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THE REPLAY ZONE - APRIL 2013
 
By Jeff Polman
 
April ruminations from your trusty Strat-O-Matic replay addict. Read the conclusion of my latest blog at Mystery Ball ’58.
 
 
A Replay I Can’t Refuse
 
Okay, so I finished my last full-season replay about a month ago. I decided to take some time off before turning another one into a blog, because they really are pretty consuming and I have a new day job and some other creative projects I’d like to get my feet wet with. The problem, being the Strat fanatic that I am, is choosing what home replay to fill my “idle time” with.
 
Don’t forget, I’m the guy with three giant plastic containers around the side of his house stuffed with old Strat baseball seasons, and when I’m not worried about rainwater leaking in or possums nesting on top of them, I have a cornucopia of past, unfinished years to choose from. While there’s some cards I’ve barely played with, there’s a handful  I’ve dabbled in for a month or two, and when I hit a stretch like this I tend to sample even more to get the feel for the era that just feels “right” to spend an entire year with.
 
For some reason, I’ve been having a real tough time making a selection from this baseball history jukebox, so in the spirit of the movie The Godfather, I thought I’d call an imaginary meeting with the heads of my six Strat replay families to help me decide. Gentlemen?...
 
I’m glad you could all show up for this meeting. From 1971 we have Willie “Pops” Stargell from Pittsburgh. Joining us from 1938, Jimmie “Muscles” Foxx from Boston. Sandy “Whiffer” Koufax is here to represent the boys from 1963, Jorge Posada is on hand from the best teams of 2011, from 1948 say hello to Jackie “the 42” Robinson, and motoring all the way from 1911 is Tyrus “The Angry Peach” Cobb. Welcome, everyone!
 
COBB: Get on with it, boy.
 
Fine. As you all know, I can’t seem to decide which season to replay right now, and it’s leading to a lot of frustrating nights of moving different sets and stat books around, and tempers are shorter than usual during close games, and I can’t guarantee the safety of your cards. But I swear today, on the dice of my children, that this replay indecision will end, and I hope you can all help me make a new peace with that.
 
STARGELL: Simple as my momma’s pie. Play with us, and you get to see Joe Torre win a batting title, the four 20-game winners in Baltimore try to do that again, and Roberto already told me he won’t take no for an answer. How many games you already played?
 
Not too many. Maybe around eight or nine per team. And the Giants haven’t lost yet.
 
STARGELL: Oh, right. Forgot about that.
 
ROBINSON: 1948 should be getting this by default then. We once lasted on your table till the month of July!
 
I know, I know. But aside from the Indians, Red Sox, Yanks and Boston Braves, ‘48 wasn’t a real thrilling year. Why do you think I stopped?
 
ROBINSON: That’s your issue, mister. My job’s getting on base and harassing the pitcher and fielders, and it was my second season in the majors and you KNOW you like rolling for me—
 
Always have—
 
ROBINSON: Plus there’s a new movie about me coming out this week! What more do you want?
 
KOUFAX: You want some pitching, that’s what you want. With all the runs you can pile up in most of these seasons, don’t you just want some good old 14-strikeout complete game shutouts once in a while? Like the three I’ve already thrown in your first month and a half of ’63?
 
Good point. I did grow up with early 60s ball, and I’ve already replayed ’64 and ’65, so…
 
KOUFAX: So that settles it! Don’t worry, I’ll win the pennant and blow the Yankees away again.
 
POSADA: That’s a laugh.
 
Jorge’s probably right. I really did enjoy the parity of the best sixteen 2011 teams when I did my tournament, and it would be fun to see if Boston can avoid collapsing at the end this time, but playing in two different draft leagues with the 2012 cards right now makes it tough to pick 2011. I like to have historical space between years.
 
COBB: So case closed. You’re pickin’ us from a hundred years ago and you’re gonna like it.
 
Well, I’m the one rolling the games here, Ty. And the E-ratings in your era are so awful it made it real hard to get through two months of play without losing my mind.
 
COBB: Hey, I ain’t the one who built those rocky fields and gave us dinky gloves. All I know is a man starts a replay season, he better darn well finish it.
 
Yeah well, your Tigers were playing pretty bad, and so were the Giants, which is another reason why I—HEY!! Get off me!!
 
STARGELL: Go sit in the corner, Peach. Let the men talk.
 
FOXX: I’m not too good for talking about much of anything, but 1938 is brand spanking new, has me and Hank Greenberg lighting up the home run board, crazy hitting in the AL and lots of good pitching in the NL, a killer Yankees club with DiMaggio, Dickey, and Gehrig, and a great race in the other league, plus all sorts of players you haven’t met yet with great nicknames like Boots Poffenberger and Frenchy Bordagray—
 
COBB: You got a problem with Grover Lowdermilk?
 
STARGELL: Zip it, Peach, or I’ll do it for you.
 
KOUFAX: Pitching, people. Pitching…
 
ROBINSON: Uhh-uh. On-base skills and speed!
 
POSADA: 2011, dudes. Then you get everything.
 
[SOMEONE KNOCKS ON THE DOOR, OPENS IT]
 
ROGER MARIS: Hey, are you guys talking about 1961?
 
Er, um…no, not yet.
 
COBB: Get lost, Maris!  And take your boring stinkin’ homers with ya!
 
Actually, wait. Come on in, Roger! I was just about to order your set…Think everybody at the table can just scoot down a little?...
 
[GROANS]
 
 
TO BE CONTINUED. MAYBE… 
 
 
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Wolfman Shapiro, a seasoned Strat veteran in Washington State, has launched a new Strat newsletter that already has over 650 members. Give it a look with a free subscription at:
 
http://www.v-j-enterprises.com/UltimateStratBaseballNewsletter.htm