GREAT MOMENTS IN STRAT
THINK ABOUT IT
So, I’m playing against my nephew the other night, my 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers against his 1998 Atlanta Braves. He’s rambling on about some movie he watched called “What the Bleep Do We Know?” which is about some spiritual connection between quantum physics and consciousness. Supposedly people in the movie were able to affect the physical world just by thinking.
He goes on blah blah blah Einstein blah blah blah string theory blah blah intertwined universe blah blah. So he thinks maybe we can affect dice rolls with our thoughts.
Second inning, Gerald Williams at bat he says he’s going to roll a 2-8 (HOMERUN 1-19). He rolls it and the split is good. Whuh? He starts pointing like The Babe, “I called my shot! I called my shot!” We are high fiving and laughing.
We kind of forget about it for awhile and then … Bottom of the eight, Roy Campanella comes up so I say, I’m going to roll a 1-9 (HOMERUN). BOOM, I roll the 1-9. What the heck? That’s impossible. More laughing and incredulous looks.
Now it’s the top of the ninth and I’m up, 4-3. Andres “Big Cat” Gallegra comes up so he says he’s going to concentrate on 1-8 (HOMERUN). Oh… mah… gah! He rolls it. Game tied. This is getting creepy now.
Bottom of the 10th, Campanella comes up again and I call 1-8 (HOMERUN) because I know 1-8 comes up more often than 1-9 and I figure I already hit the 1-9. This is no joke, I tossed the 1-8 and won the game on the walk off.
We laughed so hard we cried. It was unbelievable. We’re grown men, mind you, acting like 10 year-olds. I will never forget it. And no, we weren’t calling every roll with me telling you about the ones we got right. These were the only ones we called and it was ridiculous. You better believe I’ll be calling my shots a lot more often now.
Marty Jenkins, Macomb, MI
FOURTH AND WILD
I am working for a college summer league baseball team as their radio announcer, but this morning I was in the mood for a little Strat football! Here’s what happened:
In my 2013 NFL replay, the 4-2 Broncos travel to Indianapolis to take on the 4-2 Colts. The Indianapolis ground game, led by Donald Brown and the accuracy of rookie Andrew Luck, poke holes in the Denver defense. At halftime the Colts lead 20-7, and Broncos QB Peyton Manning is struggling, having completed only 13 of 30 passes. No one scores in the 3rd and we head to the final 15 minutes of play with the Broncos still down 13. Enter Peyton. He marches Denver down the field and Moreno scores from 1 yard but Ahmad Bradshaw answers for the Colts. Manning goes deep to Julius Thomas for a score but Adam Vinatieri’s field goal makes it 31-21 with just 3:43 left on the clock. Another quick drive by Manning leads to an 18-yard TD pass to Decker with 1:18 remaining and the Broncos have just one timeout. With the score 31-28, the Broncos recover the onside kick and start at the 50-yard line. Manning marches down the field and, with 8 seconds at the clock, the Broncos have one more play before sending out the field goal unit. Manning makes sure the FG isn’t necessary as he hits Moreno for the winning touchdown as time expires and the Broncos win 35-31 in the greatest Strat football comeback I have ever played in. In terms of deficits, 13 points in the 4th quarter isn’t much, but with the Broncos struggling to move the ball and stop the Colts offense, plus with the Colts answering Denver’s first two scores of the quarter, it was a fantastic ending! Manning is 14-21 in the second half (after the 13-30 first half) and finishes with 365 yards and three touchdowns.
Thank you for making the greatest sports games in the world!
Kendrick Fruits, Mocksville NC
RUTH OUT-DUELS BIG TRAIN, 1-0
I am playing a league that combines the Baseball Heroes, Hall of Fame set, and Negro Leaguers. In a recent matchup, Walter Johnson and Babe Ruth each threw five-hitters in a pitcher’s duel. The battle was scoreless until Mike Schmidt took Johnson deep with a solo homerun to lead off the bottom of the tenth inning for a 1-0 victory for Ruth.
Dan Champagne, Springfield, MA
The surprisingly disappointing Detroit Tigers hosted the St. Louis Cardinals on June 19 of my 2012 season replay. The 9-3 Justin Verlander squared off against Lance Lynn (5-5). Offensively, it was a one-man show for the Tigers as Brennan Boesch homered in the second frame and, in the fourth, drove in Prince Fielder and Delmon Young with a double. Lynn settled down after that and ended up with 10 strikeouts in his 7 innings of work. But as solid as Lynn was, Verlander was unhittable. The strikeouts continued to pile up and the only two hitters to reach base through 8 innings were Matt Holliday and Yadier Molina, both on walks. In the 9th, Daniel Descalso flied out to shallow center for out #1. Rafael Furcal followed with a grounder destined for right field but Ramon Santiago hustled to the ball to get the out at first. That brought up the dangerous Carlos Beltran (hitting just .266 but with plenty of pop in his bat). Verlander wasn’t fazed as he ramped up the velocity and struck out Beltran, completing the no-no! 15 Redbirds were called out on strikes as Verlander was simply dominant. Coincidentally, Verlander has my only other no-no in my Strat career, earlier in my 2012 replay against the Tampa Bay Rays. It was a remarkable game, and I was excited, not only to get two no-no’s (let alone in the same replay season) but also by the same pitcher!
