Glenn Guzzo

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.

 

 

Keeping Relievers Under Control

 

Recently I played an LCS with our 2006 league commissioner for the right to go to our league’s World Series.  He was up 3 games-to-1 as we headed to Game 5.   After scoring two runs in the bottom of the 2nd, he brought in his closer, Joe Nathan, to face my team in the top of the 3rd, leading 2-0. Now, I was aware that with Scott Kazmir as his starter, he might go to his bullpen early.  But, I did not expect to see Joe Nathan for 6 innings of work.  My team managed 1 run off Nathan and lost the game, 4-1, and the series.  (He subsequently lost the W.S. in 6 games.)

Nathan had plenty of usage remaining so that was not an issue.  However, is there anything in the general SOM rules that prevent one-inning closers like Joe Nathan from being used from the 3rd through the 8th inning?  Since I am now the league's Commissioner, do you have any suggestions for how other leagues prevent this unrealistic usage from happening? 

Thomas Treece, Ayersville, OH

 

            You didn’t specify, but it sounds as though you were playing the board game, and I’ll presume you are playing Advanced or Super-Advanced, because there are no restrictions on pitching duration in the Basic game. Advanced Strat-O-Matic rules don’t prohibit a relief pitcher from being over-used, but penalize him my making him pitched fatigued.

Rule 27.63 states: “The maximum number of innings a reliever can pitch without fatigue is his POW (point-of-weakness) inning, plus 2.” Nathan has a POW of (1). So, after three innings, all of the outs on Nathan’s card that are followed by a dot are automatic two-star singles. Moreover, Rule 27.64 states: “Relief pitchers cannot be use more than two straight days. After pitching two straight days, he must rest at least one day.”

Many leagues go further, since they consider controlling use of dominant relievers to be one of the most sensitive issues in competitive play. Among the techniques I have seen leagues use:

 

n                         

Capping the number of innings a reliever may pitch in a single day and/or a combination of days. The one-day cap can be equivalent to Rule 27.63 – two innings more than the POW rating. The STAR Tour caps reliever use at four innings over any three-game period.

n                         

Making relievers rest as if they were starters if they pitch more than 3 innings. In the example above, Nathan would have to rest four days.

n                         

Not allowing any reliever to enter until the starting pitcher has thrown either five innings or has allowed X number of runs (usually three, four or five, depending on the league), whichever comes first.

 

If Talk Show readers have other methods that work well for their league, please feel free to share them.

 

 

Unstoppable

 

I recently played a game in my 2004 College Football Tourney, which is finally in the second round (I have two kids 2 years and under).  It pitted Bowling Green at USC.   If I told you that BG held the ball for 41 minutes, had 441 yards of offense and 28 first downs to USC’s 15, you'd think I had the makings of an upset.  Well, USC won 56-30 (I had BG). USC had 654 yards of total offense.  Seven TD passes of 49, 72, 86, 74, 51, 74, and 68 yards.  The only rushing TD was a 53 yard scamper by Bush.  Although I agree that there are times USC should have had these long plays, I think this is a little ridiculous.  Especially since I guessed right at least 5 out of 8 times.  And I would say that on most of the TDs, I was in a nickel package.  I don't doubt the outcome or the score, just how it got there.

 

Two other things: 1) I was playing Wisconsin at FSU in my tourney and FSU scored with just under 1 minute to go, to make the score 29-17, pending the XP, but the computer went for two and got it to make it a 2 TD game.  I thought that was impressive, although Wisconsin’s offense shouldn’t be feared enough to score 14 points against anyone in under one minute.  The second: Will the 2005 College Football version have the away team in white if you play the game using the animation? 

 

Henry Roman, New Jersey

 

            Whenever something extreme happens in real sports – about weekly – some of the clever posters to the online bulletin board at stratfanforum.com write tongue-in-cheek messages like, “Wake Forest 30, Florida State 0 – at Florida State! Can you believe how unrealistic Strat-O-Matic is!” In my case, two players on my draft-league baseball team hit back-to-back homers twice in the same game, something that had not occurred in the 100-plus years of baseball history – until it happened two weeks later for the Seattle Mariners.

 

            We’ll never know if Bowling Green would have been so defenseless against one of the greatest offenses in NCAA history (the 2004 Trojans were 13-0 averaging nearly 40 points per game). But Strat-O-Matic lets you imagine it. Obviously, the game engine considered the USC offense a mismatch for the BG defense and turned many “Gain” results into Long Gains. SOM has explained that this technique is required to simulate great college teams’ ability to roll up such big scores. Even then, it took some extraordinary computer “dice rolls” to turn Long Gains into so many very long TDs.

 

 

Misery Loves Company

 

I was amused by a fellow gamer getting his first no-hitter. Take heart: I am older then he and have been playing the game since 1964. In all that time I have had a ton of 1-hitters. But alas! Never have I had a no-hitter. But that won't be for lack of trying!

Alan L. Dehn, Schenectady, NY

 

            There are so many of these stories – decades without a no-hitter. I can definitely relate to all the near-misses – I have had many of them, and in the cruelest ways (a HR 1 / flyball 2-20 breaking a no-hitter and shutout in the 9th; two errors extending a no-hitter one out away, then a hit on the fielding chart; a computer rare play where an 8th-inning pop fly drops in for a hit between infielders; a bottom-of-the-8th-inning injury to a pitcher three outs from a no-hitter). But thankfully I cannot relate to the decades of drought. I have had them from the great (Sandy Koufax, Early Wynn) the good (Dave Stieb, Bob Welch – two each) and the ordinary (Marty Pattin, Jim Hardin, Barry Latman). Some have come in replays, others in draft leagues. Some have happened in board-game play, others on the computer.

 

 

Back to Basics

 

Do you think Strat will ever make a “basic” version of the PC game?

Gordy Gowdy, San Francisco

 

            No. That’s taking a step back in technology. However, the Basic-only Oldtimer decade sets with six to eight teams each – teams like the 1953 Dodgers, 1917 White Sox and 1929 Cubs, as well as teams that have since been produced as part of deluxe seasons – are available for the computer game. Take a look at the card images for those teams – the top of the card has some Advanced-game ratings, mostly generic, to make the teams play a modified Basic. But the columns are conspicuously Basic. The left side and right side are identical, with such results as singles that have no outfield designation. The outfielder arms are all 0. We can play these teams as we would in Basic cards-and-dice mode.

 

 

The Feminine Side

 

I suspect I already know the answer to this question, but I'm going to ask anyway.  Is there any chance of SOM doing WNBA seasons for Strat Basketball?

 

Any representation of women’s sports would be a first for Strat-O-Matic. Yours is the first call I have seen for WNBA or any other women’s teams. I think that gives us the likely answer. Surely you are not alone, but at this point we’d have to regard your wish as a novelty item.

 

 

The Fastest Goal?

 

This is more of a unique moment than a great moment.  But I had a question to go along with it.  In playing the board game hockey, I managed to score a goal in the third period of a game between Colorado and Dallas without drawing an action card.  It was an inter-period power play, the Stars (shorthanded team) won the faceoff, attempted to ice the puck, but it was intercepted by Alex Tanguay for an inside shot and a goal.  I wonder how many other people have had a goal scored without drawing any action cards in a period?  My question, though, is how to I determine the timing of the goal?  The chart says at 1 card drawn you start at 0:00 and add the two split numbers.  What do you do though if you have 0 action cards drawn?  Just start at 0:00 also?

Scott D, Florida

 

            Yes. The timing of a goal is more a matter of adding interesting detail than anything that drives the game engine or the stats, so you could also try this if it is more to your liking: Start at 0:00 but rather than the splits, use the time elapsed on the power play at the start of the period through the power-play timing technique.

 

 

Pictures for Dummies

 

I have been playing Strat since the ‘75 baseball season. Now the computer lets me play three of the four. I have always loved reading everyone’s stories. What I need help with is how to put the darn pictures in the game. Could you please print Importing Pictures for Dummies? I mean, I need step by step. 

Roger Williams, Grain Valley, MO

 

            The Help-file entry for “player pictures” follows. But here is a basic step-by-step):

 

  1. Find a pre-prepared photo database online. A Google search or a trip to the www.stratfanforum.com (Resources section) should get you there.
  2. Choose one of two folders to download the database into. You can find these folders by going to the START menu on Windows, then My Computer, then clicking until you see the folders.
  3. Assuming your game is on your hard drive and the hard drive is letter C, then: c:\cdrombb\player\batter or c:\cdrombb\player\pitcher. Download the file into the Batter folder or Pitcher folder, depending on the group of pictures (when you try to download, your computer should give you the opportunity to choose a folder)
  4. Restart your SOM game.
  5. You’re good to go. You can confirm that it’s working by double-clicking on a player from the Main Screen. That should take you to his Notebook and his photo should be there.

 

Now, here’s the wording from the Help file, which is more helpful if you want to locate individual pictures rather than a pre-packaged database of pictures:

 

To assign a player picture you simply need to place his picture in the appropriate folder:

 

For batters - put the pictures in Player\Batters folder (located inside the game folder). For pitchers - put the pictures in the Player\Pitchers folder.

 

The file name should have an underscore between the first and last name.  For example, a  picture for Alex Rodriguez could have the name: "Alex_Rodriguez.jpg"

 

The player image must be 90 wide by 135 high.  The file format and extension name should be .jpg or .bmp.  We recommend jpg format because this will save space on your hard drive,  especially if you are using a large number of player pictures.

 

In some cases you might have two batters or two pitchers with the same first and last name. In that case you can use the "alias.txt" file to allow for separate pictures for each player.  An example is shown in the "alias.txt" file that is shipped with the game.  Sandy Alomar Jr. was called "Sandy Alomar" from 1990 to 1999 on the Strat-O-Matic disks.  Of course this might confuse him with his father who went by the same name on Strat-O-Matic disks.  The example "alias.txt" file shows how to make the program look for "Sandy Alomar Jr." as the picture file name instead of looking for "Sandy Alomar".  That way you can have separate pictures - "Sandy Alomar" for the father's picture and "Sandy Alomar Jr." for the son's picture.

