The purpose of the Replay Money League (RML) is the enjoyment of tabletop baseball by league members.
The league name derives from the fact the league originally used the game Replay Baseball. It is now using Strat-O-Matic Baseball. The league is devised to reward members who understand the subtlety of baseball and can recognize talented players early in their careers.
The league is divided into two conferences: the American and the National. Each conference has three divisions, designated as East, Central, and West. Two wild card teams from each conference will be the two non-division winners with the best records.
All decisions are made by the league Commissioner. Commissioner duties may be divided among as many people as the Commissioner desires. When the duties are handled by a single individual, that person will be the Commissioner. All decisions are final. Duties of the Commissioner consist of setting the rules of play and administering league business.
Whenever possible, league members will be given an opportunity to comment on proposed rules. Manager suggestions are welcome and an effort will be made to reach a consensus among league members, but the Commissioner has the final word. Rules will be based on the goals of recreating the aspects of major league baseball as much as possible while being as fair to the league and to individual members as possible. If put to a league-wide vote, two-thirds of those voting must approve of any rules changes.
In addition, the Commissioner also will keep current money balances for all members, conduct player drafts, record and report trades, publish rosters, establish schedules and reporting deadlines, assess fines, select new managers and expel those who violate rules, establish conferences and divisional alignment, and adjust game rules to conform to league needs. In addition, the Commissioner may decide to disband teams, or on the other hand, to have league expansion.
The duties of managers are as follows:
- Pay dues.
- Keep accurate statistics for all players.
- Maintain their own current rosters, trades, and money balances for their own teams. The Commissioner keeps these records, but the team manager keeps his records as a safety net.
- Send road instructions for his team to the home manager in an easily readable and understood format and in a timely fashion.
- Play all games and report results by the deadlines.
- Send box scores and computer game files to the road team manager.
- The home manager should send game result files to the league stat keeper.
The Commissioner may maintain a waiting list of potential managers. It may replace managers either during the season or at the conclusion of a season. A potential manager slated to take over an existing team at the conclusion of a season, may be designated an associate member.
Dues for all members are payable in October for the coming season with the dues being $10 annually. Dues may be waived at the discretion of the Commissioner.
Bonus points are awarded for prompt payment of dues. The Commissioner also may arrange delayed payment plans on the request of individual members. Failure to meet dues deadlines or to arrange for delayed payment may result in expulsion from the league.
RULES AND ROSTERS
Generally, all league rules are included in the Constitution. A synopsis of league rules, with any adjustments to the game rules, will be published by the Commissioner before the start of play each season.
The maximum major league roster size per team is 30 players. The maximum minor league roster size per team is 45 players. This also includes those minor league players selected in the inverse order (linear portion) of the Minor League Draft.
Before the start of play each season, each team must have enough pitchers for 162 starts and enough position players to provide 600 or more at bats for each position (including the DH). Specifically, each team must have a minimum of 5 outfielders, 6 infielders, and 2 catchers for a total of 13 position players. One player can serve as a backup for more than one position, but every starter must have a backup even if they are eligible to play every game of the RML regular season.
Some position players and pitchers may be designated as ‘unlimited’ players. Unlimited status is calculated on the basis of on base average plus slugging percentage (OPS). The Commissioner will, each year establish the OPS, which will be used as the demarcation between regular players and those who are unlimited. The demarcation number for determining unlimited players will be 125 points below the major league average OPS for batters and 50 points higher than the same average for pitchers. The Commissioner will adjust the OPS figures yearly in order to keep the number of unlimited players in the league at a relatively constant level so that there are sufficient players for all teams, but not so many as to flood the league and distort play.
Unlimited pitchers are restricted to a maximum of 38 starts and a total of 81 appearances if also used as relievers, unless they made more starts or more appearances during the major league season. An unlimited pitcher must have at least one start historically in order to be used as a starter.