Kendrick Fruits, Mocksville, NC
I replayed the 1969 playoff run of the Minnesota Vikings:
1969 Divisional Round: LA Rams @ Vikings
1st QTR: LA leads 3-0 lead at the end of the first quarter after The Rams intercept a Joe Kapp pass to end a possible scoring drive by Minnesota.
2nd QTR: The Vikings’ Dave Osborn scores the first touchdown of the game and the Vikings lead, 7-3 … The Rams answer with Les Josephson’s 2-yard run for a TD, and then go ahead 10-7 with 7:15 left in the 2nd quarter … Minnesota’s Bill Brown off tackle for a 4 yard-touchdown run with under 2 minutes left gives the Vikings a 14-10 halftime lead.
3rd QTR: Roman Gabriel’s big-time passes put the Rams up, 17-14 … Kapp, who threw his second interception on the previous drive, hits John Henderson with a red-zone short pass and a Vikings touchdown with 3:30 left and a 21-17 lead. With :30 seconds left and the LA Rams deep in Minnesota territory, the Vikings force a fumble and recover it.
4th QTR: Minnesota completes a time-consuming drive to go ahead 24-17 on Fred Cox’ 31-yard field goal … Gabriel comes out throwing on the next drive only to throw an interception near midfield … Minnesota scores quickly with the drive ended by a 4-yard run linebuck by Dave Osborn. With 5:15 left in the game, Minnesota is up 31-17 … Gabriel throws a few flat passes, the Rams cross midfield, but another Gabriel interception with 2:00 on the clock is LA’s final play. Minnesota over LA, 31-17.
1969 NFL Championship: Cleveland at Minnesota
1st QTR: Minnesota strikes first in their second drive with a Brown off tackle TD.
On Minnesota’s next drive Cleveland forces an Osborn fumble which is followed by a Milt Morin TD catch. Cleveland 7, Minnesota 7
2nd QTR: Osborn runs for a 2-yard linebuck TD. Minnesota 14, Cleveland 7 … The Browns drive to the CLE 40, but Wally Hilgenberg returns an INT to the CLE 21. Next play: Long Pass 21-yard touchdown Gene Washington from Joe Kapp. Minnesota 21, Cleveland 7 … Cleveland puts together a decent drive. The Vikings’ Paul Krause intercepts at the MIN 22, but fumbles it back to CLE … Result: Short Pass Gary Collins 7-yard touchdown from Bill Nelson. Minnesota 21, Cleveland 14 … Minnesota takes a formidable 28-14 lead with 45 seconds left on Kapp;s 1-yard run … With Minnesota due to receive the second-half kickoff, Cleveland tries for last –minute points now, but Earsell Mackbee intercepts Nelson and returns to the CLE 24 with :15 left. Instead of playing it safe for the field goal, Minnesota decides to take a shot at the end zone. Long Pass – Washington 24-yard TD from Kapp with :00 left to go in the half! Minnesota 35, Cleveland 14
SECOND HALF: Minnesota’s defense won’t yield. Cox’ 28-yard field goal makes it Minnesota 38, Cleveland 14 at the end of three quarters and Osborn’s 1-yard TD run in the fourth ends the scoring – Minnesota, 45-14. Minnesota now has a chance to finish the season as World Champions!
Minnesota vs. the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl IV
1st QTR: Third-down sacks of Len Dawson stifle KC’s first two possessions, then Minnesota’s Oscar Reed scores on a five-yard run through a hole big enough to drive a pickup through (linebuck Short Gain). MIN 7, KC 0
2nd QTR: KC’s best drive yet earns Jan Stenerud’s 23-yard field goal. MIN 7, KC 3 … MIN drives 78 yards in 5:45. Osborn’s three-yard linebuck is just enough to cross the goal line. MIN 14, KC 3 … After an excellent KC punt, Minnesota puts together another fantastic drive. On 2nd and 16 from the KC 22, Kapp passes (Short Pass) to Washington for Long Gain after Emmitt Thomas loses his footing. The TD with :30 left concludes a 5:45 drive and puts Minnesota up, 21-3 … But the kickoff to the 8-yard line allows Warren McVea to find a seam up the middle and he returns it for a touchdown! MIN 21, KC 10.
3rd QTR: MIN drives 58 yards in 3:30 to attempt a 42-yard field goal with an unfortunate miss! No more scoring chances this period.
4th QTR: KC finishes a 71-yard drive with Mike Garrett’s 6-yard End Run. Nobody got near him. Now it’s MIN 21, KC 17 … Both defenses rule after that. Carl Eller sacks Dawson to end two KC possessions, the second with 2:15 to go … MIN manages to run out the clock to win the Super Bowl!
Playoff leaders for Minnesota
Joe Kapp: 4 touchdown passes with 1 rushing touchdown
Dave Osborn: 5 rushing touchdowns
Gene Washington: 3 receiving touchdowns
The rest is history! [At least according to Strat O Matic] What would have happened to Minnesota and Kansas City? Football fans would agree the sounds of the game would be much different from Coach Stram had the game turned out like this. Would Joe Kapp have returned to Minnesota for 1970?