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Blowout penalty
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Tim (Zaragoza) - Sunday 05-28-06 16:44

The intention of the blowout penalty has never been to penalize the GD. It is for the assumption that the number of goals is due to the lineup submitted, and there was no other way to police it. Now that it is possible to police it in a direct fashion, it should be done. Penalties should be applied for wrong doing, not for random chance. And I haven't been blown out by anyone.

Rob (Boston) - Sunday 05-28-06 22:03
I'm in favor of having an appeals committee instead of doing away with the penalty.
Phil (Missouri) - Sunday 05-28-06 22:53
Sports are a result oriented field. In the real game, you are judged by the outcome of the match, not an arbitrary committee in a room analyzing numbers. Managers should be judged by results. Additionally, micromanagement of lineups interferes with a manager's right to make decisions for the team. If you can manage without suffering a 5-0 loss, there should be no penalty. the manager has done nothing wrong. To the contrary, losing by an unacceptable margin is evidence of insufficient play and a team should be penalized (as a team would suffer in real life.).

No offense to commissioners of other leagues, but let's look at those. SESL has (apologies to Mark) an Appeals system that essentially allows every manager to beg an plead publicly for no penalty to be applied. Virtually no blow out goes unappealed, and sufficient support arises for both sides of the argument and half the league is up in arms regardless of the outcome. It's a great idea in theory, but weak in application. Now, hear me say that SESL is a great league and a lot of fun, but that part of the game needs to go! A "bright line" test of 5 or 6 goals leaves no doubt and no room for whining.

FLATNZ has the X% of T11 rule. The rules state that you must play a certain percentage of your T11 SL or be penalized. I think the rules say 40%, but it doesn't really matter because if you surpass it the league can still determine your lineups were to weak and smack you with a penalty. Now, FLATNZ is a great league and a lot of fun, and rules to prevent managers from sending in extremely weak lineups are good in theory. But the FLATNZ rule has ambiguities that are unfair because you never really know what triggers the penalty, and, more importantly, rules requiring a certain percentage penalize teams with a very strong T11. It also fails to account for a team with surprise suspensions or injuries. Of course, you can appeal to the league under those conditions, but there comes the vagueness issue again.

Okay, now that I've offended every other commissioner and probably gotten myself kicked out of a couple of leagues, let me say that teams should not intentionally and persistently field weak lineups and suffer blowouts without penalty. We all agree on that. But neither should we handcuff managers and prevent them from taking fair risks with EL and T11 lineups. Teams can gain an advantage by risking EL. Look no further than MLB's "upset" over Tim's ZAR team in the second stage of group play. Tim himself noted that my risk caught him off guard...resulting in MLB clinching a Cup knockout spot with two games to play. As a result, I hunkered down, played many subs, and recovered EL vs. AYR and MCR. In FLATNZ, I would likely have been penalized for either lineup, though I was not blown out. I feel strongly that creative management and risk taking should be rewarded, not punished. The test for a blow out penalty should be the score.

Again, no offense intended to Mark or Tim, and Rob (I have no idea how his league works since the Beagle franchise does not extend to his game). You guys are great friends and excellent sportsmen. :-)
Phil (Missouri) - Sunday 05-28-06 22:55
Where I said, "rules requiring a certain percentage penalize teams with a very strong T11", I should have said, "rules requiring a certain percentage penalize teams with a great disparity between their T11 and their bench."
Graham (Barcelona) - Monday 05-29-06 4:40
I like the idea of lineup input having some sort of auto-deny facility for particularly weak lineups, but that would be difficult to code for every eventuality.

Imagine a week where your star player is injured, three of the remaining top 7 are tired, requiring resting, and you need to save your top keeper for a match next week where you want to avoid being murdered by an attacking lineup from the league leader.

Factor in that you have no available strikers because of energy levels, forcing perhaps a stall/opportunistic tactic requiring your weaker defenders, blah blah blah blah

Lots of things to factor in and no coding is going to be able to take account of all the possible combinations of internal and external factors.


Steve (Asteria) - Monday 05-29-06 5:39
I never realised that about Flatnz, Phil (play 41% and you could still get penalised). Of course, in playing 41% you are throwing the game anyway, you just know (or I thought you did) that you wouldn't get penalised.