Pitchers with an OPS under the cutoff figure are limited to their actual number of starts or their actual innings pitched plus 10 percent. Pitchers with more starts than relief appearances are considered starters and are restricted to their actual starts and relief appearances regardless of innings. Pitchers with more relief appearances than starts are considered relievers and are limited to their actual innings pitched plus 10 percent regardless of the number of appearances made. If a pitcher has more starts than relief appearances, BUT averages less than 3 innings per start (i.e., “openers”), he shall be deemed for RML usage as a relief pitcher, subject to relief pitcher limitations. Relievers who made starts may still be used as starters up to the number of actual starts, but are limited by innings pitched. If a pitcher has exactly the same number of starts as a reliever, he is considered to be a reliever for determining usage during the regular season play. However, during the playoffs, this same pitcher usage will be determined as if that pitcher were a starting pitcher. A non-unlimited starting pitcher who made no relief appearances may not be used in relief even if that pitcher does not use all of his starts. Position players are restricted to their historical major league at bats plus 10%.
Players who had fewer than 100 AB are considered minor league players. Any player who had more than 500 historical AB is considered to have unlimited usage for RML purposes. Those players who qualify as unlimited due to the OPS standards mentioned above, also have unrestricted use.
Starters need 3 days of rest between starts, but relievers need no rest between appearances unless the next game after an appearance they are scheduled to start a game; then they need one day of rest.
For players who played on multiple major league teams during the season, RML will use the “composite” card.
THE MONEY CONCEPT
Teams have three sources of income: finish money from their divisional standings at the end of the season, playoff winnings, and bonuses as established by the Commissioner. Bonuses (see below) may include a one-time grant to new managers and awards for meeting dues, drafts, rosters, and statistics reporting deadlines.
The basic unit of money is $1,000 and fractions of $1,000 are not allowed. When salary rules or other procedures call for a fraction of $1,000, always round to the manager’s detriment. For example, a 10 percent increase of a $151,000 salary is $16,000, which would drive the salary to $167,000. However, a 10 percent cut from $151,000 is $15,000 lowering the salary to $136,000.
Each team also receives a minor league subsidy of $300,000 per year. This money must be used for drafting and salaries of uncarded minor league players and may not be transferred to major league accounts. Major league funds may be transferred to minor league accounts with such transfers being reported to the Commissioner. Once money is transferred to the minor league account, it cannot be transferred back to the major league account.
The Commissioner may adjust the finish money awards, but will publish the amounts before the start of each season. Until otherwise adjusted, the finish money awards are determined by finish order within your division as follows: 1st - $2,100,000; 2nd - $2,000,000; 3rd - $1,900,000; 4th - $1,800,000; 5th - $1,800,000.
In case of a tie in the order of finish, the finish money for the two positions is split between the teams. If there is a tie for first place in the same division, the two teams will split first and second place monies. Also, there will be a one game playoff with the home team being decided by a coin toss. This will determine who is the second place team for playoff purposes and may qualify as a wild card team.
In addition to finish money, playoff teams also receive awards for their playoff appearance. Both teams participating in the wild card round will receive $10,000. Second round (division series) playoff winners will receive $20,000 and losers receive $10,000. Conference champions receive $40,000 and the losers $20,000.
Finally, the winner of the League Championship Series gets $69,000 while the runner-up receives $23,000.
The basic annual sum for operation of the league is $53,000,000, which does not include the automatic sums received in the minor league account. Finish money and playoff money is paid from this fund. The remainder is designated the bonus fund. All fines assessed are paid into the bonus fund. Bonus points (see below) will be given to teams that report statistics promptly and meet deadlines. At the end of the season, but before salary negotiations, the Commissioner will divide the money existing in the pool by the bonus points awarded to all teams to determine the value of each bonus point. That result will be awarded to each team for the number of points it has been awarded.
Individual teams may carry balances from year to year, and no team may operate in a deficit condition.
However, there may be certain circumstances, deemed by the Commissioner, where a team may be awarded players after the Waiver Draft has been concluded and the team does not have enough money to cover the expense of the use of the assigned player(s). Thus a negative balance may exist.