 

The program will strip all periods out of the names before creating the file name to be searched for.  As an example, "Sandy Alomar Jr." has the period stripped out to make "Sandy Alomar Jr".  Then all spaces are converted to underscores to make "Sandy_Alomar_Jr". Then the file extension (".bmp" or ".jpg") is appended to determine the final name to be searched.  In this case it would be "Sandy_Alomar_Jr.bmp" or "Sandy_Alomar_Jr.jpg".   As another example, a jpeg picture for U.L. Washington must be named "UL_Washington.jpg" in  order for the program to find it.

 

 

The French Connection

 

I am searching for SOM computer hockey leagues. I have a tough time trying to get one. Could you send me a list (or an Internet address) where I could find it?

Francois Lesard

 

 

Here are a few places you can check:

 

http://www.strat-o-matic.com/1206clas.htm ... these are league-forming classifieds on Strat-O-Matic's web site.

 

http://www.stratfanforum.com/forums/ ... these are specific leagues (most are not hockey, though) that you could contact about future openings

 

http://www.stratfanforum.com/forums/forumdisplay.php?f=8 ... to ask other hockey gamers about league possibilties.

 

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.

 

 

POLLS STILL OPEN FOR PAST-SEASON BASEBALL

 

Where are your polls taken for the next season that Strat-O-Matic may recreate? I want to put my vote in for 1949 because of the awesome pennant races in both leagues and the American League batting title race between George Kell and Ted Williams. My second wish is for 1951.  

 

James Micek, Staten Island

 

            Voting continues through March 15 at www.stratfanforum.com (in the Baseball section). 1949 is one of 10 finalists, along with 1915, 1919, 1924, 1938, 1939, 1946, 1947, 1951 and 1953. In the second week of February, 1951 had a slight lead after the first 234 votes were cast. 1919, 1924 and 1953 (in that order) were also in the hunt, while 1949 had only about one-third of the votes for 1951. Still, ’51 had only about 22 percent of the vote, so it’s lead was shaky.

Note that this voting is for the season SOM will release in January 2008. Strat-O-Matic’s Steve Barkan has announced that a Super-Advanced update of 1971 will be the release for 2007.

 

WHOSE HISTORY SHOULD SOM RE-CREATE?

When I last wrote, I asked if Strat would reprint the 1961 and 1962 baseball seasons (advanced multi-color, basic, blue screen). Your reply was: If there was enough interest. I would think “younger” fans coming to Strat would be more pumped up, playing those seasons as opposed to, say, the 1911 year. After all, their fathers would turn them on to 1961 and 1962, and we are able to breath life into these players (because we SAW THEM PLAY) far more then 1911, 1920 etc. Unfortunately, those players are simply black type in the baseball encyclopedia to us (of course we read about them) and the connection or the lure is not as great as Mays, Mantle or Aaron. 1941 and 1948 were of interest to the Baby Boomers, because our fathers saw DiMaggio, Williams and Musial. Why can't Strat reprint a limited edition of the 1961 and 1962 seasons, and depending on sales, increase production, or not?

 

Phil Solimine, Passaic, NJ

 

            The economics of printing will make SOM want to avoid placing a small order then going back to start the presses. The startup costs are significant. The more copies you run at once, the lower the cost per copy.

 

            If 1961 and 1962 had never been produced, no question those would be more popular than pre-World War II seasons. However, the issue for gamers old enough to have seen Mays, Mantle and Aaron is whether enough of them prefer an update of a season many of them have already played to an older season they have never had. The ’61, ’62 and other Advanced-only (not Super Advanced) seasons haven’t been out of stock all that long for very many folks to be wishing for a new chance to get them.

 

Personally, I have not played nearly as much with 1911 and 1920 as I have with the seasons of my youth (1959 forward), but I was eager to get those sets. They have taught me much about baseball history: The style of play, what exactly made the great players so great and the virtues of other players who filled out the lineups of notable teams. I, for one, would feel that Strat-O-Matic’s unique/fun way of teaching us baseball history would not be complete without seasons of Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, Christy Mathewson, Walter Johnson, Joe Jackson and many others at their peak. This no doubt explains the popularity of the 1924 season in the poll mentioned above. That was the season of Rogers Hornsby’s record .424 batting average and the Senators’ only World Series title.

 

            I’m in favor of updates, but I suspect that the “younger” fans will prefer the ‘70s and ‘80s seasons that pre-dated Super Advanced. Those have been unavailable from the game company for as many as 30 years.

 

MORE PACKERS!

Why does Stat-O-Matic release only six-team past season sets for football while they release the entire season set for baseball?  It is not as much fun to play a season if every team has to play each other three times (with a fourth time for the championship game), plus I still like to get my beloved Pack no matter how good of a season they had. Has Strat-O given any hints what new past years will be available when the 2005 football teams are released?

Brian Kriese, Green Bay, WI

            Strat-O-Matic should be ready to announce its next past seasons in a few months. No guarantees, but the pattern suggests that it’s 1962’s turn in the march back from 1967 (SOM’s first season). That would please Packers fans. The ’62 Pack might have been the best Green Bay team ever. Typically, there are three past seasons released per year.

 

            Pricing is at the heart of the six-team packages. Because sales volume for these sets is nowhere near what they are for baseball, a six-team set is about $20. So figure that the price for a 12-team, 14-team or 20-something-team set would be high enough to chase away too many buyers. Then, nobody would get these sets, because they wouldn’t be produced. Beyond that, the fans of football, basketball and hockey tend to be less devoted to the history of their sports than baseball fans. Some of us want full seasons; many others just want the great teams. A package of the six best teams satisfies many. For those who want more, there’s the computer game, which has them all.

 

 

LEARN FROM COLLEGE (FOOTBALL)

 

Two of the best features of the excellent college football game that Strat-O-Matic produced in the mid to late eighties were the interception return ratings for each team on the specialist card and the split numbers for blocked punts.   These features added realism to the game but have never been part of the pro game (board version).  Why do you think this is Glenn?       

 

Mark Turski, Strongsville, OH

 

            Strat-O-Matic added these features as a way to make sets without individual player cards, nor full conferences, more attractive. As readers of STRAT FAN know, I always thought these were great and we set about publishing annual ratings for team-by-team interception returns and sack yardage, more detailed punting ratings, individual fumble ratings and more. For reasons unknown, few Strat football players have not demanded these things for the pro game.

 

 

WILT

 

It is always good to see someone stand up for Wilt.  Great piece in the January Talk Show.  This is a little off the main point, but it's worth thinking about when looking at the history and evolution of the game.

 

A couple of points to the case in favor of Wilt.  First of all, add Willis Reed to your list of top centers.  And while you talk about the lack of center resistance, overall, it does little to negate the night-in, night-out pounding from weakside double and triple teams on the low post.  Like packs of wolves ambushing their prey.  If you want to compare opposition, through much of the ‘70s, Jabbar was up against the like of Tom Boerwinkle, Alvan Adams, Neil Walk, not to mention a bunch of pretenders like Tommy Burleson.  Bob Lanier was maybe the only man after Wilt to actually challenge Jabbar's post dominance, although not height, during those years.  Bill Walton?  Too many games missed, but he might have actually been as good all-around.  We'll never know, for sure.   Many of the others were much shorter, like Dave Cowens. 


Total titles?  Russell took the court almost every night of his career with half the Hall of Fame on his team! Modern weak sister NBA?  This past season, moreso perhaps, but at least Shaq has had to prove himself against the likes of Olajuwon, Robinson, Ewing, Mourning and Mutumbo in his career.  Better core-group opposition than Jabbar, or even Wilt, ever faced on a regular basis.

 

When you mention rules changes that were designed to hinder Wilt's game, let's dial ahead to today's wide open game and talk Jordan.  Rules interpretations over the years he played made it easier for him to dominate, the opposite to Chamberlain's case. 
Hands down, the most dominant single player ever in the history of the NBA: Wilt.  The only team sport players in history who are in the same category are Gretzky and the Babe.  And they had some pretty good teams to work with, too!

 

Jeff Woodhouse, Seattle, WA

 

Quick hits:

n     

In the early/mid ‘60s, when Wilt’s stats were off-the-chart great, only Russell was a worthy opponent. Reed came later.

n     

In the NBA dominant individual scoring stats don’t often translate into championships. Champs rarely have the scoring leader. Wilt’s teams didn’t win championships until he dropped from 50 points a game to about 24. Wilt didn’t have Russell’s supporting cast and Russell didn’t have Wilt’s talent. But Russell made his teammates better, while in the early ‘60s, Wilt’s teammates mostly got out of his way.

n     

Wilt was as dominant statistically as Wayne Gretzky and Babe Ruth. But they went to teams that hadn’t won titles and led them to dynasties. In terms of stats and team effectiveness, Wilt was more like Bobby Hull and Ted Williams.

 

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.

 

 

PAST-SEASON BASEBALL POLL COMPLETE

            The 1951 season led the way in voting at www.stratfanforum.com to help guide Strat-O-Matic’s decision about which baseball past season should be released in January 2008. The poll, initiated by SOM’s Steve Barkan, attracted 326 voters for 10 seasons that were determined by an earlier round of voting.

Barkan has announced that a Super-Advanced update of 1971 will be the release for 2007.

1915

11

3.37%

1919

59

18.10%

1924

41

12.58%

1938

17

5.21%

1939

18

5.52%

1946

15

4.60%

1947

9

2.76%

1949

29

8.90%

1951

75

23.01%

1953

52

15.95%

 

 

 

 

 

AWARD VOTING

 

Our draft baseball league recently completed a season using players from 2001-2004.  Version 10 of the baseball game  showed that the Cy Young Award went to Kevin Millwood with 114 points, with  runner-up Eric Gagne receiving 97 points. Version 11 of the baseball showed the same point totals, but listed Gagne first and Millwood second. Version 10's All Star Pitcher tabulation showed Gagne first, Millwood second, and Troy Percival sixth.  Version 11 showed Gagne first, Percival second, and Millwood third.  There were many other differences in the order of finish for the pitchers, also.

 

Richard Zaborsky

 

SOM’s Bob Winberry replies: Yes, the formula for Cy Young Award has been improved based upon feedback from Scott Nichols and others.  So the lists will be different between V10 and V11.


