Oakland Baseball Simworld
Website Lesson Section
Developed by Sports Business Simulations
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Login to use the Oakland Baseball Simworld. Click here.
Introduction - Using The Sim in Your Class
This curiculum planning system was developed to be used in conjuntion with the adoption of the
Oakland Baseball Simworld for use in your class. With this you will be able to immediately and readily apply the simulation
for use in your classroom.Please review the SBS Oakland Baseball Simworld page to read about the orgin of the simulation (click here)
SBS's primary charge is the development and presentation
of online simulations of sports teams and leagues for use in the
college classroom. SBS's products are not designed to replace textbooks
or, for that matter, the "in-class" experience. SBS's products,
all of which are available with one SBS World membership, are employed
to enhance the classroom experience. While this section presents a particular way to use the sim in your class,
it also presents other ways that professors have used it in their courses.
The SBS World is online, and
is accessible via any Internet-ready computer, anywhere in the
world. You can become part of the SBS
World right from the computer you're using right now with just click here. All it takes
is a $12.50 membership fee per student, per class. Each teacher receives a "facilitator" level account which permits them to
keep track of the simulations scores and working habits of each individual student in a class.
Once a part of the SBS World, there are various ways to
use SBS to enhance the classroom experience
Using the Oakland Baseball Simworld, students under SBS Co-Founder Professor Dan Rascher at the
University of San Francisco's Sport Management Program
played the role of imaginary management consultant,
trying different business strategies within the simulator, then writing a paper
on which strategy the "organization" should adopt. In this way, the simulator
was the testing ground for different subjects written about in the sports textbook,
from variable pricing to public bond financing for a new stadium. Students
grasp the ideas and concepts faster when SBS's simulators are employed as a
tool within the classroom.
SBS has developed sample class project descriptions for you to use in your
class, with minimal alternations. Just click here on "Oakland
Baseball Simworld" or here on "XFL
Simworld" to produce the sample class project documents. Each one consists
of an explanation of the simulator and what it does, as well as instructions
for operation, scoring, and registration. (These are .PDF files and require
the Acrobat Reader to View. Click here to
download the reader for free.)
Student Use of Oakland Sim
The Oakland Baseball Simworld is developed primarily for use in upper level high school, college undergraduate, and graduate-level
micro-economics, sports economics, sports management, sports finance, sports marketing, and standard business administration courses.
The student should have some very basic understanding of using computers and web-based applications. We have found that students help each other in this process, so it's not a block to the use of our sims.
The student should also have access to a computer with Internet access. Beyond those basics, what ultimately separates the best players of the simulation from the worst, is a desire to
try different rounds of simulation play, with reading about the results and review of the sims classroom section after each run.
What should occur over time is the evolution of a basic understanding of baseball business dynamics, and more specifically, the relationship between managerial decisions and
organizational outcomes. While baseball and the Oakland Athletics is the foundation of the simulation, what is learned has applications in many aspects of business.
- The test that accompanies a simulation account you open for your class is written to determine the how well the student has evolved in understanding of baseball business dynamics.
- The simple meaning of "dynamics" for this presentation is 1. information, 2. analysis, 3. decision, 4. result, 5. information.
- The more complex meaning of "dynamics" is related to specific
business actions and activities unique to baseball and how managerial decisions impact their common (or uncommon) behavior over time.
For example, increasing expenditures for player development essentially means expanding a team's "farm system," the set of minor league teams and
player scouts and facilities required to discover and then nuture future baseball stars. But increasing spending for that doens't impact a team's won/loss record in the same year, it generally
takes two years from expenditure to impact.
The test: the exam create for this class curriculum is a multiple-choice format where students are presented with question on various aspects of baseball business dynamics as represented in the
Oakland Baseball Simworld. The full test with the answer key is available only if you establish a full (that is for a set of students ) class account with SBS. Individual account holders are not eligible to have the
exam copy. To see an example of the test, click here.
This lesson should foster the development of systems thinking, critical thinking, teamwork skills, and problem-solving skills
The basic class process is described here. But you may vary from this and develop a more specialized class program for your needs.
If you want to use the SBS website as your quide, then the process is as follows:
- Have students play the sim to familarize themselves with it, don't have them worry about the score
- Have them purchase and / or read the material referred to in the "resources" section below
- Have them take lecture notes on baseball business dynamics.
- Ask them to play the sim, only this time it should be to post a serious score. Ask them to work with other students and trade notes. The sim can be used by teams of students. Your professor can review your runs, even if you don't post the score, so act with care.
- Have them study for the final test on baseball business dynamics, which is based on the sim.
- Have them take the test.