PENALTIES AND BONUSES
The Commissioner has authority to assess penalties against managers. All managers have the obligation to make prompt reports of game results and game stats. The penalty for late report of a series will be $50,000 to be assessed at the bonus date of the following series in addition to the loss of the potential bonus point. Also a penalty of $1,000 a day will begin running at that time. When the total penalty has reached $72,000, the Commissioner will then either ask the visiting manager to play the games for the delinquent home manager, or assign the games to another manager to be played. No penalty will be assessed in cases in which a manager, not otherwise delinquent, asks for help in keeping current.
If the visiting manager fails to send instructions, but the home manager does not contact the Commissioner for contingency instructions, each manager may be fined. Each time contingency instructions are used, the road team will be fined $5,000.
Should the home manager consistently fail to send game results to the visiting manager, the home manager may be fined up to $25,000 for each such failure when the failure is reported to the Commissioner in a timely manner.
Teams may be fined at the conclusion of the season for overuse of players. The fines are $1,000 for each at bat over the player limit, $2,0000 per relief appearance, $5,000 for each pitching appearance over the limit for starters, and $1,000 for each IP over the limit for relievers. Usage limits for every player will be provided to managers and maintained by the Commissioner at the beginning at the beginning of each season. These are the official limits, which will be used to determine overusage. The Commissioner may use his discretion to forgive overuse that it deems incidental to play-by-mail league operation, but teams are also deemed responsible to oversee their usage. An inadvertent “extra” start in mid-season should not be an excuse for overusage if a team owner is conscientiously monitoring usage throughout the season.
The Commissioner has the authority to fashion other penalties or bonuses as circumstances dictate.
Twenty (20) bonus points may be earned during the season as follows: 1 point awarded for timely reporting of home series (12 total); 2 points awarded for timely and correct submission of pre-season contingent Computer Manager (“CM”); 2 points awarded for timely submission of payroll; 2 points each for timely submission of unowned draft and minor league draft lists. In addition, 1 bonus point shall be deducted for each player cut after the “waiver cutoff date” established annually by the Commissioner. Each bonus point shall be worth 10K.
NEW MANAGER RELIEF
When a new manager enters the league and inherits a weak team, the Commissioner has the discretion to grant relief to that team. If the Commission deems relief is in order, they may take one or more of the following actions:
- Forgive all fines that may have accumulated against a team because of the actions of a prior manager.
- Allow the new manager to void a maximum of two multi-year contracts he inherited with the team.
- Grant a new manager bonus of $250,000 to the team. The bonus is ‘new’ money and is not taken from the league bonus fund.
Trading is permitted only during limited periods designated by the Commissioner. When managers agree on a trade, one of the managers must be designated to report the trade to the league office. Reporting the transaction must be immediate. When making a trade, one of the participants shall send an e-mail to the other participant and the Commissioner, outlining the trade. The other participant shall respond to that e-mail, addressed to both the other owner and the Commissioner, acknowledging the trade. The Commissioner will then notify the rest of the league, by posting the trade on the league website.
No trade may be made based on promises for future considerations or delayed payment. No trades are permitted for the popular “player to be named later”. Major league funds may be traded, but minor league funds may not be traded.
The Commissioner must approve all trades made by first year managers. The Commissioner must also approve trades between teams controlled by members of the same family, or by the same manager in a proxy position. If one of the managers involved in the trade is the Commissioner, another manager not involved in the trade must review the transaction and give approval. Trades judged to be contrary to the best interest of the league may be voided or modified.
No player may be traded a second time until the first trade has been reported.
Managers are expected to keep accurate records and to make accurate reports to the Commissioner. If abuses occur, the Commissioner may require written trade reports, assess fines, or take other action against offending managers.
All trades are off-season transactions. During the first trading period, which traditionally commences Sept. 1 and runs through October 31, the RML regular season is still in progress. Players do not change teams until the conclusion of the season. Trading ends for all teams on the deadline date.
A second trading period runs from January 1 thru February: this occurs after such off-season activities as the payroll process and the free agent draft. The unowned player draft usually occurs in mid-January, as well.
A third trading period runs for one week (late February or early March) after the waiver draft and before final roster cut-down.
