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THE TALK SHOW
Host: Glenn Guzzo
You can submit your question or insight on any Strat-O-Matic game to SOMTalkShow@aol.com. When you do, kindly include your name and town. Other gamers like to see that. And the display format below works better that way.
Reminder: Send us your “Great Moments in Strat” – your playing experiences that you just have to share.
 
CALLING (FOR) STU MILLER
 
            Have you ever seen a card for 1954 Stu Miller created? I'm replaying the '54 Cards' season and he had 48 innings. I don't understand why they wouldn't give him one when they gave two guys on Milwaukee cards (for a 25 man roster) who had 14 and 18 innings. Thought you might have seen one or know someone who creates them.
 
Jim McPartland
 
            The late Stu Miller was one of my favorites in my early years as a baseball fan. And I saw on TV the game when Steve Barber and Miller pitched a combined no-hitter and still lost to the Tigers. Strat-O-Matic was carding only 24 men per team when it created its 1954 set and St. Louis had 11 other pitchers with at least 58 IP, so Miller was uncarded. I don’t know of any physical cards for him, but the Windows game’s “Update” version of the rosters has all the players and Miller’s “card” is there on display for those with the Card Image option.
 
 
FEELING KINDA FLAT
            Hi Glenn, I am a huge SOM Football fan and play in more online leagues than just about anyone.  I have a question that I was wondering if you could check:
            There seems to be an inordinate number of weak flat QB cards in the 2013 set. Russell Wilson jumps out at me. But all of these QB's seem to have the same under-powered flat card:
Russell Wilson, Cam Newton, Matt Stafford, Sam Bradford. This card has completions on flat in the exact same spots, for the exact same yardage:
3. Short Gain,
6. +4
7. +6
11. Int split
12. -1
            All the rest blank.  This card looks correct for Stafford (58% completion percentage facing weaker pass D). But not for Wilson (63% vs. tough pass D), Bradford (60% vs. tough pass D) and Newton (61% vs. moderate pass D). Can you please check your formulas/spreadsheets to make sure there wasn't a mistake when copy/pasting that happened before card creation? I am not asking for a change this year, I know the patch is done. But can you please just confirm that Wilson's card is correct and as intended?
            Thank you for all your hard work on the cards and the Football game.
           
            I plot the results for the offensive skill players except for the QB Flat Pass columns. But as far as which players deserve better/worse combos of completions, that depends on a complex formula. It is driven by more than completion percentage. First, all players are rated against their actual combined competition, so players on different teams with identical stats will have different results. Second, the Flat Pass results also are influenced by the Short Pass and Long Pass results. In the immediate cases, the players you mention have the correct number of combos, as dictated by the formula, according to the folks at SOM who do the QB Flat Pass columns.
 
 
WHAT ABOUT THE ‘80s?
 
            I am finishing up my 2013 season and can’t wait to play the 2014 season. Strat-O-Matic has been and will always remain my favorite game but I do have some questions. As I read posts about upcoming season releases, I have to ask, what about the ‘80s? You acknowledge in various replies that the 70s teams have better sales figures than the pre-1960s teams yet there are no 80s releases. I’m all for the 1947 season, it needs to be released, but what about 1985, 1986, or some other great seasons from the 80s? With all the ‘80s nostalgia I would think this would be a high priority. Finally, what about having a card game for the Japanese and Cuban players? Maybe these are all in the works but I would appreciate any feedback. 

Chris Kroh, Wausau, WI, Strat player since 1985
 
            No word yet on ‘80s updates, but it’s inevitable we will see them in due course, Chris. I think the many updates into Super Advanced format to the ‘60s (all but ’62 and ’68) and ‘70s (four so far) tells us that. Otherwise, only 1946, 1947, 1949 and 1952 remain among post-World War II seasons never created. Just my two cents, but I’d say we’ll see 1980s updates before we see the complete list of those ‘40s, ‘50s, ‘60s and ’70 sets brought up to date.
            The Japanese and Cuban player sets are true niche products. SOM has delivered them for the Windows game, where it does not have to risk printing them in quantities unlikely to sell. There’s a lot of fun to be had with these, and the Update Team has done awesome research to bring them to us – I’m especially intrigued by the Cuban League Stars. (Maybe it’s because I once drafted Omar Linares and German Mesa in a prospect draft for a very sophisticated Strat league. I figured Fidel Castro would die and the Cuban floodgates of talent to the MLB would open in about the same time it would take for the MLB-ready maturation of the U.S. high schoolers, college players and low-minor league players we were also drafting. Just my luck, Linares became the first Cuban to turn down the Majors; he was loyal to The Revolution. And Mesa became about the first Cuban star to get CAUGHT trying to defect to the Majors, and was basically under house-arrest after that, ruining his career.)
            But I’m not anticipating card versions. And for such sets, I’m truly grateful for the Card Image option in the Windows game. Now I can SEE how good my draft-league team would have been with Linares’ awesome hitting card at 3B and with the slick-fielding (1), speedy (A stealer) Mesa at SS.
 