 

INSIGHT ON FOOTBALL CARD READINGS

 

As long-time users of Strat-O-Matic Pro Football (over 30 years), my fellow gamers and I have been extremely fond of the many rule additions over the years. Many ideas or lack there of, have raised questions, thus the writing of this letter. I would like your insight on the following:

 

First, on the quarterback's cards: Why isn't there a reading of receiver on # 8 right on short pass or # 6 on long pass. We have added this for years, citing that if you have made these nice receiver cards why not use them more. It only comes up once or twice a game.

 

Second: On flat pass cards on defense, why such a “lame” call on dice-roll 2? Usually it's a call of + 5 yds 2-5, X 6-12. Why not long gain 2-5, short gain 6-12 or something of that nature? Also with the nature of football with all it's broken tackles, why not more chances on cards especially on defense? I've seen some cards have on roll 4 on end runs on defense like long gain 2-4, +5 5-12. I think that is so cool and realistic. I mean this is why we have played this game so long and are addicted – its unforgiving realism.

 

Third: There seems to be a lack of catches for receivers between the 20-25 yard range (short pass).

 

Fourth: We think there should be more interceptions on QB cards when receivers are double-teamed and fewer on wrong and right to compensate.

 

Fifth: Flats inside the 10-yard line. Pros do it, the game does not. We have used this ruling, see what you think. Between the 5-9 yard line, any flat or look-in thrown is a right ruling on the QB card when defense calls run. If pass is called it's receiver 2-teamed. On defense cards it's always 1 man just like in a short-yardage defense. If 2-men, then 2-men. Receiver cards are read the same way.

 

Sixth: Receiver cards like a Homer Jones in 1967 when he had a 25-yard average. On long pass, he should have his longest catch on 7 due to he caught like 10 long TD's that year, which means he'll score automatically like he did many times that season. there are many like him, esp. those in the old replay leagues (Alworth, Hayes, Warfield, etc.).

 

If you could be kind to answer some of these questions and if any gamers out there have any tips or suggestions to what they do, I'm all ears.

 

Randy Gesicki, Independence,OH

 

            Randy, some of your questions are in favor of aesthetics over statistical accuracy. Here goes:

 

  1. Many gamers have suggested giving receivers more impact by adding “Receiver” readings. The old college football game did so. But if you add Receiver in places that had incomplete passes, you need to subtract completions elsewhere or you’re going to distort the QB cards.
  2. The Flat Pass split results on dice roll 2 are for statistical accuracy on completion percentages. If you change a +5 to a Long Gain (approximate value: 50-60 yards), then you’ve got to wipe out most of the yardage elsewhere in the “1 Linbacker in Zone column” making the play all-or-nothing. That’s not realistic for these short tosses.
  3. Yes, there are few Short Pass catches of 20-25 yards, thanks to the NFL’s current passing style. Back in the day of Homer Jones, Lance Alworth, Bob Hayes and other explosive receivers in the era of more downfield passes, 20-25-yard gains on receiver cards were much more common.
  4. That’s an option, but today’s low interception rates don’t leave very much to take away from many QBs’ Right and Wrong columns.
  5. Your innovation sounds like fun. I assume you are getting more touchdown passes this way, that defenses are more inclined to call pass and that runners find the path to the end zone a bit clearer, too.
  6. This is strictly math. If you want a completion on 7, erase the catches on 2 and 8 (or any other combination that adds to six “chances” out of the 36 that adding two six-sided dice produce).

 

 

DELIVERING IN THE CLUTCH

 

Over at the funnest website on the planet, TSN/SOM, we are having a discussion about clutch ratings:


http://forums-beta.sportingnews.com/viewtopic.php?t=67206   


Some players think that the clutch factor is just a way to control RBIs. I believe someone used Ichiro's 2005 card as a good example of a player who tears it up with RISP, and RISP/2 out, but has negative clutch symbols. The discussion centers on playing specialized leagues without the clutch rating. This sounds insane to me, and I know there is more to Mr. Richman's calculations than what meets the eye. I believe someone like you may be able to shed light on how the clutch ratings work.


Sean Swift
 

 

It’s an RBI-adjuster, taking into account many, many more of each player’s at-bats than those with two outs and runners in scoring position. Note that players who go down in the clutch only lose RBIs on singles, so they keep all their run-scoring ability on extra-base hits. That’s why so many sluggers decline in the clutch. The ratings are widely used. They add strategy and fun and encourage gamers to use their players realistically. Before the clutch ratings, I once won a championship with 1981 Carney Lansford (who hit 4 HRs, 52 RBIs in the real strike-shortened season) batting fourth. My team lacked power, but Lansford, who won the real AL batting title with a .336 average, had a card rich in two-base singles. With swift, high-on-base, players in front of him, he had plenty of RBI chances and got them with singles and doubles. Had the clutch ratings been in force then, Lansford would have been a poor choice for the cleanup spot, which gets more two-out RBI chances than the top three places in the batting order.

 

 

HOCKEY: NEW AND OLD

 

I bought a hockey game a couple of years ago and now I love it.  Is there any chance that card sets formerly available from STRAT FAN will be sold again?  I am looking for SFH01, which included 70 Bruins, 71 Blackhawks, 72 Rangers, 74 Flyers, 75 Sabres, 77 Canadiens, 81 Islanders, 84 Oilers.  I have purchased several teams and the 1975 season but really don't want the teams other then the Flyers and Sabres.  Hall of Famers are nice but I would rather have the teams. 

 

I know you get these questions all the time ... please fire up that printer.

 

New Hockey Strat-Nut Dominic Mattioni, Lee, NH    

 

            That STRAT FAN set is history, except in secondary markets. It won’t be revived. Everyone has their preferences and the variety is wide, but great teams are always popular. The answer to all these questions is pretty much the same: It takes nearly as much effort to research one great team as it does to research its entire league. That’s because Strat-O-Matic carefully calculates how each team performs in relation to its competition and the era it played in. That way, the team is “normalized” so that it will play credibly against teams of other eras as well.  SOM has reached a solid compromise for its gamers who want only the best teams: The 6-team sets, reasonably priced, that are being released three seasons at a time. In that format, the ’71, ’75 and ’77 teams you cite above already are in card form.

 

WHEN THE GOALIE IS PULLED

There are two questions about pulling the goalie in the Advanced Game that I’d like to get your feedback on because they aren’t answered in the instructions:

1.    On what reading from the Action Deck does the extra player get the puck?

2.    When the extra player has the puck and the coach wants to penetrate, what column on the Penetration chart do you look under for his success numbers?

David Solomon, East Brunswick, NJ

          The extra player gets the puck any time it goes to “Any Player.” This is in the instructions. Although your penetrating question (sorry, couldn’t resist) isn’t covered specifically in the instructions, it makes sense to have the team with the pulled goalie use the “Against Short-Handed” column – assuming that both teams are at full-strength (6 skaters vs. 5).

 

WANTED: TEAM INTERCEPTION RETURNS

 

I would like to put my vote in for a more team specific interception returns for the different pro football teams. Some of us that run defensive oriented teams like Chicago need the help of having better returns because they made up so much of their team's scoring. I think many of us never thought that there was an option to have team specific interception returns included in the game. 

 

Gary Mays, Lincoln, NE   

            The team-specific interception returns have existed in two worlds: The defunct college football board game and STRAT FAN’s innovations for pro teams in the 1990s. No doubt, some teams were lethal in this area of play and it added to the excitement of playing with (and against) them.

 

35 YEARS OF STRAT-O-MATIC FOOTBALL

I saw a recent item in The Talk Show about league longevity. Our league here in Cincinnati has been playing Strat football since 1972. Before that we played APBA football for two years (why did it take us so long to switch over?). In any case I believe we are the longest active continuous-ownership Strat football league around. I'm not sure how we stack up to some of the baseball leagues.


Meredith Adkins

            Since Strat-O-Matic Pro Football did not debut until 1968, no league could be much older than yours. Considering that face-to-face play was the likeliest format until the computer game debuted a few years ago, the longevity of your league is a real tribute to its quality.

 

 

FINAL WORD

 

I just got my copy of The Fielding Bible By John Dewan. http://actasports.com/sows.php. When you open the book there is a quote from Hal. Then in the Acknowledgements was this from Dewan:

 

“One of the roots of my interest in baseball traces back to a board game called Strat-O-Matic baseball, invented by Hal Richman. I started playing Strat-O-Matic almost 40 years ago. Over the years I’ve come to know Hal Richman. How fortunate I am. It’s not often that the first words you use to describe a successful businessman is “a good kind man,” but those are the best words to describe Hal. But there’s another part of Hal that really helped me with this book, and that’s his incredible knowledge of the defensive abilities of major league baseball players. Hal and Len Schwartz, also from Strat-O-Matic, were invaluable as a resource in doing this book.”

 

Pretty cool stuff! I’ve been playing SOM since 1965 and one of the key things that separate SOM from its competition is the importance and care it places on defense, and it starts with Hal.

 

John McTernan Swansea, ILL

 

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.

 

 

THE CUBS, THE YANKS AND THE LIVELY BALL

 

 

 1930 Cubs

AB

H

R

3b

2b

HR

RBI

BB

SB

Avg

OBP

Hartnett

508

172

84

3

31

37

122

55

0

0.339

0.404

Cuyler

642

228

155

17

50

13

134

72

37

0.355

0.428

Wilson

585

208

146

6

35

56

191

105

3

0.356

0.454

English

638

214

152

17

36

14

59

100

3

0.335

0.43

 

2373

822

537

43

152

120

506

332

43

0.346

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 1927 Yankees

AB

H

R

3b

2b

HR

RBI

BB

SB

Avg

OBP

Gehrig

584

218

149

18

52

47

175

109

10

0.373

0.474

Combs

648

231

137

23

36

6

64

62

15

0.356

0.414

Ruth

540

192

158

8

29

60

164

137

7

0.356

0.486

Lazzeri

570

176

92

8

29

18

102

69

22

0.309

0.383

 

2342

817

536

57

146

131

505

377

54

0.348

 

 

I am slowly replaying the 1930 baseball season on the computer.  I have a young child and another on the way so getting decent computer time is a rarity.  After playing the Cubs a few times and studying their offensive stats, I wanted to see how they stood up to the 1927 Yankees.  I did a quick comparison using baseball-reference.com.  I was amazed to see how the top four players on offense from each team compared.  Not a good baseball historian, I always thought that offensively the Yankees were head and shoulders above the rest in that era.  Looking at the above stats, it would seem the Cubs could hang in there against the '27 Yanks.  But even drilling down to the next four starters the Yankees don't have a clear-cut advantage, though Bob Meusel did drive in over 100 runs, while no other Cub had over 68.  The final offensive stats for both teams are very close in most categories.  Obviously what makes the Yankees such the dominant team is their pitching, which gave up 1.60 fewer earned runs per game than the Cubbies.  Do you know of any other team in that era that could size up to either the Yankees or Cubs offensively?