Beginning with the 2019 RML season, there will be an in-season trading period in June. Trades can be made during the month of June, from the 1st to the 26th, to take effect during the July block. Trades would not have to be "even." To compensate for "uneven" trades, teams may select from the unowned players to fill their playing roster back up to 30. Teams must cut down to 30 if they end up with more. These moves would be made on June 27th. "Added" players may not be retained at the conclusion of the season--they will go back into unowned when the season ends. Players "cut" for June trades are not "pick-up-able" by others on the 27th. "Added" players must be paid their minimum RML salary, based on experience, for the rest of the season. Teams needing “added” players will pick them up in reverse standing order as of the end of the June block. Tie-breaker will be worst division record. Teams may have more than 45 minor leaguers after the June trading period is completed.
Trading ends for all teams on the deadline date(s).
Each year, on a date set by the Commissioner, (usually in early November) teams will pay salaries for all players on their rosters. A trading period will be held before payrolls are due.
The Commissioner shall set minimum at bats, pitching appearances, and innings pitched limits from time to time to control the number of players available for the league. Currently players with 100 or more MLB at bats and pitchers with either 10 or more MLB starts, pitchers with 30 or more MLB appearances, or pitchers with 60 or more MLB innings pitched qualify for RML play, thereby being “carded” for RML purposes. All others who appeared in MLB, but did not meet any of those thresholds, are RML minor leaguers. The Commissioner may permit the use of players who might otherwise be assigned to the minor leagues on a player-by-player basis upon the application of the particular team manager.
Players are paid according to their seniority, and this is determined by the years of continuous service qualifying for RML play. Each seniority level has a minimum salary, which protects players from being bid on by rival teams. The salary for all regular minor league players is $10,000. A scale for paying players is as follows:
- A rookie or a player in his first carded year is paid $15,000 and is protected at this salary.
- A player in his second year is paid $20,000 and is protected at this salary.
- A player in his third year must be paid $25,000, and to be protected from bidding by rival teams during the Free Agent Draft, the player must be paid $50,000.
- A player in his fourth carded year must be paid a minimum of $30,000, but must be paid $60,000 to be protected from bidding by rival teams during the Free Agent Draft.
- A player in his fifth carded year of service must be paid a minimum of $35,000, but must be paid $70,000 to be protected from bidding by rival teams during the Free Agent Draft.
The minimum salary for veterans (players with more than five years experience) is $40,000. The protected rate for veterans is a percentage increase based on their previous year’s salary. A veteran who earned less than $101,000 the previous year must get a 50 % increase and must be paid, at least, $80,000 to be protected. A veteran who was paid between $101,000 and $150,000 must get a 25 % increase to be protected. A veteran who earned $151,000 or more must get a 10 percent increase to be protected.
If a player is protected, he remains on his team’s roster, but if the team chooses not to protect a player, it has three options:
- Cut the player and allow him to be placed in the pool for the Unowned Player’s Draft.
- Reduce the player’s salary by up to 25 percent, which allows other teams to bid on him in the Free Agent Draft. The owning manager has no answering rights, and the player is lost to the highest bidder who bids more than the original salary offer. A special clarification needs to be made on this point. If a player were in his 4th year of service and had been paid 60 the previous year, for example, the player could only be cut to, at most 45 (25% cut from 60); not 35 which would be ½ the 70 the player would need to be paid in order to protect him from the Free Agent Draft. This is an exception to the regular salary pay scale.
- Pay the player at least as much as he was paid the previous year. The player goes into the Free Agent Draft, but the owning team can match the highest bid and keep the player.
In addition to protecting players for single year contracts, teams have the option of offering multi-year contracts to players with three or more years of seniority including players bid on in the Free Agent Draft. The minimum rate for a multi-year contract is $80,000 with the maximum length of a multi-year contract being five years. Multi-year contracts may not be offered to major league players in their first or second years of being carded.