 
ANYTHING BUT BUMS
 
            Hi Glenn. First of all, I'm sure every other gamer shares my excitement for the 1969 release; for me, having the ‘69 Pilots (this time with Jim Bouton) will be a highlight! Considering the ‘53 release: would you agree that an argument could be made that the ‘53 Dodgers batters were the best all-around single-season starting lineup in baseball history, statistically? Their numbers were astounding!
 
Chris Bacchi, Woodridge, IL
 
            Absolutely that argument can be made! With no easy outs in a slugging lineup that also has speed (Jackie Robinson, Jim Gilliam, Pee Wee Reese, Duke Snider, especially, but seven guys are at least 1-14 and Roy Campanella is a fast-for-a-catcher 12) and eye-catching defense (five 1s), this lineup is the standard by which all others must be judged. It might be fun to compare the Big Red Machine, which had batting average, slugging, and even more speed and defense (four 1s up the middle) than Brooklyn. But even the Murderer’s Row 1927 Yankees had ho-hum players in Dugan, Koenig and the catchers. The ’30 A’s and Cubs are pretty special. The ’50 Red Sox and ’56 Reds bomb away, but lack the Dodgers’ overall skill. The ’98 Yankees and 2001 Mariners have special blends of offensive talent, speed and defense throughout their lineups. Others deserve mention. Anybody want to nominate another? But we should start with ’53 Brooklyn.
 
 
BEHIND THE BENCH
 
            Hockey Computer Manager improvements? Years ago, Strat indicated its intent to make the computer manager more robust as part of its upcoming upgrades. Yet, season after season, those changes haven't occurred. What's the deal?
 
Rob Tchack, Atlanta
 
            While it’s true that, in recent years, most of the improvements to the Windows hockey game have come in the areas of new strategies (the enforcer rule, timeouts, etc.), statistical accuracy, data (stat packages, stars of the game, etc.), league management and screen display (the Outside Decision dialog, the championship banners, etc.), Strat-O-Matic has given some attention to the computer manager. In Version 14 one improvement involved automatic generation of computer managers when using auto transactions. An earlier improvement involving depth-chart line promotion strategy permits you to program your computer manager in more detail so the CM will play your teams more to your liking.
            Some gamers are looking for more in the way of a stronger CM. Still, I think we have to consider this: 1) Hockey strategy is pretty basic – who to play and what style to play – and the CM is not a patsy now when competing against it. We can program the CM now to do those things and to give each player our wisdom on the shoot-pass-penetrate options; 2) SOM has to weigh the time-cost investment in a game whose sales are far below baseball and football; 3) While those wanting a stronger CM are passionate about that, many gamers also requested the many other improvements SOM has made.
 
 
HEROES II
 
            Someone recently asked me about the Baseball Heroes set and I couldn't find it on your site, so I assumed it did well and sold out. Here's about 120 recommendations for any new set Strat-O-Matic may plan:
 
C - W. Cooper, Kling, McGuire, S. O'Neill, Posada, Varitek, Ivan Rodriguez, J. Wilson, Sundberg, Lollar (I don't think there were enough catchers represented in the first set from the first half of the 20th century)
1B - Buckner, Thome, Delgado, N. Cash, Vernon, York, Helton, Konerko, Powell
2B - Boone, Knoblauch, Myer, Lopes, Richardson, Soriano, M Young
SS - Bowa, Campaneris, Garciaparra, Groat, McDougald, Peckinpaugh, Renteria, Marion, Vizquel, Jeter
3B - Cey, Da. Evans, Clift, Elliott, Hack, C. Jones, Leach, Lowell, Ventura, M. Williams, Rolen, Rosen
LF - M. Alou, J. Carter, J. Gonzalez, M. Ramirez, Veach, Berkman, Keller
CF - Damon, Edmonds, A. Jones, Lynn, Murcer, Otis, R. Smith, W. Davis
RF - Abreu, Colavito, V. Guererro, Justice, Sheffield, Strawberry, Furillo, Henrich
P - Valenzuela, Brecheen, Maglie, Pettitte, Phillippe, Raschi, Rowe, Stottlemyre, Trout, Trucks, Walters, D. Wells, Vaughn, M Cooper, Cicotte, Leever, Luque, Mullin, Root, Holtzman, Pascual, Sain, Shawkey, C Simmons, Halladay, Stieb
RP - Abernathy, Perranoski, Benitez, Carroll, Wetteland, Wagner, Percival, Righetti, McDaniel, McMahon, Myers, Nen, Orosco, Isringhausen, Hoffman, Garber, Franco, Rivera, Marberry, Kinder, S Miller, Hiller, Knowles, Radatz, Lidge
 
Larry, Coral Springs, FL
 
            Thanks for the encouragement and the independent research, Larry. I’d love to play with Heroes ratings for most of those guys. And I’m confident that if a second Heroes set comes out, most of it will be guys from this list.