The Equalizer aka rubberbanding

Before you comment, please read over the entire post.

I will first acknowledge that this is based on my own experiences and the data that I have gathered. That data largely refers to post game PCI analysis sheets, which is not a perfect tool, but is the best that is available to us in terms of being able to objectively analyse our own performance.

I will also acknowledge that the competition in ranked seasons has gotten tougher as the life-cycle of the game is nearing its end - this should result in closer games and probably leaves the window more open for the winner to be determined by RNG instead of user skill.

However, what transpired yesterday got me thinking again that there might be more to it than just randomness.

You can find my gamelogs from yesterday from the old site and you can look at what happened. I started off ranked 837. Proceeded to lose 4 games in a row - the last of which I quit after 2 innings as I no longer had any bullpen arms with energy and it did not make sense to attempt to make a comeback. I had dropped from 837 to 750 in four games. I then won two games in a row to get me back to 825.

GAME 1

I lost 7 - 8

I struck out 3 times to his 8. I will be able to post the PCI analysis sheets once I get home, but suffice to say that I had probably 3 times as many 15's as my opponent.

Here's how the game started

"Impact batting. Grove pitching. Suzuki reached first on a fielding error by Wagner on a deflected hit (E6) [Yes that is Honus]. Hornsby hit to left for a single [bloop]. Suzuki advances to 2nd. Yelich flied out to Griffey Jr. (F7). Hornsby was caught stealing. Suzuki reached 3rd. Guerrero struck out but reached first after it was dropped (WP) [how else?]. Fielder lined to center for a single. Suzuki scores. Guerrero scores.* Thomas homered to left (433 feet)[Hit chance 7 way outside the zone, I cannot explain how he went 433 ft on it]. Fielder scores. "

So you have two guys on base that shouldn't be on base from an error by Honus and a swinging strikeout that was dropped by Piazza (yes, Piazza sucks defensively, but the ball hit his [censored] chest and went into his armpit). Then he homers with Thomas with a 7 hit chance swing inside and over the zone 433 ft. Okay.

But okay, I lost a close game that IMO shouldn't even have been a close game based on the PCI analysis.

GAME 2

I give up 5 runs to get the game started, no gripes - my opponent hit well. I load the bases in the bottom of the first with no outs but then proceed to pop up and hit a good/squared into a hard double play, no runs scored [okay, surely this has to be rare at least].

In the third inning this happens:

"FUBAR batting. Feller walked. Wagner lined to right for a single. Feller advances to 2nd. Alomar lined out to Bobo (L6). Griffey Jr. grounded to center for a single (8-2). Feller out. [look at this closely, the ball went down the middle, but Feller decides not to run, but to walk to third base - doesn't make it there in time]. Wagner advances to 2nd. Mays flied out to Bellinger (F9) [at the fence, good times]."

Fourth Inning:

"FUBAR batting. Bellinger grounded to center for a single. Bregman lined to right for a single. Bellinger advances to 2nd. Eckersley in bullpen. Hader in bullpen. Gehrig doubled to center. Bellinger scores. Bregman advances to 3rd. Rodriguez walked [again bases loaded no outs]. Jones pinch hit for Feller. Jones grounded into a double play (4-6-3 DP) [another good/squared into a double play, yay - now this must be freakishly unlucky right? No way this could happen for a third time?]. Rodriguez out. Bregman scores. Gehrig advances to 3rd. Wagner struck out chasing an inside fastball."

Fifth inning:

"FUBAR batting. Miller in bullpen. Alomar lined out to Mays (L8). Griffey Jr. walked. Mays lined to right for a single. Griffey Jr. advances to 2nd. Bellinger grounded to left for a single. Griffey Jr. advances to 3rd. Mays advances to 2nd. Bregman walked. Griffey Jr. scores. Gehrig walked. Mays scores. Eckersley pitching. Rodriguez flied out to Mays (F8). Ruth pinch hit for Wagner. Hader pitching. Ruth flied out to Mays (F8)[Mays robs Ruth's good/squared hit homer - I'm pretty much broken at this point]"

I load the bases again in the 6th but score no runs as I line out.

