. Any changes that are optional and do not affect the health of the league will be voted on by the league. Some of these settings have already been mentioned in relevant sections and are posted for reinforcement.

All-Star Game Options
  • All-Star Game decides home field for final playoff round: Disabled
  • Every team will be represented in the All-Star Game
Auto-Save & Log Options
  • Auto-Save: Daily
  • Save Box Scores from: Human Teams
  • Save Game Logs from: Human Teams
  • Save Replays from: Human Teams
  • Keep news logs: All
  • Keep injury logs: All
  • Keep transaction logs: All
Amateur Draft Rules
  • Amateur Draft: Enabled
  • Use pre-defined draft value for AI: Disabled
  • Amateur Draft Date: Mid-June, date can change some year to year
  • Amateur Draft Pool Reveal Date: 100 days prior to draft
  • Advanced Draftee Signing (Signing Bonus Negotiations): Disabled
Collective Bargaining Agreement Rules

(Beginning in the off-season following the 2020 World Series) In an attempt to match the recent MLB CBA, MLB Pro will undergo a change to our free-agent compensation rules. The following system recreates the latest CBA in what is hopefully a much easier to follow and understand set of rules.

  1. In order to qualify for any compensation, players must be offered an in-game qualifying offer.
  2. If a player declines the qualifying offer, he will become a free-agent.

Once a player becomes a free-agent, the following system is in order:

If a player signs a contract…The team losing the player…The team signing the player…
W/ a total value when signed of
$45,000,000 or more
. [Category 1]
Gets a pick between Rounds 1 & 2Loses a 2nd round pick
W/ a total value when signed of
less than $45,000,000
. [Category 2]
Gets a pick between Rounds 2 & 3Loses a 3rd round pick

-If a team signs multiple free-agents who have qualified for compensation, they will lose the next highest pick available from the category. [I.E. Team X signs two players from Category 1, it loses a 2nd and 3rd round pick, whereas Team Y who signed two players from Category 2 would loses a 3rd and a 4th round pick.

Financial & Free Agency Settings
  • Financial System: Enabled
  • Minimum Service Years for Free Agency: 6 Years
  • Generate International Free Agents: 30 per year
  • Draft Pick Compensation for lost FA’s: Enabled
  • Service Years Required for Arbitration: 3 Years
  • Minimum Service Years for Minor League FA: 6 Years/NPB: N/A
Game Options
  • Scouting: Enabled
  • Scouting Accuracy: Very High
  • Coaching: Enabled
Minor League Structure
  • International League (AAA)
  • Pacific Coast League (AAA)
  • Eastern League (AA)
  • Southern League (AA)
  • Texas League (AA)
  • California League (A)
  • Carolina League (A)
  • Florida State League (A)
  • Midwest League (A)
  • South Atlantic League (A)
  • New York-Penn League (Short-Season A)
  • Northwest League (Short-Season A)
  • Appalachian League (Rookie)
  • Arizona League (Rookie)
  • Gulf Coast League (Rookie)
  • Pioneer League (Rookie)