 

Henry Roman

 

          Speaking of research, let’s get our priorities straight first. Research shows that before babies are born, they can be influenced by the sounds of their parents’ voices and the music they hear. So I just want to make sure: You ARE having your wife sit next to you – at a safe distance from the computer rays – so that your next little one is in tune with the computer game sounds and your announcing, right? And you gently caress your wife’s stomach after each extra-base hit? Good man. We need that next generation of Strat fans.  

 

          Now, understand that the era of the ’27 Yanks and ’30 Cubs is the best offensive era ever. So start there. The 1930 Cardinals outscored the Cubs, 1004-998 and also had the better ERA, 4.39 to 4.80. The Cardinals hit .314 to the Cubs’ .309, but the Cubs had more power (171 HR to 104) and drew more walks, giving them the higher team OPS. The Cardinals won the NL in 1930, two games ahead of the Cubs. In my replay, the Cubs won the pennant, one game ahead of the Cardinals.

 

            The 1927 Yanks scored 975 runs. The 1930 Yanks scored 1,062 – the highest-scoring team ever produced by SOM in “Cadillac” form – but had bad pitching. The 1930 Philadelphia Athletics are a great team – 951 runs, ace pitcher Lefty Grove and excellent defense.

 

            For post-war teams, check out the deep lineup of the 1950 Boston Red Sox:

 

1B Walt Dropo: .322-34-144 (.583 slugging, 101 runs)

SS Vern Stephens: .295-30-144 (.511 slugging, 125 runs)

2B Bobby Doerr: .294-27-120 (.519 slugging, 103 runs, 11 triples)

LF Ted Williams: .317-28-97 (in only 334 AB, with .647 slugging)

CF Dom DiMaggio: 328 with league-leading 131 runs, 11 triples, 15 SB

3B Johnny Pesky: .312, 104 walks, 112 runs

RF Al Zarilla: .325 with 32 doubles, 10 triples

C Birdie Tebbets: .310

AL batting leader Billy Goodman, a utility man who hit .354 in 424 AB

 

 

            Here’s the rank, by runs scored of SOM “Cadillac” teams:

1930 Yankees: 1,062

1950 Red Sox: 1,027

1999 Cleveland: 1,009*

1930 Cardinals: 1,004

1930 Cubs: 998

1996 Seattle: 993*

2000 White Sox: 978*

1927 Yankees: 975

 

* in 162 games

 

            Regardless of SOM availability, the two teams who have scored more than the 1930 Yankees are the 1931 Yankees (1,067) and the 1936 Yankees (1,065).

 

 There is a basic-only version of the ’36 Yankees, who had Gehrig (.354-49-152) in his prime, rookie Joe DiMaggio (.323-29-125), Hall of Fame C Bill Dickey (.362-22-107) and an incredibly deep lineup. All eight regulars hit from.288-.362, seven hit double-figure homers, five drove in more than 100 runs, four scored at least 116 runs and two more scored in the ‘90s. Even pitcher Red Ruffing hit .291 with 5 HR in 127 AB.

 

            The 1929 Cubs are in basic-only form, too. They scored 982 runs with a great Big Four:

 

            2B Rogers Hornsby: .380-39-149 with 47 doubles, 8 triples, 87 walks and major-league-best 156 runs and NL-best slugging of .679)

            Wilson: .345-39-159 with 135 runs and .618 slugging

            Cuyler: .360-15-102 with 111 runs and majors-best 43 SB

            LF Riggs Stephenson: .362-17-110 with 36 doubles and 6 triples

 

            English did not have a big year, but with all these sluggers hitting behind him still scored 131 runs. If the Cubs had not lost Hartnett to injury for all but 22 AB, this team could have been scary good. As it was, they won the NL pennant by 10 ½ games.

 

 

WORST TO FIRST

 

I just won my third Strat-O-Matic championship, but this was in a unique league.  My friend and I held a draft with the cards in my collection, but we picked the worst players possible.  Pitchers had ERAs no better than 4.00 (in some cases over 8.00) and no batters were picked who hit above .240 (most hit .200 or below).  In many ways, this was the most exciting league I've ever been in (although it took almost three years of face to face play to complete) – everything that happened was a surprise.  Buddy Kerr turned out to be the MVP and Vic Raschi won the Cy Young.

Paolo Cosmo, West Haven, CT

 

            Congratulations on your “chump-ionship.” I’ve often wondered how high really bad players could achieve against really bad competition, but I’ve never gotten around to putting those teams together. I wonder what the lineup would look like with rules saying everyone had to be a 4 or 5 defensively and below 600 OPS. I haven’t even explored how many players like this are out there if you require, say, at least 200 at bats. Then having batters hope for rolls on the pitcher cards, or, even better, the fielding chart. I think it would be hilarious fun, but I can see why it might take three years to get to the finish line. 

 

 

’67 RAMS ERROR

 

I noticed that there is no box under the roll of 8 on the 1967 Los Angeles Rams Defensive End Run Card with no linebacker support. Is this an error?

 

Ken Brown, Detroit, MI

 

            Yes.

 

 

NEGRO LEAGUES DESTINY

 

Will there EVER be a Negro League Set of cards or is it not possible?

 John Trent

 

            Ever is a long time. Nothing is impossible. That said, I can’t see it happening soon. After years of digging, the stats just aren’t there to do a set the Strat-O-Matic way. Remember those estimated cards Strat-O-Matic did for expansion teams? A Negro Leagues set would be even more speculative. It would take insufficient data, add pure guesswork in other areas where is NO data and then make a controversial decisions about how to weight Negro Leagues stats in context of the Major League stats of the period.

 

            Some suggest Negro League stats are equivalent to MLB stats, because Negro Leagues stars did well against MLB stars in off-season exhibitions. But if, as some of the scholarship suggests, league-wide talent in the Negro Leagues was more like AAA talent, then the Negro League stars had stats inflated by a lower level of competition.

           

 

 

HERE’S YOUR CHANCE TO GET ON TV

 

My name is Lee Adams from Pittsburgh, Pa. I host a television talk show on the Adelphia Television Network. As a kid, I  played Strat-O-Matic with my brothers and friends and have many fond  memories of that.  I want to invite some of the  Strat-O-Matic founders, creators, spokespeople, seasoned veterans, and even some younger-generation players to be guests on my TV talk show “One  on One with Lee Adams.”  People who can really articulate the essence and appeal of this game so that people that never heard of it can get a feel why it is so well liked.

 

Lee Adams, Adelphia Television Network

aceadams25@hotmail.com

 

 

DEWAN, FIELDING and STRAT-O-MATIC

 

We posted our exclusive interview with John Dewan, author of the recently released book, The Fielding Bible. Most of you know John for his work at Project Scoresheet and Stats, Inc. John is also the owner of Baseball Info Solutions, the company that provided all the data for his latest book.

 

John collaborated with Bill James to present a detailed look at defensive metrics. The book is well written and informative, and will most certainly be used as the foundation for future research. John does an exceptional job with the interview providing many interesting and unknown facts. We thought many of you would be interested in checking it out!

 

Defensive Doctrine: An Interview with John Dewan

 

Joe Hamrahi
Baseball Digest Daily
jhamrahi@baseballdigestdaily.com
www.baseballdigestdaily.com

 

 

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.

 

 

6s at Defensive End are Precious This Year

 

The new football ratings are out and Strat has stopped giving the All-Pro’s their 6s like Michael Strahan and Osi. The Giants’ defensive ends are a 5 and 0 respectively. What is Strat doing with the ratings?

John Trent

 

Strat-O-Matic awarded only three 6s to defensive ends this year, none of them to the dominant pass-rushers who got most of the All-Pro votes. Orpheus Roye of Cleveland is the only 6-rated left end. Pittsburgh’s Kimo van Oelhoffen and New England’s Richard Seymour got 6s at right end. Only Seymour got even a single vote in the Associated Press balloting for All-Pro. Curiously, Seymour led all vote-getters at tackle. But New England already has 6-rated nose tackle Vince Wilfork in its 3-4 defense.

 

Obviously, SOM felt these guys were the run-stuffers. The AP voters cast their All-Pro ballots for pass-rushers. Indy’s Dwight Freeney (rated 4) and the Giants’ Osi Umenyiora (rated 0) were the AP All-Pros. These two, plus Strahan (at 5), Oakland’s Derrick Burgess (a 4), Carolina’s Julius Peppers (5), Indy’s Robert Mathis (a 0), Miami’s Jason Taylor (a 5), Tennessee’s Kyle Vanden Bosch (a 4) and Chicago’s Adewale Ogunleye (a 4) got 98 percent of the All-Pro votes. They all have pass rush ratings of 11 or higher.

 

Elsewhere on defense, Pittsburgh strong safety Troy Palamalu, the top vote-getter at safety, is a 6, as are five of the top six vote-getters at safety. SOM gave 6s to the top six in the balloting at cornerback, the top six at inside linebacker and the top nine at tackle. At outside linebacker, the top three and six of the top eight received 6s. Only supreme pass-rushers Joey Porter (Pittsburgh) and Shawne Merriman (San Diego) did not. They are 5s.

 

 

 

 

Managing a 1911 Pitching Staff

 

What pitching guidelines do you suggest using when playing old baseball seasons such as 1911 when the starters frequently also pitched in relief? How many days rest must they have before starting again after relieving? How many days after a start can they pitch in relief and is there an inning restriction?

Fred Sauger

 

                If you are playing the board game solo or with agreeable friends, you can adopt your own rules. In the computer game, the best choice is the SADV fatigue system, which allows shorter rest between starts if the first one was a 1-5 inning outing. Otherwise, pitchers need three or four days between starts and that’s it.