He demolishes me in the 9th for 5 runs as I bring in guys with half energy - anything hit "okay" is gone. Ahwell. I lose 12 - 5. Final PCI analysis shows that I have twice as many 15's but it is what it is.

GAME 3

I strike out more, he abuses me with high sinkers, not much to complain here. I lose 6-3.

GAME 4

Verlander gives 6 runs on some iffy contact in the 2nd inning, but ahwell, I was actually happy with how I was locating my pitches. I already know that I need a miracle as I really needed JV to go deep. I had no bullpen arms with any energy left.

Here's what happens:

"FUBAR batting. Bellinger doubled to center. Bregman hit to right for a single. Bellinger advances to 3rd. Gehrig lined to left for a single. Bellinger scores. Bregman advances to 2nd. Rodriguez grounded to right for a single. Bregman advances to 3rd. Gehrig advances to 2nd. Jones pinch hit for Verlander. Hendriks in bullpen. Miller in bullpen. Jones popped out on an infield fly rule to Ripken Jr. (P). Wagner grounded into a double play (6-4-3 DP)[my third good/squared into a double-play - I almost break my controller]. Rodriguez out." - Looking back at it even if I had cleared the bases with Wagner it probably wouldn't have mattered as I wouldn't have been able to pitch at all with my out-of-energy guys, but it didn't make it any less infuriating at the time.

GAME 5:

Here's where things get interesting. I now play vs. someone with a better record than myself.

He now runs into several hard double-plays, I get on base on fielding errors, he gets 7 hits with no runs, I score 7 runs and he quits after the 6th. Hmm okay.

GAME 6:

I'm now playing someone with a significantly better record, currently sitting at around 130 all time. The guy clearly knows what he's doing, but Kershaw somehow shuts him down. He has more 15's than I do, but it doesn't matter as he keeps lining out. I win 5-3.

Now what is my point?

I believe its more than just RNG - I think the game gives the lesser player (however that is evaluated) more breaks in order to keep games closer than what they should be. I believe that I've been the victim of this at times but I also believe that I have benefited from this as in my last game.

What do you think? Is it just random, or is there more to it?

Rubberband AI doesn't really work in a PVP environment.

I emailed SDS with an experiment with VERY similar results and they told me that there is no coding in the game that does this. Do I believe them? Not sure anymore, after posts like these. But I know it doesn't feel as competitive as it should. Maybe it's just too random, idk, it's too hard to really tell anymore.

That was laughable. That is a Rorschach test. I don’t see anything in there other than baseball games.

My alarm went off. I woke up i took a [censored] and a pee. The sun came up and i then took a shower. Then I brushed my teeth. I put my clothes on.

Is it just me or does it seem like the sun is trying to make me cleaner?

That is pretty much what I heard. But carry on. I would like a complete read out from all your games.

Here is something I have noticed. If you throw a mid to low confidence pitch in the zone...bad things happen. If you throw a high confidence pitch. Even one that they should not be fooled on...better things happen

@Maverick31762 said in The Equalizer aka rubberbanding:

My alarm went off. I woke up i took a [censored] and a pee. The sun came up and i then took a shower. Then I brushed my teeth. I put my clothes on.

Is it just me or does it seem like the sun is trying to make me cleaner?

That is pretty much what I heard. But carry on. I would like a complete read out from all your games.

Here is something I have noticed. If you throw a mid to low confidence pitch in the zone...bad things happen. If you throw a high confidence pitch. Even one that they should not be fooled on...better things happen

But this isn't what I'm talking about. When the game starts the confidence of all pitches is neutral. You dont start with poor confidence. Also, how am I supposed to lower the pitch confidence of the opposing pitcher other than by creating perfect contact? What if his pitches don't hang even with low confidence?

I will have to get a larger sample-size, but for now everything seems to indicate that 15s land as basehits at a larger clip vs seemingly better players (I'm not yet sure whether it would be the player's ranking, record or whatnot that would determine "better" though if this was indeed the case). Perhaps you would get the "fairest" form of gameplay in a matchup between two identically ranked guys with identical records.

I have a question for you. If everything else is controlled for, does the player who hits 15 x 15/N deserve to win over the player who hits 3 x 15/N?