Yearly salaries for players on multi-year contracts are paid during salary negotiations of each year of the contract. A player on a five-year, $100,000 contract would be paid in $100,000 increments in the salary phase of each year of the contract. Multi-year contracts are guaranteed for the players and are paid regardless of performance. Salaries cannot be reduced and contracts are retained by the players when they are traded. The only way a multi-year contract can be reduced is if the player does not get “carded” for RML purposes in a given year. In that case, the manager can buy off the player’s contract by paying 50 % of the salary for the remaining years of the contract. The player can then be cut or retained as an RML minor leaguer, being paid the $10,000 minor league salary. For example, if the player has three years remaining on a $100,000 contract, but will not get be “carded” (meaning that the player is not eligible for play in the RML for the upcoming season), he can be paid $150,000 (out of the team’s major league funds) and returned to the RML minors for $10,000 of minor league funds.
Managers who wish to remove carded players with multi-year contracts from their rosters may do so by paying off the full value of their contracts. This means a carded player with three years left on a $100,000 contract must be paid $300,000 to be removed from the roster. In addition, if a team has a player on a multi-year contract and the player is jailed or suspended, the team may cut the player without paying off the contract. If a player is cut under this provision, and the player later is reinstated and qualifies for RML play, the team that cut the player is barred from reclaiming him either as a major leaguer, or a minor league player. To retain rights to such a player, the team must pay off the player under the regular salary rules and carry the player on the minor league roster.
Players who do not qualify for RML play lose all seniority and become minor leaguers. If they qualify in a subsequent year, they are considered to be in their first carded year.
When a multi-year contract expires, the protected rate for the player is calculated by extrapolating what the protected rate would have been as if the player had received regular yearly increases during the life of the contract. For example, if a player had been given an $80,000 contract in his third year of service, upon its expiration, the new protected rate would be calculated at the point with three more years of service. The salary progression would begin at $50,000 (year one of contract, 3d year protected salary) then go to $60,000 (Y2 of contract, fourth year protected salary), $70,000 (Y3, 5th year protected), and the protected rate at that point for the first year after the contract expires would be $105,000 (6th year player=”veteran”=50% raise from previous year). Or, say, the player had been given an $80,000 contract in the fifth year of service, the progression calculation would be: $70,000 (5th year protected salary); $105,000 (50% raise from previous year); $132,000 (25% raise); $165,000 (25% raise); $182,000 (10% raise), and the new contract protected rate would be $201,000 (10% raise). If the player had been granted a multi-year contract as a veteran, the progression starts at the contract figure. Thus, an $80,000 four-year contract granted in the sixth year would produce a progression of $80,000, $120,000 (50% raise), $150,000 (25% raise), $188,000 (10% raise), would need to be paid $207,000 (10% raise) to be protected the year after that contract expired. Please see the payment of players under salaries for the 50%, 25%, and the 10% increase in salaries for these types of players.
Players who are left unprotected (salary-wise) after the payroll process are subject to bids in the Free Agent Draft. The date of the draft (really a bid/auction process) will be announced by the Commissioner after the salary negotiation phase is completed. A list of unprotected players, their protected rates, the owning teams, and salaries offered to players will be provided for consideration prior to the draft.
Teams participating in the Free Agent Draft must submit a written list of no more than 10 bids, but may acquire no more than three players. Bids are to be listed in order of priority. Teams will be required to designate a specific maximum amount of their major league money to bid on free agents. Current owners will be required to provide a written priority list of answers they will make to bids on their exposed players including the maximum amount of major league money to be used to answer bids. The priority lists will be used when a given team makes more than three successful bids or has made bids that would exceed its designated funds if all the top bids were successful.
Single year offers may be made for any amount greater than the original team’s offer. Multi-year offers must be at the protected rate or greater. In this draft, when single year offers are for more than the protected rate, the excess over the protected rate is considered a bonus. For example, if a veteran has a protected rate of $80,000 and the successful bid on the player is a single year offer of $101,000, $21,000 is considered a bonus and the player goes on the roster with an $80,000 salary. There are no bonuses involved with multi-year contracts.