 

            Mostly, this is a replayer’s headache: Mixing starts and relief appearances for guys like the Cubs’ Three Finger Brown (27 starts, 26 relief jobs). It’s a more serious issue for the eight pitchers who had at least 36 starts and also relieved. A real challenge for the Cardinals’ Bob Harmon (41 starts, 10 relief outings), the A’s Jack Coombs (40 starts, 7 relief outings) and the White Sox’ Ed Walsh (37 starts, 19 relief outings).

 

            One clue: A high percentage of relief appearances for these heavy-use starters were saves (not an official stat then, but available now through retro calculations). So look for opportunities to use Brown, Walsh and others to close out a game with an inning or two, then allow them to start on one-day rest after that. 

 

 

The Timeless Debate Over Past Seasons

 

Some time ago, I asked if Strat was considering reprinting (in the 3-color format, advanced, and blue screen in basic) the 1956, 1961, and 1962 baseball seasons. I realize the 1971 season is coming next year, but for collecting purposes, and for many new gamers would want these seasons. Also the 1951 season has won out in the poll that was taken. Is Strat thinking of the 1958 season in the future?

Phil, Passaic NJ

 

 

Why hasn’t Strat-O-Matic recreated or re-released such seasons as 1972-1973-1974 where you had the Oakland A’s with all those great players – Catfish, Rollie, Reggie and Blue Moon, etc – winning 3 World Series championships! Or the 1976-1977 seasons where you had such great New York Yankees World Series teams vs. the great NL teams from Cincinnati and Los Angeles (who could forget Reggie Jackson’s 3 home- run game!). Or 1979 where you had that great World Series Pittsburgh Pirates team with Willie “Pops” Stargell? Seems the 1970s are being passed over. It took over 35 years to finally see Strat-O-Matic do the 1971 season. There will be now three (71/75/78). If you go to purchase single season or teams from these years they are difficult to get, at insane prices (though 75/78 are not due to they are available from Strat still).

                                                                                                     NJ Strat Player

 

Waiting months for the announcement of what new season football cards Strat was going to come up with, I knew one would be 1962 but I was so disappointed to see the other two: 1957 and then 1991. Actually, ‘57 may be interesting, but why do 1991? There seems like there are so many other seasons, like the 69, 74, 76, 80 that would be so much better. I really thought and hoped that ‘69 would be coming out. The Minnesota Vikings defense of that year was awesome, possibly the best ever. I was hoping to pit that team against some of the ones Strat already did. Now it looks like waiting another year.

Mark Bender, Lansing, MI

 

            Although 1971 is the only baseball past season scheduled (for next January), SOM’s Steve Barkan has said that 1958 is in the cards, so to speak. Polls are a guideline for Strat-O-Matic, not a dictate, so we’ll just have to see how influential the voting for 1951 turns out to be.

 

            The short answer to why SOM hasn’t re-created more ‘70s baseball seasons is that they have already produced those seasons once, and that leaves a big question mark about how many people want to buy them a second time, just to get super-advanced features. We have reached a point in SOM’s past-season work where the most popular seasons have been done and consensus on the rest doesn’t exist.

 

            As for football, extensive online discussion showed that most gamers were very pleased by SOM’s choices this year. They cite the great balance in 1957, where a half dozen teams could win it all. They love the chance to play the greatest Packers team of all in ’62 and the classic AFL overtime championship game between the rival Texas franchises, the Houston Oilers and Dallas Texans. And 1991 offers an updated version of one of SOM’s greatest teams, the Redskins. Gamers who have great-team competitions almost always include this one. Now the ’91 ‘Skins are compatible.  

 

SOM has been making rapid progress re-producing the Post-World War II National Football League and American Football League. At the present rate of three past seasons per year, all seasons will be in current card format in about 11 years. All that’s left for the AFL is 1969, 1961 and 1960. In addition to the fascinating, well-balanced 1957 season, there are probably only two more “must-do” seasons in the pre-AFL era: 1958 (the classic Colts-Giants overtime game) and 1950 (the Browns-Rams great teams). That leaves only six seasons from the 1970s that have never been produced in the more “wide-open” format that has blocking results on defensive cards. Six more seasons from the 1980s and six from the 1990s remain to be updated into the current “Flat Pass” format.

 

            Personally, I’d love to see ’69 soon – the NFL and AFL playoffs were classic. The stingy, 12-2 Vikings survived a tough game with 11-3 Los Angeles, then smoked the explosive 10-3-1 Browns in the NFL. The 11-3 Super Bowl champion Chiefs scored a late TD to edge Joe Namath’s defending Super Bowl champion 10-4 Jets, then got the best of a 13-1 Raiders team that had beaten Kansas City twice in the regular season.

 

            That’s a great six-pack for the SOM card set.

 

            As a Vikings fan, I remember pulling hard for the Raiders in the AFL championship. I was sure the Vikings would handle the Raiders, who played straight-up football, but worried a lot that the flashier Chiefs, big and fast, would present a very different challenge. We’ll never know whether the Vikings would have beaten the Raiders, but if it had happened that way, NFL history might have been quite different. It was the Chiefs’ decisive victory in the Super Bowl that gave the AFL the parity (2-2 in Super Bowls) that iced the merger that happened the following season.

 

 

Hockey: Shots and More Shots

 

I have played hundreds of Strat hockey games, using various offensive and defensive combinations, yet I notice that there are significantly higher shots on goal than the real-life teams.  I have finished about 40 games with the ‘02-03 Devils and my averages shots for and against are about 36 and 27 respectively.  Yet the real life Devils had a little over 31 and 23 respectively that year.  To me the Offense 4’s are the beneficiaries, getting higher shots totals than they would in real life.  Using the “any player” rules exactly as they are in the Strat official rules, Patrik Elias was on pace for about 430 shots when he actually had about 255 that season. This leads me to believe that a few simple changes are needed.  The simplest idea would be to add extra “lose to opponent” readings.  The increase in the action deck by 5 cards has been a significant factor. When the deck used to be 30, shots on goal were much more accurate. I am trying more offense 2 defense 2 situations and it seems to be working toward fewer shots but higher percentage shots.  It seems maybe the realism of the game is geared toward offense and defense 2 being the usual. I was using more defense 1 with offense 2, which yielded more automatic outside shots with obviously a lower percentage of shots going in.  Perhaps this will work.

 

Also, I am starting what I believe to be the only all-Netplay hockey league for Strat82 games, 40 weeks, with 4 rounds of playoffs encompassing 7 weeks, followed by a new season draft.  We have 16 guys from New York to Saskatchewan to California. The league is called NANETSL: North American Net Strat Hockey League. I’ll keep you updated on our progress.

 

Finally, two requests for the programmers that would make file transfers easier: First, separate Print files for each league like the baseball game has, and second, a way to delete imported and exported stats like the baseball game has.  Any feedback would be appreciated.

Barry Brooks, Bronx NY

 

Of possible value to other games: Barry later reported that using the Offense-2, Defense-2 as default settings solved his problem. In fact, as those who play the hockey board game know, 2-2 is the default.

 

We’ll be interested in your league results, Barry. And your computer requests are being forwarded to the game company.

 

 

Merging Board and Computer Stats

 

Will it ever be possible to incorporate board game stats into my PC version SOM League? It would be great to be able to select games throughout the season to play with the SOM board game, “a game of the week if you will” and edit those stats from paper into my league stats. I believe it is possible with the baseball version.

Rick Bettini, Matthews NC

 

            Yes, it is possible in baseball. You didn’t specify which sport you are playing, but SOM has continued to upgrade the functionality of all its computer games, gradually adding features to other games that have proved popular in one of the others.

 

 

Tribe Fielder Also Leaps Tall Buildings in a Single Bound

 

I have been playing Strat for over twenty years and love it.  One of my greatest joys has been teaching the basic game to my then 4-year-old son last year and the advanced game to him this year.  My only complaint is minor – I do complete season replays for the Tribe on the computer and about two or three times a year my left fielder robs someone of a homerun.  On page six of the rule book it lists walls that are over ten feet in height for the 2003 season, and left field/left center are not listed for Cleveland.  Is there any way that this could be addressed?  If not I may have to write to Mark Shapiro and ask him why he traded a man with a 37-foot vertical for Guillermo Mota.

 

Mike Drexel, Westerville,OH

 

            The wall heights in left-center and right-center field govern the ratings. Strat-O-Matic Director of Development Bob Winberry says he will re-investigate Jacobs Field in advance of the Version 12 computer baseball game.

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.

 

 

SEEKING NOTHING BUT THE BEST

 

I have bought every card Strat has ever made – some sets I have two or three copies of. The 1971 set, the first advanced set, is a jewel. I do like the bold, multi-option cards a lot better then the older cards.

 

However, one of the two things I would like to see are all-time franchise sets. Most other games offer this and finding out what Strat thinks are the best 25 or 40 players of all time for each franchise would be cool additionally what card the company feels is the best. It would also open certain debate amongst us, of course, and be a lot of fun.

 

Secondly, I think Strat needs to compromise its statistics for what is right by making Negro League players. Seeing Josh Gibson's name on a card would be priceless. Certainly we can make our own but it is not the same. This is one set that needs to be done and I can bet almost any player would buy.

 

Tom Hannon

 

 

            The all-time-franchise sets are the ultimate “what-if” in a hobby built on that. However, let’s not mistake other company products for what we’ve come to expect from Strat-O-Matic. Other companies take the raw data from older seasons and just crank out the ratings as if the numbers occurred in a constant time – where a .320 average and a 2.50 ERA in 1930 (when the NL hit .303) was as meaningful as those numbers in 1968 (when the AL hit .230). Strat-O-Matic normalizes every player’s stats in light of the season norms and his actual competition – each team plays a different schedule (and the team’s hitters and pitchers don’t face each other).

 

            This is why SOM has said it takes almost as much research to produce one team from a season as it does to produce the whole season. So, if Jimmie Foxx’ best season and Walter Johnson’s best season and 50 other players’ best seasons are from years not yet re-created by Strat-O-Matic, we’re asking for an enormous research job.