@ImDFC said in The Equalizer aka rubberbanding:

Rubberband AI doesn't really work in a PVP environment.

Why wouldn't it?

@SefarR said in The Equalizer aka rubberbanding:

@Maverick31762 said in The Equalizer aka rubberbanding:

My alarm went off. I woke up i took a [censored] and a pee. The sun came up and i then took a shower. Then I brushed my teeth. I put my clothes on.

Is it just me or does it seem like the sun is trying to make me cleaner?

That is pretty much what I heard. But carry on. I would like a complete read out from all your games.

Here is something I have noticed. If you throw a mid to low confidence pitch in the zone...bad things happen. If you throw a high confidence pitch. Even one that they should not be fooled on...better things happen

But this isn't what I'm talking about. When the game starts the confidence of all pitches is neutral. You dont start with poor confidence. Also, how am I supposed to lower the pitch confidence of the opposing pitcher other than by creating perfect contact? What if his pitches don't hang even with low confidence?

I will have to get a larger sample-size, but for now everything seems to indicate that 15s land as basehits at a larger clip vs seemingly better players (I'm not yet sure whether it would be the player's ranking, record or whatnot that would determine "better" though if this was indeed the case). Perhaps you would get the "fairest" form of gameplay in a matchup between two identically ranked guys with identical records.

I have a question for you. If everything else is controlled for, does the player who hits 15 x 15/N deserve to win over the player who hits 3 x 15/N?

  1. I have never looked at confidence at first pitch. But I can tell you that early on confidence changes definitely within the first inning. It changes by lack of use and result. I tend to think they don’t start even because FB confidence always seems higher.

  2. You can lower confidence by hitting the pitch. Or by taking the pitch for a ball. I actually think the perceived sense of comeback logic is a function of players not properly manipulating confidence. If raise the pitch count it means you are throwing relatively more balls, this confidence goes down.

  3. “Deserve” is an Interesting term. Irl Does the player who practices more and eats healthy deserve to play better. Yes. does that mean that it ends up that way. NO!!! There are other factors involved including strength of comp, style of comp, timing, latent skill, luck etc. that have a greater impact on results.

@Maverick31762 said in The Equalizer aka rubberbanding:

@SefarR said in The Equalizer aka rubberbanding:

@Maverick31762 said in The Equalizer aka rubberbanding:

My alarm went off. I woke up i took a [censored] and a pee. The sun came up and i then took a shower. Then I brushed my teeth. I put my clothes on.

Is it just me or does it seem like the sun is trying to make me cleaner?

That is pretty much what I heard. But carry on. I would like a complete read out from all your games.

Here is something I have noticed. If you throw a mid to low confidence pitch in the zone...bad things happen. If you throw a high confidence pitch. Even one that they should not be fooled on...better things happen

But this isn't what I'm talking about. When the game starts the confidence of all pitches is neutral. You dont start with poor confidence. Also, how am I supposed to lower the pitch confidence of the opposing pitcher other than by creating perfect contact? What if his pitches don't hang even with low confidence?

I will have to get a larger sample-size, but for now everything seems to indicate that 15s land as basehits at a larger clip vs seemingly better players (I'm not yet sure whether it would be the player's ranking, record or whatnot that would determine "better" though if this was indeed the case). Perhaps you would get the "fairest" form of gameplay in a matchup between two identically ranked guys with identical records.

I have a question for you. If everything else is controlled for, does the player who hits 15 x 15/N deserve to win over the player who hits 3 x 15/N?

  1. I have never looked at confidence at first pitch. But I can tell you that early on confidence changes definitely within the first inning. It changes by lack of use and result. I tend to think they don’t start even because FB confidence always seems higher.

  2. You can lower confidence by hitting the pitch. Or by taking the pitch for a ball. I actually think the perceived sense of comeback logic is a function of players not properly manipulating confidence. If raise the pitch count it means you are throwing relatively more balls, this confidence goes down.

  3. “Deserve” is an Interesting term. Irl Does the player who practices more and eats healthy deserve to play better. Yes. does that mean that it ends up that way. NO!!! There are other factors involved including strength of comp, style of comp, timing, latent skill, luck etc. that have a greater impact on results.