As far as I'm aware there have been no appeals to blowouts in SESL this season though there could be when a few in the SESL cup when the big boys play the little.

In PSFA the fine is 2 CP which is quite harsh if you've already planned where it's all going.

Phil says "losing by an unacceptable margin is evidence of insufficient play and a team should be penalized (as a team would suffer in real life.)" In real life teams don't get fined for losing 6-0 (the rules I have say 5 goals but I'm sure it's now 6).

And when it's down to random numbers it's just a bit hard to swallow. Recently I went 4-0 up against the top of the table side and so stalled. I had a 13% chance of getting another shot in before half time and scored in the next minute (less than 1% chance of a shot, 36% chance of scoring). At half time I played my four attackers passive and so had a 10% chance of getting another in the second half (assuming they didn't score). I scored after 74 minutes (69% on target, 24% of scoring) but fortunately they scored and avoided the blowout. Now I've been on the receiving end of these sort of odds a few times so it's nice to get them. Hamilton didn't field that weak a lineup and didn't deserve to be fined.

I can't speak for other managers but I work out roughly how much money I expect to get from gate money and take this into account in deciding if I can afford to coach and train extra spots. I must admit I expected to get blown out against Captain Iceland and I can't afford to take it easy against Gauteng even though Alon is likely to stall at 4-0. Then it's Ayr or BOA and then, well you get the idea. One more blowout isn't going to break the bank but financially makes getting to the sweet 16 the wrong choice. Of course I'll have bragging rights.

I'll just leave you with a quote from the rules, "to discourage managers from fielding lineups that are too weak..."

Andy (Barnsley) - Monday 05-29-06 7:59
I appreciate Phil's point of view, but it only works if there is reasonable parity between teams. When you get an all-conquering team like GS playing minnow like BB, the manager should not be reduced to begging to avoid a blowout. OK, most managers would start Stalling at +3 or even +4, but a reasonable 1st Division team can score twice against BB while Stalling.... Then again, there are managers who don't believe in Stalling at all.

OK, so you can say I could have managed BB better. That's true, and I'm still learning, but I just think it's too harsh to say if the results don't go my way I should be punished twice. If I've done my best, thats's all I can do, and if my team is slaughtered because it just isn't good enough to stand against the best, what else can I do?

I apologise for making this sound personal, as if I'm just whining on behalf of my own team, but I can only speak from my own experience. If I get thrashed by a far-better team that is only to be expected, as my team needs to be strengthened, but if, as a result, I lose resources I need to do it, how even-handed is that? It has been argued that the cash loss would be offset by the extra revenue, but isn't that just the money I should be keeping to spend on CP & players? When I played GS & AYR away, I got 108k. Take away a blowout penalty and I would be left with less than half what I would get for a league game.

The difference between GS & BB (for example) is mind-boggling, so would it not be fairer to make sure that I put out a reasonable team and play an honest game, rather than make me beg for mercy and rely on the kindness of others to avoid a financial penalty? If I put out a reasonable team and lose 6-0 that would probably be a fair result, and I wouldn't have to worry about being fined. Hopefully, in time, I can claw my way up the 2nd Division and start expecting to win games occasionally, rather than just making up the numbers and boosting everyone else's GD, but until then I would rather not be penalised financially for having such a weak squad.

Graham (Barcelona) - Monday 05-29-06 8:30
The delegate from Barnsley makes a lot of sense.
Phil (Missouri) - Monday 05-29-06 11:15
As to Steve's reference above...

Real life teams are not "fined" for blowouts, but certainly suffer real life revenue when it occurs.
Andy (Barnsley) - Monday 05-29-06 12:40
It is true that the bigger teams in real life would lose revenue as a result of a blowout. However, take the example of my local team. If they drew Chelsea, Man U, etc in the FA Cup, they would probably expect to lose in double figures, unless the other team eased up on them, but it certainly wouldn't cost them revenue. On the contrary, the interest generated locally, national publicity, the marketing opportunities, etc would be a great windfall that should set them up for a few seasons. They certainly wouldn't expect to lose revenue afterwards, though.

However, if a big team lost to a smaller team, they might lose a small amount of revenue, although for everyone who decided not to go to the next game, there would probably be plenty who took advantage of that to go and see their team for once.