Minor League Settings

  • Designated Hitter Rule: Various
  • Playoffs: Enabled
Rosters
  • Active Roster Size: 30 Players (Rookie leagues are unlimited)
  • Disabled List Length: 10 Days
Misc. Options
  • Player Personality Ratings: Enabled
  • Morale System: Enabled
  • Storylines: Enabled
Rating Scales
  • Player Actual Ratings Scale: 20 to 80
  • Player Potential Ratings Scale: 20 to 80
  • Other Player Ratings Scale: 20 to 80
  • Show Ratings > Max: No, cut off
  • Show Potential < Actual: No, adjust
  • Overall/Potential Rating: None displayed
  • Overall rating based on AI evaluation, not pure ratings: Disabled
  • Overall rating based on all players, not positions: Disabled
  • Coach/Scout Ratings Scale: 20 to 80
Report Options
  • Top Prospect List: Dynamic
  • Preseason Predictions: Automatic
Roster Rules
  • Age Minimum: None
  • Age Maximum: None
  • Active Roster Size: 25 Players – 26 beginning in 2020
  • Foreign Players Limit: None
  • Expanded Roster Size: 40 Players – 28 beginning in 2020
  • Roster Expansion Date: September 1st
  • Post-Season Roster Rules: Enabled
  • Secondary (40-Man) Roster Size: 40 Players
  • Minimum Days of Service for One Service Year: 144
  • Waiver Period Length: 3 Days
  • DFA Period Length: 10 Days
  • Minor League Option Years: Enabled
  • Right to Refuse Minor League Assignment: Enabled
  • Rule 5 Draft: Enabled
  • Disabled List Length: 10 Days
  • Minimum Salary: $550,000
Simulation Schedule
  • Days per Sim: One
  • Sim Days per Week: Every Day
  • Team Export Deadline/Sim Time: 8:00 PM EST
  • Real-Time Sim: Enabled
  • Spring Training: Enabled
Suspensions, Injury & Fatigue
  • Suspensions: Enabled
  • Drug Suspensions: Enabled
  • Injuries: Enabled
  • Delayed Injury Diagnosis: Occasionally
  • Hide Injury Rating: Disabled
Team Revenue Settings
  • Average National Media Contracts: $50,000,000
  • National Media Contract Fixed: Yes, same contract for every team
  • Average Local Media Contract: $26,500,000
  • Average Merchandising Revenue: $10,500,000
  • Team Owner controls Budget?: Yes, owner decides over budget
  • Cash Maximum: $10,000,000
Trade Rules
  • Player Trades: Enabled
  • Trading Deadline Date: July 31st
  • Trades with other Major Leagues: Disabled
  • Allow trading of recently drafted players: Enabled
  • 10/5 Rule (Veterans have right to veto trades): Enabled
  • Allow draft pick trading: Disabled

Article XI — Article Writing

Articles are a major part of MLB Pro experience. The league thrives in its feeling of immersion and the biggest contributor to that is our original content. Otherwise, this league would be nothing but numbers and statistics. The stories you tell are what breathe life into MLB Pro and they are one of the most valued ways that members can contribute to the betterment of the league.

League members can submit news stories in their team pages in the News Room section of the league forum. Once you have posted the final version of your story, it will be edited for public view and posted at the earliest convenience of the staff with a headline and an appropriate image.

When constructing stories, please keep the following in mind:

Consider the feelings of those whom you will be referencing, including both current and former league members. Disparaging comments towards past or present members will not be permitted.

Be aware of the league’s fictional timeline and established canon. Articles must adhere to previously established fiction, and real world events should be referenced as a part of MLB Pro whenever possible.

Article XII — Article Writing Stylebook

Everyone is encouraged (although not required) to follow the stylebook in the pursuit of making sure we are creating the best writing possible. Learning this stylebook increased your chances of your article of being featured on the front of the website.