Let me get this right...

Instead of user input, latent skill (which means what, hidden skill? what is that?) and luck should have a greater influence on batting outcomes than actual inputs?

Strength of comp? What does that mean? My results on a good/squared should vary based on how good my opponent is?

Style of comp? What does this mean? How exactly would the playing style of my opponent influence the outcome of a good/squared ball?

Timing is already included in my analysis when I refer to 15/N -> The N indicates that the ball was batted at the best possible timing-window.

Interesting takes to say the least.

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On a perfectly timed, perfectly squared up ball, how many stats does the programming have to take into consideration to produce an outcome? A batter’s power, a batter’s clutch factor? A pitcher’s h/9, their clutch factor, that particular pitch’s confidence level, the pitcher's overall confidence and energy. Are there other factors in play at the point of contact? How do all these variables work together? Does one or two override the others? I don’t think the game necessarily sets a narrative as to who is going to win or lose, but there is so much that occurs at the point of contact, I’m surprised the game doesn’t explode every time a ball is hit.

I think there is just too much randomness in the game. Couple that with the fact that we really don't know how any stats interact with each other and the fact that OF'ers especially that everyone uses are incredible and cut off the gaps like it's no one's business.
There are definitely things that make you scratch your head sometimes too. I've been hosed so many times with stuff like you mention happening and feel like I never get those breaks. Last night I won a game 7-3 against a person ranked higher. I did outhit him pretty significantly if I'm remembering the game right. I struck out more, which I have a tendency to do, but I had him swinging at a lot of bad pitches. I had the most incredibly crazy play happen though that made me keep a bigger lead when it could've been chipped down to a run in the 6th inning.
TwoLetters batting. Grandal lined to right for a single. Mancini pinch hit for Ryan. Davis in bullpen. Corbin in bullpen. McGee in bullpen. Mancini grounded to left for a single. Grandal advances to 2nd. Bregman substituted for Jones. Henderson lined into a triple play on a deflected hit (L1-6-4-3 TP). Mancini out. Grandal out.
Do I think this play won me the game? No. Have I ever had a ball deflect off a pitcher though into a DP and keep me from scoring? Numerous times. The game is what it is and the randomness of outcomes in a way is baseball. I would say I don't necessarily like it either and think there should be more consistency towards user input for sure.
My biggest gripe in random things happening though is as a pitcher I hit my spot and have a perfect release and my breaking pitch stays up and in the zone or my fastball out of the zone or on the black stays middle for an easy HR. Pitches where half the ball is in the zone called a ball that should've been strike three and the million check swings people do that should be called strikes. Those things drive me nuts. ha ha

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@vagimon said in The Equalizer aka rubberbanding:

On a perfectly timed, perfectly squared up ball, how many stats does the programming have to take into consideration to produce an outcome? A batter’s power, a batter’s clutch factor? A pitcher’s h/9, their clutch factor, that particular pitch’s confidence level, the pitcher's overall confidence and energy. Are there other factors in play at the point of contact? How do all these variables work together? Does one or two override the others? I don’t think the game necessarily sets a narrative as to who is going to win or lose, but there is so much that occurs at the point of contact, I’m surprised the game doesn’t explode every time a ball is hit.

That's probably at least partially what happens.

But it sounds weird to me that a good/squared contact would be so heavily affected by the pitcher's numbers and that a hit may not be a hit due pitcher confidence or what not. If that is indeed the case I can only say that I wish it wasn't.

It does however seem very convenient to me that when I play against someone better than me my 15/Ns no longer line out. It's almost as if the game knows or recognizes that I wont get as many 15s vs this guy so better help him out.

@SefarR said in The Equalizer aka rubberbanding:

I have a question for you. If everything else is controlled for, does the player who hits 15 x 15/N deserve to win over the player who hits 3 x 15/N?

That is just one aspect of the game. So not necessarily. Just like the QB that throws for 350 yards shouldnt win over the guy who threw for 175. Or the NBA team that had 2 40 point scorers shouldnt beat the team that had zero. Many more factors at play. There is no way all other things are even.

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