I think my local team v Chelsea is a reasonable analogy for BB-GS. Thankfully, GS went easy on us, but if there were no automatic penalty for goal difference, he could play his natural game, and would probably have to, because of the SL rule. Surely that would be a better reflection of real life?

Allan (Memphis) - Monday 05-29-06 13:54
The blowout rule was introduced way back when to discourage teams from fielding two of their best lineups (and perhaps winning), while getting the crap beat out of them in that 3rd bench when they played their C team. The idea being that without a penalty this would continue and seemed to have an unrealistic feel to it (but realism...what is that? we could argue for years on the pros/cons of realism in a PB(e)M).

I think initially the penalty was losing 1 CP and 1 TP. Boy that sounds harsh doesn't it? Then I think we went to a modified "money or CP whichever you have" payment. That takes us to present day where we have differing payments based on the opponents:
1) Same Division - 120k
2) 1st Division wins by 6+ over 2nd Division -80k
3) 2nd Division wins by 6+ over 1st Division -160k

There were 15 blowouts in 535 games in Season 14 (2.8% of all games). I didn't review these games in particular to see how many were "deserved" but I can say REV was blown out 7 times. C'mon Kyle 7!?!? :-)

Two of the games cost a team 160k, 8 cost 120k, and 5 cost 80k.

There have been 8 blowouts thus far this season based on 448 matches completed (1.8% of all matches). Once again our friend Kyle has been involved. :-)

REV represents 3 of the 8 occurrences. In my opinion all were legitimate based on a weak lineup being fielded. 5 other teams were blown out (ES, BB, AK, MPH, and MT). ES was actually on both sides as they dealt REV a 6-0 loss in the AP Cup before losing to MP 6-0.

The MP-ES match earlier in the week was an interesting one relative to this topic. It was a rare moment that MP had most of its players in top EL form. We wanted to deliver a knockout punch in the first match so we could rest players in the second match. Thus we had no intention of going up by 2 and stalling as we (and other teams) might in different circumstances. We wanted the series over after the first game...period.

I looked back at some of the other blowouts in Season 15. Some were deserved, others had some bad luck, and some were "questionable" to the extent that if you knew their EL at the time perhaps an SL 10 GK for 90 minutes was the only choice (or perhaps it wasn't). That said we all have to play bad GKs at particular if you build up a 0/0 GK from scratch.

For Season 15, the stats here are 1 cost 160k, 4 cost 120k, and 3 cost 80k.

In looking at all this statistical data I'm not convinced we need to do anything different than we are doing today. To be honest after hearing all the comments, and I appreciate the candor/passion folks make on these discussions, I thought we had a large issue here to address.

However, I think one could make the argument that 4-5 of the 8 blowouts this season were deserved taking us down to 3-4 questionable ones (taking us down to 0.7% of all matches.

In my mind that doesn't tell me that there's a large problem here to address. Let's take a look at the three penalties to wrap my comments up:
1) 160k: This means a 1st Division team was blown out by a 2nd division side. Its obviously not out of the realm of possibility but I would suspect this to be infrequent...and probably deserving.
2) 120k: Two teams from the same division with a match resulting in a blowout. In theory these teams should be on "similar" footing now that we've removed the idea that managers should INTENTIONALLY LOSE IN THE PROMOTION PLAYOFFS to stay in the 2nd Division for 12 seasons to build up resources (sorry for that editorial).
3) 80k: I think this is the scenario that is most on the mind of the folks discussing this topic. Andy speaks to this point very well in his statements above. There also may be a situation such as MP-ES above where the stars are simply aligned to result in a blowout having a higher chance. With what I've read and heard, this seems to be the area that could use some adjustment.

I would propose dropping the cost from 80k to 60k in this scenario. I don't want to make this too cheap of free for fear of teams not trying to compete. And again, we're not talking about 20% of our MSWL Cup matches fitting into blowout scenarios. At the same time this should be a reduced cost if the stars are aligned (and not in a good way) where a team might suffer a couple of MSWL Cup blowouts. Thoughts?
Andy (Barnsley) - Monday 05-29-06 16:13
It's interesting to see the stats for the issue we've been discussing. I must admit I thought a blowout was losing by 4+ goals, so that calmed me down quite a bit. Having said that, a look at the current rules tells me that a blowout is defined as losing by 5+ goals. Given that a decent team can score against me while Stalling because of its numerical advantage, I'd probably feel more comfortable with the rule set to 6+. Anyway, we can only deal with the situation as it stands.