For purposes of determining highest bid, single year bids will be taken at face value. Multi-year bids will be taken at face value for the first year and 50% of face value for any additional years. For example, player X has been exposed by Team A at $80,000 with a protected rate of $165,000 with answering rights. Team B bids $85,000, Team C bids $300,000, and Team D bids $165,000 for 2 years. The Team D bid is valued at $247,000. That means Team C is the high bidder. Team A, however, has indicated it will answer up to $165,000 for 3 years (a bid with a total value of $330,000). In the above situation, if Team D had bid $166,000 for 3 years, Team D’s bid would have been successful. If Team E makes a high bid of $166,000 for 3 years on the player for a total value of $332,000 and Team A had indicated they would protect a player for $165,000 for four years, team A is considered to have answered at $165,000 for 4 years; the amount sufficient to meet the Team E bid.
If a team submits no bids, it is deemed to be abstaining from the Free Agent Draft. If a manger submits no list of answering offers on players he has exposed, he is deemed to be answering no bid on his players. The bid lists and answering lists must be received by the deadline set by the Commissioner. The Commissioner retains the right to void or modify any bids deemed contrary to the best interest of the league as a whole.
The other drafts are the carded Un-owned Player’s Draft, the Minor League Draft (which includes a linear and auction section of the draft), and the Waiver Draft. Dates for each draft will be announced annually by the Commission.
Teams participating in the carded Un-owned Player’s Draft and the auction segment of the Minor League Draft will be required to designate a maximum amount of money to be spent on players and the maximum number of players to be acquired. Managers must list the desired players in priority order. There is no limit on the number of players who can be acquired.
Bidding lists can include contingency instructions in the carded Un-owned Player’s Draft as to the type and number of players desired. For example, a team can stipulate that it wants only one second baseman, or that it wants three pitchers and no more. Contingency instructions cannot include offers to pay $1,000 more than any other bids. Additionally, monetary bids may not be conditional, ie.: “I’ll take Player X for $50,000, but if nobody else bids on him, I’ll take him for $25.” One name, one bid. Teams are expected to keep their instructions as short and clear as possible. The formula for determining the value of competing multi-year offers will be the same as outlined above for the free agent draft.
The linear draft for minor league players will be conducted firstly in two rounds in inverse order of finish determined in the previous season. In case two or more teams have identical records, the draft order for those teams will be determined by a coin flip. Each player drafted will cost the drafting team $20,000 of its minor league money. No draft position may be traded or sold. A team may draft any player who would otherwise be eligible for the auction segment of the Minor League Draft.
Thereafter, minor leaguers will be selected via auction. In the auction draft for minor leaguers, the bids must include the complete name of the player and the name of the owning major league organization or other affiliation. Any other identifying information should also be included—birth dates are helpful, especially when names are otherwise similar. This is to assure that the RML team is credited with the right player.
Incomplete bids will be ignored.
Rosters may include more than 30 major league players and more than 45 minor league players at any point up until the time the Commission sets for submission of final rosters for the coming season. Rosters must then be cut to the limit.
Following the submission of the final rosters, but before the start of the season, the Commissioner will publish a waiver list of all un-owned players including players who have been cut. Teams may draft these players for their major league roster. If their major league roster is already at 30 players, and the team wishes to take part in the Waiver Draft, it must cut one or more players at the waiver cut-down date to create roster space for each new player to be taken on waivers.
The Waiver Draft is a linear draft with the team with the worst record in the previous season drafting first and the best record last. Managers participating must submit a priority list of the players desired, the maximum number of players to be taken, and the maximum amount to be spent.
In the Waiver Draft, in the first round, the cost of each player will be the minimum salary for the experience level of the player: $15,000 for the first year; $20,000 for the second year, $25,000 for the 3rd; $30,000 for the 4th; $35,000 for the 5th; and $40,000 for veterans. In the second and later rounds of the Waiver Draft, the cost of each player will be $15,000 regardless of years of experience. However, this cost will not in any way change the years of experience of the player. Thus, if a veteran is acquired in the second or subsequent rounds, the protected rate for that player in the next season will still be $80,000.
Should teams make identical offers in any auction segment of a draft, the edge goes to the team with the poorer record from the previous season. In case of a tie, the winner is determined on the basis of the order of draft, which is the same one used for the linear segment of the Minor League Draft.