Variations: Different Approaches by the Teacher
Here are other ways the SBS World can be used in
the teachers classroom:
1. Students can engage in a business
competition. In this, students work in groups, each developing
a strategy to use in the simulator and in isolation from the other
group. The students can run as many trials as they want to, but
the rounds of simulation runs are only to test their strategies,
not for the competition. Then, two lab competitions are held with
the professor's in-person supervision. Here, the highest score
counts. The professor takes the average of the group's scores and
the group with the highest average score wins; the student groups
can't alter their strategy from one round to the next round.
2. In an effort to understand how different stadium financing
strategies impact a baseball organization, the professor has students
try each financing approach, then write a paper on their effects
on the baseball organization. Representatives of local sports organizations
are invited to class to provide a "real world" perspective beyond
3. An economics professor wants her students to understand that
the real world of product price and demand is much more complex
than what's presented in the typical textbook. So, rather than
throw her students into the world of complex system equations,
she has them run simulations in the SBS World, changing ticket
prices and recording their effects on the organization's revenue,
with respect to real world variables like a terrible team or a
4. A labor economics professor wants students to understand how
employee negotiations impact the "bottom line" of a business. The
students use the Oakland Baseball Simworld within the SBS World,
and quickly learn that one can't just pick a salary for a baseball
player, and that at a certain point the player has more control
over salary than the organization.
5. A high school teacher wants her students to understand how
important TV ratings are to the success of a sports league, so
she holds a class competition using the XFL Simworld.
There are more examples that are variations on the five above. But from this,
it's clear that the SBS World can make the classroom experience more fun for
teacher and student alike.
SBS is also available to create specialized simulations for your
classroom needs. Please contact SBS with any curriculum assistance
or simulation development needs.
This lesson can be done in one class, and can be part of a larger course program. It should take not more than half the class time
to implement the education structure presented here. You can also mold this lesson to cover specific subjects, like sports financing or sports management.
If you plan to divide students into groups for simulation use in the class, it's best to have them work as a team of management consultants acting as "one-unit." That is grade the students
as a group, as if they were one person. The best way to do this is to average their top simulation scores, and their test results, and have them write one "group" paper.
Misconceptions and problems to anticipate
The simulation is designed to reflect all of the macro-impacts the Major League Baseball Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) will have on a baseball organization.
One of the more controversial provisions of the current CBA involves something called "contraction" where a baseball organization is eliminated from existence after 2006 if it's not profitable.
While Major League Baseball has not placed a definition on the term "profitable" for the purpose of contraction, the Oakland Baseball Simworld does.
If the organization posts a negative Net Operating Income
of over $20 million for three straight years after 2006, then it will be eliminated. In the sim, that action is followed by several warnings. Students sometimes miss those signals, only to receive the "grim reaper" memo.
By then it's too late. Some students will complain about this, but it's part of the realism of the simulation and the current state of MLB. Students must learn to adopt better business practices, or their teams will be contracted.
In preparing to teach this course, teachers should read the 2002 MLB Collective Bargaining Agreement, and become familar with the reasons for its existence.
Computer Resources - First students need to have access to a computer with an internet connection of some kind. If they are reading this, it's a fair bet they do, so that's a good start. If they don't, make sure your college
or university has computers connected to the Internet. Beyond that, the computer should have ideally the latest browser available, like Internet Explorer 5.2 or Apple Safari or the Opera Browser.
The oldest browser you can use is Netscape 4.7. But if you can convince your college or university's computer managers to upgrade to the latest browers, it will make your experience better.
Also make sure that there is sufficient memory available in the computer. At least 128 M of RAM is best at the least.
Book Resources - SBS recommends the following books for the class, and to be used in conjunction with the simulation:
- "Pay Dirt" - By Professor Rod Fort: A Book on The Economics of The Sports Franchise
- "May The Best Team Win" - By Professor Andrew Zimbalist: A book on baseball franchise operations. More of a critique than a "how-to"
- "The Fifth Discpline" - By Peter Senge: A book which is a primer for systems thinking, and essential for the proper use of the sim in a class
- "The Art of The Long View" - By Peter Schwartz: This book presents the art of scenario planning. It also a great companion to The Fifth Discpline, in that
it opens you to the idea of thinking about long-term outcomes of short term decisions. The very focus of the Oakland Baseball Simworld.
- "Taking on The Yankees: Winning and Losing In The Business of Baseball, 1903 to 2003" - By Henry Fetter: This book gives a great "who said what to whom"
view of the business of the NY Yankees. It's perfect as an economic history, and you will find situations in this book actually played out in the sim.
- "MoneyBall" - By Michael Lewis: This now famous book presents the unique player development strategy and poltics of the Oakland Athletics. This book provides a
personal, eye-level view of the player development aspect of a successful organization.