Before I go any further, I would like to point out that I have no complaints about my blowout against SCO. I fielded a weak team to rest key players and trusted to Stalling, not realising that things would go downhill as quickly as they did. If a blowout is losing by 5+ goals as in the rules, then I also suffered one against BOS in the cup, due to NMR. Again, I can't really complain about that. However, losing against a good 1st Division team by 6+ is very much an occupational hazard for me. OK, so most managers would take pity on me, but then that is also a distortion of the game.

The dilemma here is that if the rule is changed to base it on lineup strength relative to T11 or T17, then there is a likelihood that there will be more beatings going around, with the impact that would have on Morale for the more humble teams like mine. AYR probably wouldn't have let me get away with a 0-0 draw if he'd had to field a stronger lineup, so my Morale would have taken a bigger hit. If the rule is based on T17, or if the percentage is pitched lower rather than higher, that might help things, but as Morale has an effect on revenue & performance, it makes the weak teams weaker and the strong teams stronger over time. I don't think BB will be beating any more 1st Division teams in the foreseeable future, so all the while we have to play cup games against 1st Division teams, we are guaranteed a bigger Morale loss and the possibility of a blowout. At least if we can be sure that fielding a strong enough lineup will avoid a financial penalty, we're not facing a double whammy.

On the other hand, lowering the penalty to 60k for a 2nd Division team blown out by a 1st Division team would still leave the 2nd Division team with less revenue than they would get against another 2nd Division team for a league game. That is quite a price to pay for being at the mercy of a much stronger team. I certainly don't look forward to being forced to beg for mercy before a game again. It came as quite a shock to lose so heavily against SCO, so I hope you can see why I did what I did. I felt awful doing it, and it certainly was humiliating (isn't this game supposed to be fun?), but if I felt it was in the best interests of my team I might have to do it again in future.

Robin (Ayers Rock) - Monday 05-29-06 18:59
I think the "blowout" rule is ok in its present state . All we need to do is to protect the little guy and the soddin' Olmec throwing a curve ball.

I think we are all much agreed that we need a "blowout" rule , so all we ned to do is make sure it works fairly.

Cup games are obviously going to throw up blowouts when you get a BIG team Vs a small team , and we need to protect the little guy as he is going to get punished twice > Humiliated/Trashed and then a further loss of Funds.

The other possible occasion is when a manager gets tactics wrong, plays 6 players on aggressive and nice Olmec gives away two penalties and the guy loses 5-0.

On these occasions if the manager has SERIOUSLY tried he should not be punished further.

We have heard of two other leagues options which for me do not work as > One is on a forum where every tom ,dick and harry can voice a comment.: the other is based on % which in theory sounds brilliant , but can actually be restrictive on a managers long term plans.

Also we have heard that managers should take the option and stall after 3/4 goals > personally I do > but this is WRONG> Goal Diff could be vital at the end of the season , also in the cup , build up a healthy lead in 1st leg , then U can rest in the return fix. It makes sense to pile on the goals.

I still stick by my suggestion that we have an Independant Person/panel to deal with blowout appeals. Obviously the blowout is automatic , but the losing manager has 48 hrs to appeal to the Person/panel as to why he/she should not suffer a blowout.

Judgement wiil be made on the basis : Did the manager deliberately field a weak team?, Was he trying ? , Was the Opposition too BIG ? Did the Olmec have an off day?
Robin (Ayers Rock) - Monday 05-29-06 19:05
I forgot to prove how nasty the Olmec can be , and unpredictable !

Tim (Zaragoza) - Monday 05-29-06 20:37

I had forgotten that it is a cash only penalty now, which is certaily a bit more bearable when it is a random result. I still think that penalizing the score doens't make sense when the reason the penalty is there is to discourage inadequate lineups. Combined with the current points system it doesn't really do that.

The aim (IMHO) is to have managers playing a regular strength with the occassional T11 thrown in. There is no reason that managers can't set an ambush and still figure out how to recover EL without simply benching all the tired players. In most real life leagues that are in this part of the world, if you rest more than a certain number of your top players you are required to provide medical evidence to support their being rested. Within our EL system, the reciperocal would be to have a good reason why they are not rested. That's the reason T17 is noted. It gives you an idea on the average lineup. There is nothing stopping you going over that, but neither is there a real need to go significantly under it. Other than that we're too lazy to sit down and figure how to recover that EL over 3 or 4 matches rather than just 1, and it isn't really worthwhile or necessary. Graham says you can't take everything into account, but my point is that you'll be forced to play those tired players, so figure out how you're going to cope or don't deliberately get into the situation.