GENERAL PROVISIONS OF PLAY
Before the season begins, each manager must provide the Commissioner, by a date designated, with a season pitching rotation and a contingency lineup. A computer manager is the preferred method. These rotations and lineups will be used to give the home manager instructions in the event instructions from opponents are not received or are not sent.
If a team believes it has insufficient at bats, or pitching for the season, the manager may request the Commissioner to assign additional players from the pool of players unclaimed after the Waiver Draft (this would avoid over use of players in the upcoming season and a subsequent end of season fine). The cost of such players will be deducted from the finish money of the team at the end of the season. Also the Commissioner may assign such players without request if it is decided that a team has insufficient at bats or pitching appearances. The procedure for assigning a player (or players) to a team is as follows: the assigned player(s) shall be the worst player(s) available at the position needed, with one exception. If the worst player(s) available is/are deemed "extremely inferior" to the next worst player(s), the next worst player(s) shall be assigned. In cases where two teams need a player at the same position, the reverse finish order shall determine which team gets the better player.
Visiting team instructions for each series should be provided to the home manager by the starting date of the series. This might be providing the home manager with a CM custom-made for that series, or it might be simply informing the home manager to “go ahead and use the contingency CM in the league file.” If a home manager has not received instructions after the starting date of the series, he may call the Commissioner for permission to use contingency instructions.
Managers are expected to keep instructions as simple as possible, and home managers are expected to follow the instructions as nearly as possible in both the letter and the spirit. If instructions are unclear, managers are urged to contact their opponent for clarification.
Home managers must play the games, compile the statistics, and send a copy of the statistics along with game box scores to the opponent by the reporting deadline.
A copy of the computer game files must be sent to the stat keeper, and a copy of the game box scores may be required by the stat keeper in case of disputes. Computer game files are the mandatory format for reporting series results to the Commissioner. Failure to provide uniform stats may be cause for fines being levied. The league statkeeper will send out a new .lzp file at the conclusion of each block to monitor usage.
Managers who believe their teams were misused by home managers may protest any lost games to the Commissioner. Protests must include score sheets, instructions, and details of why the game is being protested. The decision of the Commissioner is final.
The RML is a mail league, and except for the playoffs, face-to-face play or netplay is always optional. Managers can insist that regular season games be played by instructions/computer manager. Attempts to arrange face-to-face play will not be an excuse for late reporting of results.
The league schedule will be set by the Commissioner and distributed at such time as will enable managers to meet their deadlines for season pitching rotations and mail instructions for the start of the season. The season playing schedule will be comprised of six monthly “blocks.” Home game results for each block must be submitted to the stat-keeper by the 30th day of each month during the season. The stat-keeper will distribute a new .lzp file as shortly thereafter as possible for the next block.
- There are players who are termed “unlimited players”. The determination as to whom qualifies under this category is predicated on the average final season OPS of the major leagues. A batter is not affected by AB limitations, but is only limited, as are other players, by the end of game injury rule. Starting pitchers who are unlimited are shown on the pitching roster file by a 38/43 designation which shows that they may appear in 81 games, no more than 38 of which may be starts (and are not limited by innings pitched) during the course of the RML playing season. Unlimited RML starters who did not relieve that season in MLB (and thus do not have a relief rating) will be assigned a 3-inning relief rating for RML. Unlimited relief pitchers who did not have any starts during the regular major league season may make up to 81 appearances, with no innings limit.
- Players who have 500+ AB during the regular major league season are considered to be unlimited or “fully carded” for league purposes. This means they have no limitations on potential usage during the regular RML season. All other players are limited by their actual AB's plus a predetermined percentage for each playing season.
- Each team may carry a roster of 30 major league players for each season/game. There are no roster limitations when playing the games.
- All injuries are only for the rest of game. On frequent occasions, SOM will injure a player for more than the end of game. However, managers should use the “Days Off” function before each game to ensure that all players are ready for the next game to be played. There are no carry over of injuries to the next game played.
- Squeeze plays may not be used against written instructions. They may be employed when playing face-to-face, against a CM or during netplay.