- "Sports Business Journal" - By Street & Smith: Considered the "sports business bible" by some, this weekly publication gives an in-depth presentation of sports industry news and issues.
Website Resources - SBS recommends the following
Collective Bargaining Agreement for Fans:
This web site was developed by two students of the Sport Management
Program at the University of San Francisco. It's a well-designed
and easy-to-access site that offers the history of labor negotiations
and collective bargaining agreements in Major League Baseball.
Sports Business Journal:
A valuable and widely-read resource of weekly information on breaking
business news in the sports industry. Considered the weekly sports
The Official Web Site of the Oakland Athletics:
The Internet home of the organization that is the basis for our
Oakland Baseball Simworld.
The Oakland Athletics provide a great platform for the study of
how various business models can impact the performance (on and
off the field) of a baseball organization. The Athletics are generally
regarded as the best example of the "efficient baseball organization" obtaining
optimum performance with far less revenue compared to many of
its competitor firms.
Subject: Stadium Financing
This is a controversial area of study.
SBS presentation of information is concentrated on that which
provides a guide for stadium financing strategies. As a rule, politically-motivated
papers and web sites are not included here for presentation.
The rationale is that what the student can learn is clouded by
politically-biased reporting either for stadiums or against stadiums;
thus the focus should be on studies that are not politically-motivated.
With that, here's the list, we will expand it as time progresses:
1. TESTIMONY OF DOUGLAS A. CRISCITELLO, DIRECTOR NEW YORK CITY
INDEPENDENT BUDGET OFFICE ON
PUBLIC FINANCING OF PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL STADIUMS
BEFORE THE NEW YORK CITY COUNCIL
COMMITTEE ON GOVERNMENTAL OPERATIONS
2. The Michigan Stadium Story
3. Seattle Seahawks Stadium Costs
4. The Evolution of Miller Park
5. Pittsburgh Steelers Sell Bonds To Build New Stadium
6. Office of The Controller City of Philadelphia: Stadium Myths
7. Harris County Stadium Legal Documents. (These are the core legal
papers forming the deal to build what is now called Reliant Stadium,
and serves as the home of the NFL expansion Houston Texans. These
documents are required reading).
Other Stadium Financing Links and Articles
PNC Park Negotiations
2. Should the City
Fund New Stadiums for the Eagles and the Phillies? (Great background,
although the question has been answered.)
State of Minnesota: Stadium Discussion Points
Stadium Authority Links and Articles
MARYLAND STADIUM AUTHORITY: ORIGIN & FUNCTIONS
2. Virginia Baseball Stadium
Stadium Authority faces another deficit - Local News
4. Sports & Exhibition
Authority of Pittsburgh and Allegheny County
5. Washington State Public
6. Washington State Major League
Baseball Stadium Public Facilities District
7. New Jersey Sports and Exhibition
8. (Minneapolis) Metropolitan
Sports Facilities Commission
9. Illinois Sports
10. Tampa Sports
(Denver) Metropolitan Football Stadium District
12. Georgia World Congress
Stadium web sites
Lincoln Financial StadiumE-mail accounts for all students - should be provided by your university. Your Oakland Baseball Simworld account username and password will be sent to your e-mail address.
software (how many copies?) - The Oakland Baseball Simworld's software is Internet-based at http://www.sbs-world.com You don't need a disk of any kind.
hardware (what kind? How many?) - Students will each have their own accounts, but there's no need to worry about using
separate computers. If resources are tight, they can use one computer, and each student can log on to their account at different times.
Or you can have students work in teams with one account per team.
The new home of the Philadelphia Eagles
In closing this section, if you know of baseball organizations officials to invite to your class, it will certainly enhance their learning experience.
How the student's grade comes out overall is a combination of the simulation performance runs the second time, and the final exam score.
They can run the simulation as much as they want. You as teacher are to take the top four scores of each student and average them. Then combine that score
with their performance on the test.
Score of 50-100 points
Score of 100-150 points
Score of 150 - 175 points
Score of 175 - 200 points
Grade on Baseball Business Dynamics Test
25 Percent Correct on Test
50 Percent Correct on Test
75 Percent Correct on Test
100 Percent Correct on Test
Optional Written Paper: "Management Consultant Report to Team President"
Only basic short paper describing what the president should consider as the
team moves into the future.
Paper describing alternative business approaches and how they work.
Paper that presents several scenarios based on simulation runs, and a matrix of
decisions that should be made to insure a profitable future
Paper that presents several scenarios based on simulation runs, and a matrix of
decisions that should be made to insure a profitable future, and covers new stadium financing and team relocation options