You might want to re-read the FLATNZ blowout, Phil. It is not nearly as ambiguous as you suggest. Below 40% of T11 is automatic penalty. Close to that limit gets you a warning from the commissioner, but is not penalised unless it is repeatedly done. This is indeed subjective, but I have had managers try and play 4 SL over as a regular lineup (eg. every 3rd), which obeys the letter but not the spirit of the rule. I make it quite clear to managers when they are treading close to that line. Dropping below due to suspension or injury is specified as exempt from penalty. Practically, this means that every team has to play 3-5 of their top 11 in every match (depending on which players they choose). That is hardly a big ask, regardless of whether they're big on T11 or T17.

I guess in summary I'm saying I can survive the current system of penalising the score, but if what we want is to penalise the lineup, why not address it directly? I'm not trying to demand that MSWL take the FLATNZ system, but if you don't want the sweets stolen off the table, put them away in the cupboard.

Phil (Missouri) - Monday 05-29-06 22:08
Regardless of how you phrase it, my team was "warned" and publicly criticized for playing a lineup that was within the parameters outlined by the rule. Further conduct by my team, although within the parameters of the rule, would result in a penalty. To this day, with every lineup that I submit, I really have no idea where the commisioner will arbitrarily draw the line. Although I have a feeling that the line is getting more easily discernible as I continue to write. :-)

It appears that some would prefer a system whereby a team is required to playe 3-5 starters each match, and balance the rest. Since when did we get into dictating what a manager's tactics and strategies should be? That may be your preferred strategy, but your preferences shouldn't be imposed on everyone else.

Steve (Asteria) - Tuesday 05-30-06 1:56
I hear where you're coming from, Phil. And I expected more blowouts to be honest. And I expect there could have been if Alon hadn't stalled as often as he does and that's something he shouldn't really have to do. The problem for the likes of Andy, Clive and me is that we're virtually forced to play near T11 for two games to try and avoid the blowout and then we're likely to be very weak for the next game which is what the blowout rule is meant to prevent happening.

Anyway I've found my press statement after my 5-0 blowout in PSFA - Robin, eat your heart out. I ran this past Commish first, and the last paragraph was written tongue in cheek, and although I don't have the game stats I've a feeling that WS stalled for the first half. Also PSFA have free kicks and I have no idea how many they scored from them.

C.1.0 Blow-outs

To discourage managers from fielding line-ups that are too weak, whenever a club loses by 5 or more goals, that club is said to have been "blown-out". If the match was considered a 'blow-out' where a team lost by 5 or more goals, they lose some additional resources. If the team that was blown out has at least 2 CPs they lose 2 CPs.

Beleriand have an appeal to the Commish about the 2 CP penalty as a result of the 5-0 defeat by Warrington Savoyards.

Starting Lineups: 
WS                                  BEL
Pos Name                SL EL Ag     Pos Name                SL EL Ag
GK  Edwin               11 10  n     GK  Húrin Thalion       26 10  n
DF  Paramount           26  6  n     DF  Hardor              29 10  n
DF  Kovach              25  9  n     DF  Barahir             28  8  n
DF  Frederick           14  8  n     DF  Beleg Cúthalion     25  8  n
DF  Dick Dauntless      26  8  n     DF  Huor                19  8  n
MF  Grosvenor           23  8  n     MF  Benson              28 10  n
MF  Bob Baxter          37 10  n     MF  Cortini             27  8  n
WG  Túrin Turambar      25 10  n     MF  Turgon              24  8  n
WG  Scaphio             24  9  n     MF  Eärendil            27 10  n
FW  Robin Oakapple      33  8  n     WG  Beren Erchamion     34 10  n
FW  Ida                 13 10  n     FW  Bëor                38 10  n
OK I didn't play T11 because I only have three defenders and two goalkeepers in T11. But I did play my best keeper, best four defenders and four of my best five in midfield. But I defy anyone to say I played a weak team.