 

            More practical, at this point, would be a community-participation project to identify the best players SOM has ever produced for each franchise. We could change the list each year as SOM introduces new seasons.   

 

            Your letter adds your name to the growing list seeking the Negro League players. Still, I think there’s a serious barrier that gamers have seldom remarked upon. The assumption seems to be that enough of us would be happy if Strat-O-Matic would just settle for getting a close approximation of the Negro League stars instead of the game company’s obsession with precision. However, the data is so poor that the product would not be approximation, but guesswork.

 

Without that confidence, any carded star is likely to be controversial.

 

            Example: Josh Gibson gets a card better than the best of Johnny Bench or Roy Campanella. Whoa! How does SOM proclaim him to be the best all-around catcher ever? If Gibson’s card is worse than Bench, Campanella or Mike Piazza, then the protests may be just as strong.

           

            Make no mistake, these comparisons will be made. Many of us who want the Negro Leaguers want to play them against Major Leaguers. So the “how-could-you?” questions flood into The Talk Show. And what’s Strat-O-Matic’s answer?

 

“The research is inconclusive, so we went by what Gibson’s contemporaries said.”

 

Or, “Many at-bats from several seasons during Gibson’s prime are missing. We have no idea whether the known stats represent Gibson’s best seasons or his worst.”

 

Or, “We made some assumptions about the quality of play in the Negro Leagues. It was not Major League quality. Many players who put up tremendous numbers in the highest minor leagues flamed out quickly in the Majors.”

 

Barring better data, this is the risk SOM would have to accept. Some of us would accept this – “projection” ratings that fuel the ageless debate. But it’s not hard to see why Strat-O-Matic would be wary.

 

 

LOOKING FORWARD INTO THE PAST

 

1971 is the next past baseball season Strat is coming out with. What will be next on the agenda? Also is there any chance, the 1961, and 1962 season will be reprinted?

 

Phil S, Passaic

No word yet on the season to be issued in 2008 (the 1971 season will appear in two-sided form with Super Advanced features in early 2007). Steve Barkan, who does the research for Strat-O-Matic’s baseball past seasons, has said that 1958 is on the list to complete the game company’s production of all seasons from 1954-present. But Barkan has not indicated when 1958 might be done.

We have discussed 1961 and 1962 many times in this forum. Reprints of sets in older formats is not in the cards. Updating 1961 and 1962 with Super Advanced features is probably a lower priority than updating more seasons from the 1970s. Why? Because ’61 and ’62 already have been produced twice – presumably, the majority of gamers who wanted them have already acquired them. The 1971-74, 1976-77 and 1979 seasons, produced just once 25-35 years ago, probably are better bets for solid sales.

Beyond that, it’s all speculation. Smart money would wager that the historic 1951 season will show up – it ranked No. 1 in the latest online poll, which is one test of potential popularity. A season from the 1936-39 Yankees dynasty also would bridge the 1934-41 gap between SOM sets. The only longer gaps are in the Dead Ball era, and those seasons are more difficult to research.

 

FIELDING RULE

I had a question concerning the baseball game rules.  On an asterisk-less split such as HR 1-8/DO 9-20, which fielder does the ball go to if the double results?  I know several times I have had that occur and then I want to see about the runner on 1st trying to advance an extra base to score, but I don’t know which outfielder's throwing rating to use.

Scott, Fort Lauderdale, FL

          The center fielder handles all throws on hits where the specific outfield is not shown.

 

 

RELIEF NEEDED

 

When trying to replay the 2005 Orioles realistically, I have found that, especially early in the season, only 5 relievers who SOM carded are eligible to play.  That can make it very difficult, especially with the relief rule of mandatory rest after two straight days with an appearance (especially if a particular game requires a lot of relief pitching).  I have found this situation to be even worse for a team like the Nationals, who, for a good portion of the early stages of the season, have just 3 carded relievers eligible (and one is the closer!).  What do you recommend?  Should I simply ignore the 2-day rule until I get about 7 or so relievers eligible? Or is there a spot online to go to where I can learn how to make up my own card for un-carded players?


Scott D, Florida

 

            Here are some possibilities:

n                         

In the computer game, all players are rated, even those who pitched only one inning. You can find their card readings there.

n                         

Suspend the two-day rule for relievers who made brief appearances. My preference for board-game play is rest after either a) 3 innings in any one or two days or b) appearances in three straight days (which cannot exceed 4 innings pitched)

n                         

A team can get by with five relievers by reserving a couple for each game. If you can get 5 innings from your starter, each of two relievers can pitch 2 innings to get through 9. That reserves the fifth man as a closer to be used in both games.

n                         

Even a three-man bullpen can get by this way: Starter goes at least 5-6 innings. Reliever #1 goes 2-3 innings. Closer finishes. Next game, same for starter. With reliever #1 resting, reliever #2 goes 2-3 innings. Closer finishes. Though such a team will lack flexibility, there are times in a real season when a manager has only a few rested arms available.

 

 

100 TEAMS, TWO YEARS AND A BABY

I had to share my gaming experience with you! A little more than two years ago, I set out to find out what was the greatest team of all time, or at least the greatest team released by Strat-O-Matic in Advanced/Super Advanced card sets. I pooled one hundred teams teams in twenty-five groups of four apiece, with each playing each other once and with the two “best” or higher-seeded teams in each group playing two home games and one road game. The winner of each group would then go on to a single-elimination knockout stage, except seven extra “wild card” second-place finishers from the stronger “Groups of Death”, for a total of thirty-two teams in the knockout stage. Now, more than two years, over two-hundred solitaire games, and the birth of a now-two year old daughter (and Mets fan!) later, I am proud to announce the results.

Carlos R. Pastrana, San Juan, Puerto Rico

            Congratulations on the daughter and completion of a long-term project! Gamers will be very interested to see how their favorite teams fared in this World Cup-style tournament.

GROUP STAGE

GROUP 1
2001 Seattle Mariners 3-0
1927 New York Yankees 2-1 (Wild Card)
1969 Atlanta Braves 1-2
1980 Philadelphia Phillies 0-3

GROUP 2
1964 St. Louis Cardinals 2-1
1999 Texas Rangers 2-1 (Wild Card)
1961 New York Yankees 1-2
1992 Pittsburgh Pirates 1-2

GROUP 3
1955 Brooklyn Dodgers 3-0
1982 Milwaukee Brewers 2-1
1971 Pittsburgh Pirates 1-2
1987 Toronto Blue Jays 0-3

GROUP 4
1941 New York Yankees 3-0
1930 Washington Senators 2-1
1980 Houston Astros 1-2
1985 Kansas City Royals 0-3

GROUP 5
1986 New York Mets 3-0
1969 Baltimore Orioles 2-1 (Wild Card)
1995 Cleveland Indians 1-2
1979 Pittsburgh Pirates 0-3

GROUP 6
2000 New York Mets 3-0
1984 Detroit Tigers 2-1 (Wild Card)
1954 Cleveland Indians 1-2
1989 Oakland A’s 0-3

GROUP 7
1950 Boston Red Sox 3-1 (Won tiebreaker)
1911 Detroit Tigers 3-2
1930 Chicago Cubs 2-2
1973 Oakland A’s 0-3

GROUP 8
1956 New York Yankees 3-0
1911 New York Giants 2-1
1991 Minnesota Twins 1-2
2001 Houston Astros 0-3

GROUP 9
1959 Chicago White Sox 3-0
1934 St. Louis Cardinals 2-1 (Wild Card)
1993 Philadelphia Phillies 1-2
1998 New York Yankees 0-3

GROUP 10
1985 St. Louis Cardinals 3-0
1941 Brooklyn Dodgers 2-1
1978 Los Angeles Dodgers 1-2
1961 Detroit Tigers 0-3

GROUP 11
2002 Anaheim Angels 3-0
1993 Toronto Blue Jays 2-1
1959 Milwaukee Braves 1-2
1978 New York Yankees 0-3

GROUP 12
1954 New York Giants 3-0
1934 Detroit Tigers 1-2
2003 Florida Marlins 1-2
1990 Cincinnati Reds 1-2

GROUP 13
1985 New York Yankees 3-1 (Won tiebreaker)
1965 San Francisco Giants 2-2
1920 Chicago White Sox 1-2
2002 San Francisco Giants 1-2

GROUP 14
1965 Los Angeles Dodgers 3-0
1920 Cleveland Indians 2-1
1978 Boston Red Sox 1-2
1984 Chicago Cubs 0-3

GROUP 15
1981 Oakland A’s 3-0
1994 Montreal Expos 2-1
1969 Chicago Cubs 1-2
1930 Philadelphia A’s 0-3

GROUP 16
1975 Cincinnati Reds 3-0
1965 Minnesota Twins 2-1 (Wild Card)
2001 Arizona Diamondbacks 1-2
1982 California Angels 0-3

GROUP 17
1911 Philadelphia A’s 2-1
1934 New York Giants 2-1 (Wild Card)
1988 Los Angeles Dodgers 1-2
1983 Baltimore Orioles 1-2

GROUP 18
1969 New York Mets 3-1 (Won tiebreaker)
1980 Montreal Expos 2-2
1995 Atlanta Braves 1-2
1927 Pittsburgh Pirates 1-2

GROUP 19
2004 Boston Red Sox 3-0
1983 Chicago White Sox 2-1
1920 Brooklyn Robins 1-2
1989 San Francisco Giants 0-3

GROUP 20
1997 Florida Marlins 3-1 (Won tiebreaker)
1961 Cincinnati Reds 2-2
1984 San Diego Padres 1-2
1967 Boston Red Sox 1-2

GROUP 21
1986 Boston Red Sox 3-0
2001 Oakland A’s 2-1
1960 Pittsburgh Pirates 1-2
1950 Philadelphia Phillies 0-3

GROUP 22
1911 Pittsburgh Pirates 3-1 (Won tiebreaker)
1993 Chicago White Sox 2-2
2003 Chicago Cubs 1-2
1927 St. Louis Cardinals 1-2

GROUP 23
2004 St. Louis Cardinals 3-1 (Won tiebreaker)
1920 New York Giants 2-2
1962 Los Angeles Angels 1-2
1995 Colorado Rockies 1-2