Writing Styles
  • Articles should be at least two paragraphs if they wish to be posted on the website.
  • All articles are expected to be written from a fictional perspective. The perspective should be that of someone who lives within the reality of the universe that we have created. Everything that happened in real life baseball before Opening Day of 2012 happened in ours. Anything after did not and only MLB Pro news, facts, and events should be discussed. Avoid referencing OOTP or OOTP-specific terminology at all costs.
  • Articles should be written from the perspective of a travelling beat writer should include the italicized current location of the team. If the team is on a road trip, use that location rather than the team’s home city.
  • Any publication name referred to in an article (fictional or real) should be italicized.
Player Names
  • The first appearance of a player’s name should always be copied and pasted from the OOTP or StatsLab reports pages to ensure accuracy.
  • While you may manually type out subsequent appearances of a player’s name, it is recommended to continue copying and pasting the name that you copied from the reports earlier.
  • A number of player names feature diacritics. Whenever you’re dealing with a name that features an accent mark, tilde or other diacritic, always copy and paste the name from the reports. Diacritics need to be included in your articles.
  • When copying names of players with nicknames from the reports, replace the apostrophes (‘) surrounding the nickname with quotations marks (“).
  • After the first appearance, nicknames do not need to be surrounded by quotation marks.
  • Copy/pasting text from the reports may result in odd font styles/sizes transferring over to your article. If this happens, please highlight all of your article’s text when you are finished typing and change the font style/size to a unified standard.
Abbreviations
  • Player position abbreviations should be fully capitalized (e.g. “1B”, “CF”, etc.).
  • Single-digit numbers should be typed out (e.g. one, five, nine) but you should generally use numerals for double-digit and greater numbers (e.g. “33” instead of “thirty-three”).
  • Most baseball statistics should be abbreviated. A few (e.g. “home runs”, “runs”) can be typed out at your option, but it is generally preferable to abbreviate.
  • Most abbreviated baseball statistics should be fully capitalized (e.g. “ERA”, “AVG”, etc.). There are a few exceptions to this rule (e.g. “EqA”, “wOBA”). For a list of baseball statistical abbreviations, reference the StatsLab Glossary.
  • Adding an “s” at the end of a statistical abbreviation to indicate plurality is punishable by death. (e.g. “50 HR”, not “50 HRs”).
  • Turning abbreviations into verbs is punishable by even more death. (e.g. “OPS’d”)
  • Always type the name/abbreviation of any numerical stat you include in your article.
  • When referencing a league level, you may either type out the full name of the level (e.g. “Triple-A”) or abbreviate the level (e.g. “AAA”). Do not use both styles (e.g. “Triple-AAA”).
  • Fully typed-out minor league level names should be treated as a proper noun (e.g. capitalize the “T” in “Triple-A”) and should have a hyphen connecting to the letter “A”.
  • Articles written from a Japanese perspective should refer to the NPB as “the majors”, “major leagues”, etc. Articles written from an American perspective may view the NPB differently (e.g. “Japanese league”).
Formatting
  • There should never, never, never be two spaces between the end of a sentence and the start of a new sentence.
  • There should always be a single blank line between paragraphs.
  • Do not place any spaces/tabs at the start or end of a paragraph (NOTE: Normal grammatical rules would call for a tab at the start of a paragraph. We ignore this rule for HTML formatting purposes).
General Grammatical Rules
  • The first letters of starts of sentences and proper nouns should always be capitalized, as should many abbreviations. Avoid capitalizing the first letter of random words in the middle of sentences that do not meet these criteria.
  • While there is a place for its sparing use, it is usually preferable to emphasize text by italicizing it rather than typing it in all caps.
  • Avoid run-on sentences. Rather than overusing commas, break long thoughts into two or more separate sentences via periods, question marks and/or exclamation points.
  • You may also use semicolons to link related clauses, but don’t overuse this punctuation. Typically you’ll be better off starting a new sentence.
  • When using ellipses, use only three dots (…), place a space between the end of the ellipsis and the word following the ellipsis, and do not capitalize the word following the ellipsis unless it is the start of a new sentence.
  • When breaking up quoted text, use a comma to continue a broken single sentence and a period, question mark or exclamation point to join to a new quoted sentence.
  • Example of single-sentence quoted text continuation: “We won this game,” said Coach Wilkins, “because we played hard.”
  • Example of multi-sentence quoted text continuation: “We will win this game,” said Coach Wilkins. “Our boys will come ready to play.”