In fact I had the better area stats in both halves with a 4%:2% advantage in the 1st half and an 8%:7% in the second. Also the referee was supposed to have no home bias. So despite having the better chance to win, it's Warrington that that gets 8 shots, 6 free kicks and 3 corners while Beleriand only get 1 shot, 2 free kicks and 1 corner with 3 offsides.

Now I'm not complaining about the result - shit happens.

I would like to change the wording of the rule: "to discourage managers, whenever the almighty Olmec craps on your breakfast so you lose by 5 or more goals, then you will be screwed over and lose 2 CP if you have them. Tough if you need them and did your best to avoid the blow-out, loser, next time get an SL 40 keeper - better make it two and play 6-3-1 stall in every game."

Andy (Barnsley) - Tuesday 05-30-06 3:03
I almost wish you hadn't posted that in so much detail, Steve. I realise that it was in a different league, but if you can be blown out with such a strong lineup, what chance do I have? Is it really worth my while hanging around here relying on the kindness of strangers to save me from financial penalties?

It's all very well reading the managers of the stronger teams saying, with the best of intentions, that they must look out for the smaller teams. What if there are one or two who won't? However, I don't really want to rely on charity. My Morale takes the same hit whether I lose 1-0 or 8-0, so a defeat is a defeat. The only difference is whether the defeat is by more than a certain number of goals, and even that number is unclear, as there is even a difference of opinion between Al and the rules. Would it not be better to make sure I play an honest game? The same goes for the other team as well. It's all very well to say changing the rule would restrict a manager's choices when making selections, but as things stand, some of us have hardly any choice, as we have to play T11 and still rely on charity. Is that the kind of league we want?

The only other option I can see is to do away with inter-division play except for the promotion play-offs. If we only ever play against other teams from our own divisions, blowouts will probably disappear altogether, if managers take reasonable care over their lineups. As a compromise, maybe the cup games could be arranged by division in the group stage, with teams advancing to an unrestricted knockout competition. Of course, that would impose financial penalties on 2nd Division teams anyway, and probably greater than the likely blowout penalties, but it would leave us with full control over our lineup choices.

Steve (Asteria) - Tuesday 05-30-06 13:53
(Hmm it didn't post first time)

Sorry about that, Andy. But it's one of the things that makes MSWL and the others great to play in - you cannot predict the result just by looking at the lineups.

Personally I wouldn't want to see the inter-division games disappear. Asteria Kromatos are proud to have "seen off" two division One sides and are looking forward to playing the top side.

Anyways, how about

You are blown out if you lose by 6 (or 5 or even 4) goals and you play less than 80% of T17 (or 60% of T11 or any other amount we can all agree on).

Tim (Zaragoza) - Tuesday 05-30-06 16:52
Stating the obvious, I know, but I certainly agree that it would be better to include some evaluation of the lineup played and not solely the match GD.
Phil (Missouri) - Wednesday 05-31-06 0:40 thing that I haven't said here is that managers who intentionally and repeatedly throw matches (i.e. to remain in a lower division) should be and are ushered out the door.

Dang. I'm vocal this week. :-)
Tim (Zaragoza) - Wednesday 05-31-06 2:13

I don't know whether it helps clarify the debate or just blurs it. Oon the one side we've basically got the "let me run my team how I want to," and I completely sympathise as a manager. On the other side we've got the "managers should always aim to put out a respectable lineup," and I completely sympathise as a commissioner.

Putting on a commissioner hat briefly, I can tell you that managers will push whatever rules you make to the absolute limit that they can, and so they should. So depending on the "integrity" of a manager to not throw games is a forlorn hope if they can see themselves gaining some advantage. If just one manager does this, then that doesn't affect things too greatly, but if you increase the number, it very quickly becomes detrimental to the league as a whole.

My question then is whether the system as it currently stands can enforce this? Most of the existing managers have been around for some time, and we've developed habits that we don't generally change until someone makes it obvious to us that there is a significant advantage in doing so. How many long term Normal managers suddenly began playing some Longball this season? :-) With the current combination of shot limiter effect, blowout, points system and morale, is it more or less advantageous to throw every third match? I'd suggest that it is more, unless you are a top team with a chance of winning all of them. That throwing some matches can actually assist lower teams to gain a better placing. So why wouldn't you?