GROUP 24
1998 San Diego Padres 3-0
1964 Philadelphia Phillies 2-1
1920 New York Yankees 1-2
1982 Atlanta Braves 0-3

GROUP 25
1997 Baltimore Orioles 3-1 (Won tiebreaker)
1976 Kansas City Royals 2-2
1969 Detroit Tigers 1-2
1911 Chicago Cubs 1-2

KNOCKOUT STAGE

FIRST ROUND
1911 Philadelphia A’s def. 2001 Seattle Mariners
1985 St. Louis Cardinals def. 1959 Chicago White Sox
1969 New York Mets def. 2004 Boston Red Sox
1927 New York Yankees def. 1950 Boston Red Sox
1985 New York Yankees def. 2002 Anaheim Angels
1956 New York Yankees def. 1911 Pittsburgh Pirates
1934 New York Giants def. 1997 Baltimore Orioles
1984 Detroit Tigers def. 2004 St. Louis Cardinals
1986 New York Mets def. 1965 Los Angeles Dodgers
1999 Texas Rangers def. 1975 Cincinnati Reds
1934 St. Louis Cardinals def. 2000 New York Mets
1955 Brooklyn Dodgers def. 1954 New York Giants
1981 Oakland A’s def. 1986 Boston Red Sox
1941 New York Yankees def. 1997 Florida Marlins
1964 St. Louis Cardinals def. 1969 Baltimore Orioles
1998 San Diego Padres def. 1965 Minnesota Twins

SECOND ROUND
1911 Philadelphia A’s def. 1985 St. Louis Cardinals
1969 New York Mets def. 1927 New York Yankees
1956 New York Yankees def. 1985 New York Yankees
1984 Detroit Tigers def. 1934 New York Giants
1986 New York Mets def. 1999 Texas Rangers
1955 Brooklyn Dodgers def. 1934 St. Louis Cardinals
1981 Oakland A’s def. 1941 New York Yankees
1998 San Diego Padres def. 1964 St. Louis Cardinals

QUARTER-FINALS
1969 New York Mets def. 1911 Philadelphia A’s
1984 Detroit Tigers def. 1956 New York Yankees
1955 Brooklyn Dodgers def. 1986 New York Mets
1998 San Diego Padres def. 1981 Oakland A’s

SEMI-FINALS
1984 Detroit Tigers def. 1969 New York Mets
1955 Brooklyn Dodgers def. 1998 San Diego Padres

CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
1984 Detroit Tigers def. 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers
Alan Trammell - MVP

 

 

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.

 

 

THE FUTURE CAN’T COME SOON ENOUGH

Has Strat ever considered doing a projection disk for baseball?  They could capture the fantasy owner's market and people like me could play their favorite board game with the season at hand.

Kevin Hennessy, St. Paul, MN

            A fascinating idea, Kevin, and I think Strat-O-Matic could do this as well as anyone. When I was a kid I liked to sort players into their new teams. And Fantasy Leaguers surely would like to see how SOM projects the upcoming seasons for hundreds of players. I think the main obstacle is logistics. SOM’s small staff is on a very tight production schedule year-‘round to put out four board games and five computer games. After extending themselves for months to meet the demanding baseball deadline, there is precious little recovery time before football must be served. Presumably, the projection disk would not take nearly as much time as the just-completed season. That’s if SOM just sticks with the current fielding, running and some other “top-of-the-card” ratings, rather than trying to anticipate the swings in such subjective ratings. But even that could be too much, given that a projection disk would have to be out no later than March to interest Fantasy leaguers.

 

MYSTERIOUS STARS FALL TO EARTH

I was a suscriber to STRAT FAN which was a great magazine.  I haven’t played a lot of Strat, but after finding my STRAT FAN magazines, I went into the files and pulled out my 33 teams that Strat-O-Matic sold, and the STRAT FAN cards.  I have a deck of player cards that I can’t quite identify so I would appreciate your help.

 

 I have a set of National and American League All Stars (apparently) and the team names are National and American. National: Johnny Bench, Lou Brock, Mike Schmidt, Joe Morgan, Pete Rose, Ralph Kiner, Hack Wilson, Willie StargellEnos Slaughter, Willie McCovey, Bob Gibson and Tom Seaver.  American: Nolan Ryan, Jim Palmer, Harmon Killebrew, Reggie Jackson, Rod Carew and Carl Yastrzewski.

 

Then I have a set that are basically the same players with their best records.

 

Mike Mills

 

            The set of 18 player cards (you list them all) was in the quickly sold-out October 1992 issue of STRAT FAN. It contained best-season and career cards for Hall-of-Fame players not in Strat-O-Matic’s then-existing Hall of Fame sets. The career cards were created by SOM for a newspaper’s fantasy project. STRAT FAN then dug out the best-season cards for each of those players.

 

 

OH, THAT TODD JONES

How does Strat-O-Matic handle a paradox like Todd Jones, closer for the Detroit Tigers?  On the one hand, he should be a reliable closer – as of this moment he has converted 35 of 39 save opportunities.  On the other hand, he has an ERA of 4.47 which sounds quite mediocre. 

So what kind of pitcher will he be in Strat-O-Matic a year from now?  Will he be a reliable closer (reflecting his save percentage) or will he be a struggling pitcher (reflecting his ERA)?  Will Strat’s closer rating be enough to give an accurate replay of Todd Jones?

Rooting for all the Tigers,

Bob Riggs, Sunbury, Ohio

            Relief pitchers, many of whom are carded with 60 or fewer innings pitched (Jones has 54 at this writing in mid-September) have the most volatile statistics because the statistical base is so small. It gets crazier when a pitcher like Jones plays an important role on a successful team while having roller-coaster success himself: the bad outings can be bad enough to distort his whole card into something unreliable for the role he played on the team.

Let’s look deeper: Realistically, Jones can’t be a dominant closer because he hasn’t been. Despite having the AL’s best record, the Tigers are only 22-19 in one-run games. Jones has lost six of them. Those 35 saves are partly a function of how easy it is to get most saves – pitching one inning and protecting a three-run lead will do it.  The Bill James Handbook breaks down saves as “easy,” “regular” and “tough.” Easy Saves are those where the closer pitches an inning or less and enters with game without having to face the potential tying run. Regular Saves are those where the pitcher enters to face the potential tying run. And Tough Saves involve a closer who enters with the potential tying run already on base.

In 2005, when Jones saved 40 games with a sparkling 2.10 ERA, he led the majors in Tough Saves – he had all of 6 (only 5 of Mariano Rivera’s 43 saves were “tough” and only 4 of Billy Wagner’s 38). Jones had 22 “easy” saves and 12 “regular” saves.

Now, on the optimistic side: His save total should qualify Jones for a 6 closer rating. He has walked only 6 men unintentionally. Expect no walks on his card. Jones’ next card will yield a lot of hits, but he can keep most of those runners from getting very far. While he has given up 62 hits in 54 innings, not a single runner has attempted to steal, which should translate into a nice hold rating. He has a high groundball/flyball ratio, which could translate into a high number of gbA chances.

So, Tigers fans, make sure to bring in Jones to start the inning, rather than risking him allowing inherited runners to score on the hits he will allow. In stock-team play, he just may get his saves.

 

BETTER NEGRO LEAGUES STATS?

Recently the National Baseball Hall of Fame inducted 17 members of the Negro Leagues. In the process of determining the qualifications of these players a group, did copious research on the statistics of the players. The work by this group is the most extensive statistics work to date and is as accurate as it can get given the data available. SOM might find it useful to check with the NBHOF to see if they would share this information.

Mike Martin

            I spoke with Hall of Fame Head Librarian Jim Gates, who has been deeply involved with the work of the Negro Leagues Research and Authors Group, which worked for five years to improve the quantity and quality of data.

 

            Alas, after the most thorough search ever for elusive Negro Leagues stats, familiar gaps in the data still exist.

 

            From Gates:

 

The research team concerned itself only with sanctioned Negro League games, not exhibitions or unscheduled games. Using mostly box scores published in 128 newspapers (both the “white” and “black” press), the researchers found data on 3,000 players.

 

The data is 1920-54, with anything after 1947 being weak. Apparently, after Jackie Robinson crossed the color line in Major League Baseball, interest in the Negro Leagues as a separate entity declined sharply.

 

The 1920s data will be best. But the researchers faced the familiar obstacles: No standard reporting systems, no consistency from newspaper to newspaper or from town to town. For instance, some box scores show who pitched, but not how much or how they did. Some boxes show no first names where duplicates (e.g. Johnson) are possible. Some boxes were not published at all. And the research conceded the scant hope for good data on pre-1920 games (which involved all or part of the careers of such Negro Leagues greats as Oscar Charleston, Rube Foster, Pete Hill, Pop Lloyd, Louis Santop, Ben Taylor and Cristobal Torriente).

 

“Expect lots of caveats with any published info,” Gates said. And expect a lives-long effort to supplement and correct the data now in hand. Hopefully, Gates added, a printed encyclopedia of Negro League stats will be published in 2007. All box scores may be published. Sales of the encyclopedia will help offset the costs of the research.

 

“Ultimately, the data will be available to all in some fashion,” Gates added. That likely would be online, though that has not yet been arranged.  

 

CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN

I've noticed that with the pre-1960 football cards [board game only] there are only six teams per season.  Have you ever considered producing all 12 teams? Since it costs just $18.75 for six teams, I wouldn't think it would cost all that much more to produce the other six teams to have the complete seasons.

Terry Ahner

            Your suggestion has been sent to Strat-O-Matic. It’s really a matter of pricing. Would $30-32 for a 12-team set sell nearly as well if it was the only option? Would an add-on product of 6-6 and sub-.500 teams get many takers at all? Is it worth the risk to find out? I don’t know. I faced a similar dilemma at STRAT FAN when considering the 12-team NHL from 1967-68. I feared that a $35 set – much higher than any card set we sold – would be too much to expect. For us, two of the three pre-expansion, complete-league six-team sets at $20 were not an easy sell. Fear won – we never produced ’67-68. Now that SOM has done so, I have supplemented the game company’s six teams by using its print disk to print the other six teams on card stock.