  • Once you have referred to a full proper name, you can generally shorten that name for the rest of the article. For example, after initially typing out “General Manager Craig Stayman”, you do not need to type that full title and name out again. Instead, shorten future appearances (e.g. “GM Stayman” or “Mr. Stayman”). This rule can be bent for effect, but it is generally proper to avoid repeating full names and titles.
  • Avoid reusing phrases. If you described a player as a “speed demon on the base paths”, do not describe another player in the same way later in the article. Instead, find a different method of characterizing the second player’s speed.
Consistency of Form
  • If you begin using a certain writing style in your article, be sure to continue to use that style throughout the remainder of the article. For instance, once you start by writing “HR”, don’t later change up by typing out “home run”.
  • The same rule applies to punctuation. If you begin using the style “MR Tom Jones – Text”, don’t later change to “MR – Bob Smith: Text”.
  • This rule also applies to formatting. If you boldface and underline one section header, make sure to apply the same formatting style to all section headers.
  • Consistency of form should carry over to future articles written by the same fictional author/publication. For instance, if you pen an article entitled “Team Notes: June 1st, 2013”, future articles in this series should use the same naming convention (e.g. “Team Notes: July 14th, 2013”).
Linking
  • Writers are encouraged but not required to link to the reports pages of players, personnel, teams, and leagues mentioned in their articles. This would allow people to click directly to their pages and give them supplementary information to help in their enjoyment of your article. If you are going to do this, please keep the following in mind:
  • All league-related proper names must have their first appearance hyperlinked. This includes players, personnel (including your own name), teams and leagues
  • Browse to an HTML page featuring a hyperlinked version of the name you need (e.g. a player’s HTML page features his pre-hyperlinked name just below his team’s logo). Copy the linked name and paste it directly into your article. This is preferable for a few reasons. One, it’s quick and easy. Two, it guarantees correct spelling of the name. Three, it sets up easy handling of diacritics.
  • When linking a proper name, highlight the name’s pre-hyperlinked text in the HTML reports. Copy that text and paste it into your article. Do not link to it again!
  • If you are going to create a linked article, make sure you do it right and make every effort to hyperlink references to league events, statistics, facts and history. A common example would be a game score, which should be linked to the game’s box score. A reference to team finances can link to that team’s Financial Report, while a reference to a previous season can link to the team’s history page.
Final Notes
  • Always proofread your articles before sending them in! One good trick is to read what you’ve written aloud. If it doesn’t sound right to your ears, it can probably be tweaked and improved upon.
  • Learn to use your word processor’s “Replace All” feature. This is an incredibly powerful tool. It will allow you to adjust common errors you discover upon proofreading in one fell swoop. It will also allow you to save yourself time. For instance, instead of repeatedly stopping to copy/paste the name “Martínez” into your article, you can instead shorthand his name as “ma1”. When you’re finished with your article, open the “Replace All” dialogue, type “ma1” into the “Find What” field and type “Martínez” into the “Replace With” field (NOTE: Field names may be different in your word processor). Hit the “Replace All” button and voila! You’ve inserted the name everywhere it needs to go.
  • Pay attention to edits made to your articles and adjust future articles as warranted. If you’re typing out “secondbaseman” and see that it’s being edited to “second baseman”, make a note to type “second baseman” in the future.
  • While you’re certainly welcome to incorporate your personality into your articles, avoid using your articles as a platform to espouse your personal opinions/beliefs on non-MLB Pro-related matters. You should also approach your articles from a realistic angle. It is hard to set aside your bias but keep it to a minimum.
  • Never use your articles as an outlet to vent your frustrations with another owner.
  • Qualitative assessments of other teams can and should be a part of our article landscape. Sometimes these assessments will be critical in nature. If you’re the author of a piece that may be critical of another team, please consider the feelings of that team’s owner. Touch base with him before submitting your article to receive his blessing and make sure that your criticism is taken in context. If you’re the subject of a piece that’s critical of your team, don’t be quick to take insult. The author’s criticism may provide you with ideas on new strategies to try.

Most importantly, take pride in your writing! Your articles are the heart and soul of this league. You should want to put your best foot forward with each article that you write. Don’t be satisfied with just turning something in. Strive for your submission to meet the highest standards. You will have the Commissioner’s thanks for making his job a whole lot easier!