Graham (Barcelona) - Wednesday 05-31-06 4:14
Personally I try to play the best team I can while keeping my stars at or around 6 EL. This probably is the 80/80/80 strategy that Steve/Tim mentioned earlier in the discussion.

Occasionally I have to play more if I'm in a tough game, but usually I make a judgement call whether or not theres a tough match in the next session - as I'm going to have to play a weaker lineup the following week. Those weeks its probably more of a 80/90-95/65-70 lineup.

I'm not a number cruncher - I'm probably odd in this particular league (MSWL seems to have a higher proportion of obvious number crunchers) in that I just pick a team from the strongest players I have available and vaguely coach/train to increase obvious stars. Theres never a 6 year plan, in fact theres rarely a 6 day plan. Its very much touch and go with some blurry recollection of what I was thinking of the last time I put in a lineup.

This means I may never win the league or cup, but I'm having fun while I'm doing it...

Probably the only time I've come close to planning is in SESL this year when it was blindingly obvious that I needed to focus on youth this year to avoid the wooden spoon and to have a chance of D2 next season.

If I really focused by getting my hands on the code and examining the rule books for the algorithms I probably could become a number cruncher - but I do that all day, every day at work - I like to think of this as "fun" and switch the brain off a little.

So before I ramble about my childhood and other assorted recollections.... This discussion is all fair and good and I appreciate both sides of the discussion. For the sake of weaker teams avoiding punishment I'm probably leaning towards some sort of allowance being given for teams to mitigate blowout penalties.

For one, it means I dont have to put in "lifesaver" clauses in my tactics for 4-0 - which I didnt realise people did until a week or so ago - I certainly have never done this until recently except if I wanted to substitute folk off to save EL.

If the consensus is to move to a basic SL calculation to avoid blowout penalties then I'm all for it - but the T11 and T17 would probably have to be more strictly defined.

My suggestion is that T11 would probably have to include your best goalie, best two defensive players (DF or SW), best two midfielders, best two attackers (WG or FW), (as the minimum you are forced to play) then I'd respectfully submit that an average of the remaining players be taken. In the case of multi-pos players they should probably be included in whichever group they make most SL contribution (ie exclusion of them weakens that area them more than exclusion from the other group).

By being much more proscriptive than that for T11 you are not allowing for formation changes.

For T17 I'd suggest that we make it two goalkeepers, with three players in each area, followed by an average.

After that choose an appropriate value 50% of T11, 60% of T17 or whatever seems appropriate. or perhaps have a sliding scale.... below both you get penalised higher, in between the two scales and theres a mid level penalty, above both and no penalty whatsoever.

If necessary I'd be willing to learn whatever language the MSWL is written in these days and help out with coding it. Or probably better since I dont have access to the system put together an algorithm in a pseudo-code.

Ramblings from the desk of..... GMcD.

Graham (Barcelona) - Wednesday 05-31-06 4:17
If I get time I'll have a go at calculating my T11/T17 for one of the divisions and comparing it to the current calculations produced by Olmec and post it either here or on the Blog for amusement.....


Kevin (Kirksville) - Wednesday 05-31-06 11:20
Reducing the blowout fine to 60k or even 50k for Div 1 over Div 2 would be fine with me. Keeping it high for Div 2 over Div 1 is also good. For same division, 120k for Div 1 but maybe reduce to 100k for Div 2 as the weakest teams lurk there?

I'm for keeping the line in the sand at 6 goals. Since we don't use SET plays in this league anymore the impact of the refs on the game is minimized again. In leagues with SET still active a team can easily still go up by 6 even if they start stalling at +3. For MSWL I like 6. As Al points out above, it happens only rarely, so if the fines are reduced for the most obvious potentially wrongful impact to a team (Div 1 team gets nasty or smart and puts big hurt on little Div 2 team in a hurry) that would address the matter.