- A player normally may only play a position at which he is rated by Strat. Players may be played out of position only if there are no rated players remaining for that position, subject to the defensive ratings that Strat gives the out-of-position player. Outfielders may play any outfield position, subject to the defensive rate shift implemented by the Strat game engine for an unrated position.
- All unlimited starting pitchers must remain in the game until after the 3rd inning of the game, or if they give up 3 runs whichever comes first. For instance, if an unlimited starter has started a game and they have pitched 2.2 innings, have given up 2 runs, have two outs, but have the bases loaded, they must either get the 3rd out or give up a third run before being relieved. Starters must have at least three days off between starts. A pitcher may not relieve the day after a start, nor start the day after a relief appearance.
- All teams in RML utilize the designated hitter (DH)
- RML does not use ballparks, clutch or weather effects.
Playoffs are conducted in four rounds, starting with the two wild cards in each conference playing a best-of-five game series. (The team with the best record will have the home field advantage, hosting games 1, 2 and 5.) In any series, should the two teams have identical season records, a coin toss will be used to determine who has home field advantage for this round, and the same applies for determining home field advantage in the first round. (The only exception to this will be that, regardless of record, the division winner with the best record will always have the home field advantage when playing the wild-card winner.)
The next round, best-of-seven, will, in each conference, be the division winner with the best record (home field advantage, hosting games 1,2, 6,7) playing the winner of the wild card series and the other two divisional winners will play each other with the team having the best record having home field advantage.
In the next round, winners of the previous round meet for the conference championship.
And, finally, Conference champions meet in the World Series. American Conference champions have the home field advantage in odd numbered years and the National Conference champions have the home field advantage in even numbered years.
Should a conference have a division where no team has a winning percentage above .500, then the team with the next best record after the two wild card teams will be selected for the playoffs, regardless of the division. Should this occur, the two wild card team with the lesser records will play in the wild card round. If there are two teams which have identical records, there will be a one game playoff to determine which team will make the playoffs.
The Commissioner will notify the playoff teams of their first round opponents as soon as playoff teams for each conference can be determined, and will send out a playoff .lzp. In as much as the RML is a mail league, playoffs may also be handled by mail, although face-to-face play or netplay is encouraged whenever possible.
It is the responsibility of the participating managers to make their own arrangements, exchange instructions, and proceed with play in a prompt manner. They also must inform the Commissioner of the arrangements and report the game-by-game playoff results to the Commissioner and the stat keeper. In the event a playoff manager is unable to play his games in a timely manner, he must designate a proxy to handle all playoff games on his behalf.
If the playoff managers have not made their arrangements and reported them to the Commissioner within ten days of the time they have been notified by the Commissioner, the Commissioner may proceed to arrange for completion of that playoff series. In the event that the Commissioner must make such arrangements, each of the participating teams may be fined an amount equal to the amount that the winner of the series would otherwise receive.
For all playoffs, including the League Series, a day of rest is counted for pitchers between games two and three and between games five and six. This means that a pitcher who starts game one can also start games four and seven. The most games that any pitcher can start in the series, is three. Limitations of pitchers classified as starters are season starts divided by ten and rounded down. For example, a starter with thirty-three starts will be eligible for three starts in the series.
Starting pitchers can be used as starters and/or relievers in the playoffs, using the following formula based upon how many starts they had:
- 10-14 Starts: 1 start or 1 relief appearance
- 15-19 Starts: 2 appearances with no more than 1 being a start
- 20 -24 Starts: 2 appearances in any combination of starts and relief appearances
- 25-29 Starts: 3 appearances with no more than 2 being starts
- 30+ Starts: 3 appearances in any combination of starts and relief appearances
Limitations for relievers will be five percent of their regular RML season innings allowance using normal rounding procedures plus three innings (example: a reliever who had 50 IP during the regular league season would be available for 6 innings during the playoffs).
At bat usage during the playoffs for players with regular season limitations are based on 5 percent of regular RML season allowance totals, using normal rounding procedures, plus 5 at bats.
All injuries are treated as “rest of game” injuries requiring an immediate replacement for the player injured. This enables managers to exchange instructions for the entire series without regard to any carry-over injuries between home and road games.