Changing to anything else would require adding on pages to the rule book where the perhaps complex formulas (as the one Graham proposed above looks like it could easily become) and/or situations (except when top GK is injured/suspended or when your top two FWs get sent off or when your mom reads over your shoulder while you do lineups and makes you change your tactics in the big game "Because it's not nice to play dirty all the time, young man. Now go say you're sorry on the blog for hurting his midfielder last game and then wash up for dinner." etc.) would need to be explained in detail. As it currently stands, several of our friends and managers still haven't figured out the tactical modifier formulas after playing for years, so adding another one would only make the problem worse. If you need any proof of that, just look at the number of times a team plays Opp against an obvious Longball squad and made my offense better while also improving their own chance of being blown out even after I pulled my top FWs off the pitch! With the online move two seasons back a manager can in theory (and many may indeed) play 'paperless' and not do any number crunching on paper prior to submitting lineups. Any rule other than a straight goal differential line would penalize the less fanatical and/or mathematically inclined managers or else make them just quit after once again needing to drop a note on the blog to clarify "40% of what number or 80% of which other number unless I played at least 7 of who? And can someone come over and show me how to do percents on my calculator?"

I guess ultimately I'm just a "fair's fair" guy at heart. If the big rewards go to the teams who get lucky after risking big, then the penalties should also be decided by the random number generator for those who risk at all.

Robin (Ayers Rock) - Wednesday 05-31-06 17:26
Steve , I can not believe you lost 5-0 !!! , just shows how sometimes the Olmec does throw a curve ball , no fault of the manager, so as I said previously , we need something in place to avoid punishing the manager TWICE .

Yes Al I know ours is 6 goals :)
Steve (Asteria) - Wednesday 05-31-06 17:53
I think it was a knuckle ball actually.
Andy (Barnsley) - Thursday 06-01-06 4:57
At the risk of going against everything I've already written, how about this idea?

As suggested above, when Division 2 beats Division 1, keep it as it is, and the same for Division 1 over Division 1. Allowing for the weakest teams (eg Barnsley) being in the nether reaches of Division 2, change the penalties as follows:

Division 1 over Division 2, no gate revenue awarded to either team
Division 2 over Division 2, no gate revenue to the losing team.

As the weakest teams are, obviously, in Division 2, it protects them from the bigger teams by obliging the Division 1 manager to make sure he doesn't overdo it, and a simple Stall order should be enough, after all. Within Division 2, making sure a manager doesn't throw the game by resting too many players should do the trick. That leaves the matter of lineup choice entirely to the managers, while allowing reasonable protection to the weakest teams. In my case, I was blown out against SCO when I rested too many players and my tactics were too naive, so I deserved to be penalised. What do you guys think?

Andy (Barnsley) - Thursday 06-01-06 4:59
By the way, if we do go this way, sorry to Graham for undermining all his hard work on T11/T17 calculations.
Tim (Zaragoza) - Thursday 06-01-06 16:46

Heh, heh. After stirring up this mess, I think I'd better say that I find the current system entirely livable with. Just want to be sure that what is being done is recognised as what it is. A penalty for a GD of -6 or greater. Not for the lineup submitted. Change what it says in the rules and no complaints. Or change the penalty to address the lineup as the rule suggests. Guess which is easier? ;-)

Suddenly clicked to something lately. Much less offensive is a pose a question rather than make a statement. They're both the same from my point of view, but read quite differently. Eg.

"Now that it is possible to police it in a direct fashion, it should be done. Penalties should be applied for wrong doing, not for random chance."


"Now that it is possible to police it in a direct fashion, should it be done? Shouldn't penalties be applied for wrong doing, not for random chance?"

Earthshattering, I know, but I'm never too old to learn something new. Apparently. If, perhaps, somewhat slow. ;-)

Allan (Memphis) - Sunday 06-04-06 17:03
Al....wading back into this discussion.

Yeah, I'm okay with just keeping it as-is for now. But it sounds like we need to clean up the verbiage. "A blowout is when you lose by 6 or more goals. You may have played a good may have played a bad lineup. You may also have played a good lineup against a far superior team. Without this simple rule in place we get into a lot of interpretation or formulas to decide what's fair which is another arbritrary method. Let's just keep it at the simple 6".

I could go the appeals route here and started to write something up. However, again, the results the past two seasons just don't tell me that this is a HIGH VOLUME phenomenon. If that changes, as always, I am willing to be flexible.

Steve (Asteria) - Monday 06-05-06 17:33
I'm in Firefox and can't see Al's last post in this thread without looking at the page source.
Ian (Kendal) - Monday 06-05-06 18:44
I couldn't get the last several in IE, last couple in firefox, but believe it or not, I just managed OK with Opera :)

Ian (Kendal) - Monday 06-05-06 18:44
...and am wondering why I bothered :)
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