 

 

ANOTHER TAKE ON ‘70s BASEBALL

 

As a veteran card and dice player (1966 season was my first), I'd like to give my thoughts on past-season reprints. Regarding the early 1970s, Strat-O-Matic is assuming that the super-advanced features are the only attraction to those seasons.  For me there’s more to it than that: extra players.  I own the original 1973 set with most of the extra players, but there aren't enough to keep me interested in a replay.  Joe Pepitone, Jim Fregosi with the Mets, and Pat Dobson of the Braves are some key uncarded players who would probably be added to a reprint set. That plus the super-advanced rules would make the card set seem brand new.

 

I would like to have the 1951 season as well as 1931.  I'm suprised there isn't more interest in the latter as it would give the 1927 Yankees a worthy opponent.  IMO the ‘31 A's were the best of the three from 1929 to 1931 even though they were the only non-World Series winner.  However, I think the 1971 set will be a big seller and I hope it will convince STRAT to lean to more early ‘70s sets in the future.

 

                                                Sam Gizzi, St. Petersburg, FL                

 

            Excellent points, Sam. Yes, those 24-man teams often excluded some hitters with more than 100 at bats and pitchers who combined to start 10-20 games that would be missed in a replay. The buying audience also includes those of us who will buy anything SOM produces. We’re collectors, or people who have to have the latest and best in the hobby we love. I agree that 1971 gives SOM its best shot at high sales for a ‘70s update-set – and those sales probably will govern how quickly SOM returns to the ‘70s for more.

 

            For me, 1951 is a must, because it is a historic season. The Giants-Dodgers playoff is one of the huge moments in baseball history. And it’s the rookie season for Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle. Outside of New York, the season may not have been luminous, but that season gave birth to the “Willie, Mickey and the Duke” debates and ratcheted the Subway-series rivalries up many notches. From 1951 through 1956 the Dodgers or Giants were always in the World Series and five times they played the Yankees.

 

            The ’31 A’s remain a favorite of many gamers who play the basic-only Great Teams.

 

 

GET THE MONEY UP FRONT

 

There are occasional polls done to ask which “old” season gamers would like to see released next. This leads to the inevitable requests for seasons that aren't listed in the poll. Or people ask for a certain season and the argument that SOM couldn't make any money on it surfaces. Why doesn't SOM try something that is prevalent in the war-game simulation field and offer a pre-ordering system? This makes the customer put his money where his mouth is. Let's say that SOM offers to upgrade/reprint the 1972, 1977 and 1979 seasons. The company lets us know a minimum amount of orders required before they will commit to the project. Once SOM reaches the “magic” number the cards are printed. I'd appreciate any comments or thoughts on the subject.

Ed, South Bend, IN

 

            Revealing the “magic” number might communicate more about SOM’s sales to its competitors than it would like, but this might work without that disclosure and if the number had to be reached within a specific time frame (people writing checks would want to have a deadline, too). I suspect that a question asking gamers to name their seasons would divide the pie too many ways, and result in no seasons getting enough support. But if SOM announced its next historic season and also pledged to do Season X after that if enough gamers replied with their commitments by Date Certain, that would be an interesting experiment.

 

            Trouble is, SOM has staff and time enough to produce only one season per year. Since SOM is already committed to doing so, ultimately we’re really deciding preferences, not a schedule to create additional seasons.

 

 

UPDATING GREAT TEAMS

 

Is Strat open to reprinting the 36-teams-of-the-past-set in the present day form? I realize there are teams from this set that have been redone from their past seasons.  However, it would be great to have the ‘62, ‘68, ‘69, ‘70, ‘72, ‘73, ‘74, ‘76 teams to conform with the present day. 

 

Phil S, Passaic

 

            I’d rate this one a long shot. The process of updating Advanced teams to Super Advanced teams is not as demanding as creating a season from scratch, but it’s much more than a tweak here and there. This would ask SOM to re-research at least eight seasons in order to produce about a dozen teams. That’s not very efficient.

 

 

BUNTING FOR A BASE HIT

 

Any suggestions on how to handle batters attempting to bunt for a base-hit in the basic C&D game? 

Bob, New Jersey

            First, remember that a player card already has its bunt singles built in. If you use your imagination, you can credit some SINGLE* results as bunt singles. But as a strategy option, we have to innovate.

            Simplest: Use the basic Squeeze Play chart. That would yield a .176 batting average. For worse bunters, we could use the Sacrifice chart, for a .083 average. If we use the player’s bunting rating on the Advanced side of his card, and also use the Advanced Squeeze Play, an A bunter would hit .205 on bunts.

            If we want higher averages, innovate further and change some “outcomes” on these charts to hits. But in any event, if the defense pulls the infield in, I’d sharply reduce  the chance for a hit.

 

STARTING PITCHERS AS RELIEVERS

 

I’m playing Strat in a league and we use the super-advanced rules.  I want to know what is the rule about starting pitcher use in relief if they don't have a relief rating?  Are they relief(1)?

 

Martin L. Quebec, Canada

            Pitchers rated only as starters may be used only as starters, according to SOM rule 10.2. However, the computer game will allow you to put that pitcher in to relieve without immediate fatigue (assuming he was rested at the start of the game). And many leagues adopt a playoff rule, allowing an unused starter to relieve. I have seen these leagues give these starters a relief(3) rating, because these pitchers are suited to long relief. And once, all of the starter-relievers in SOM had at least a (3) rating for relief. In leagues that anticipate such starters to be used as closers, a (1) could be appropriate.

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.

 

 

 

 

A suggestion for the Strat-O-Matic computer version:

 

How about a timer mechanism on the prompter for decisions made while a ball is in play? Nothing worse – or less realistic – than a Strat player who ponders 10 minutes when deciding whether to send a runner home from first on a double, throw home on a fielder’s choice, or other such decisions that must be made instantly in a real game. A toggle switch could allow players who don’t like the timer to simply turn it off, and those who want the timer could adjust the number of seconds to make these decisions. If the Strat player doesn’t click something within X number of seconds, Super Hal intelligence takes over and the decision is made for him. Just as a baserunner rounding third makes his own decision if the 3rd base coach is indecisive, a timer would unquestionably enhance realism.

 

Chase Goodbread, Jacksonville, FL

 

            I like this! Not only does it solve a problem, it adds excitement and a dynamic new feature. While some gamers play too fast (I’ve been accused of that), slow play is the more common complaint. I’m sure that the day will arrive when, at the tender moment of decision, my daughter will ask for help with her homework while the timer is ticking. But otherwise, this could end frustration and hard feelings for some gamers.  

 

Board gamers who like to do math in the middle of innings need a timer (the default would be no advance unless the decision is made on time) even more than computer gamers. Nothing worse than the gamer who decides to calculate the chances of three pinch-hitters getting an RBI-hit before deciding to send the runner around third. 

 

Remembering Super-Fanatical Footall

 

I always enjoyed the super-fanatical version of Strat football.  I know it isn't sold anymore, but were there ever any fan innovations that made it better or easier to play?

Bob in Ohio

 

            In the 1990s, STRAT FAN published a few gamer suggestions, mostly ways to organize the play-calling sequences and to recognize the ratings adjustments that certain formations and play calls dictated. Initially, Strat-O-Matic was excited about the visual appeal the super-fanatical format offered, but it added so many decisions on each play that it destroyed the football game’s play value, adding an hour or more to most gamers’ experience. 

 

 

Scoring Issues in Sabres Replay

 

I have been playing SOM board games for years including the hockey game.  This year, scoring was way down, whether I played the advanced hockey game or the basic game.  I even tweaked the rules a little bit to increase the number of power plays. 

 

I replayed the Buffalo Sabres entire season and the goals against averages for the Buffalo goalies were both more than a goal a game lower than the actuals (1.58 for Biron, 1.70 for Miller).  They recorded 16 shutouts compared to 2 in real life. The offensive numbers were way down as well.  A good deal of this can be attributed to the lower number of power plays, but not completely.  Some examples:

 

Thomas Vanek 13 goals, 2 pp vs 25-11 actual

Taylor Pyatt 2 goals vs 6 actual

Derek Roy 8 goals, 1 pp vs 18-5 actual

Jason Pominville, 7 goals, 2 pp vs 18-10 actual

JP Dumont, 11 goals, 4 pp vs 20-9 actual

Chris Drury 20 goals, 11 pp vs 30-16 actual

 

Does anyone else see the same type of results?  I recently played half a season of the 1974-75 Sabres and had much more realistic results.  Comparing the skaters’ cards from that set to similar players in 05-06, the 1974-75 players had more scoring chances.  The goalies were not much different in both sets.

 

In one of your columns, I read about someone referring to a 35-card action deck.  I e-mailed SOM asking about this and they said the action deck is still 30 cards.  Was this a computer game modification?  I seem to see posts referring to this in some SOM forums.

 

Jerry Magoffin, Amherst, NY

 (home of Scotty Bowman, Harry Neale, Darryl Sittler, Marcel Dionne

and countless number of retired NHL players and coaches)

 

           

Foremost, a single replay doesn’t tell us enough about accuracy. There are too many variables – player usage, coaching decisions and the biggest one of all, random variation. The smaller the sample, the greater the variation. We need many more rolls than a single team generates to even out the dice probabilities. League-wide stats would be the best indicator and individual stats the least reliable. For instance, the Sabre forwards named above averaged 11 to 18 minutes per game each. Pyatt played only 41 games; Dumont and Pominville fewer than 60. Most of the target numbers (goals) you cite are 6-20. Fluctations for such players can be very high.

 

The board hockey game is more vulnerable to fluctuation (and lower specialty-team scoring) than the computer game. The 35-card deck is a computer feature. It creates a more realistic number of power plays and short-handed scoring opportunities. But those five extra cards are not actual cards from the printed deck, so board gamers cannot simply duplicate a few of their Action Deck cards and get the same results.

 

Complicating matters more, new NHL rules for the 2005-06 season created more power plays. Power play goals and shorthanded goals were up significantly. When the computer game is tested each year, many, many full-season replays are conducted to check whether the stats are in line, but the computer Action Deck means those tests don’t translate precisely to the board game.

 

 

SOM (not us) Should Do the Printing

 

     It’s too bad Strat-O-Matic doesn’t print complete card sets from past seasons. Rather than having to buy card stock and ink for the printer (sometimes two or three times to do a set), this gamer would rather pay more and get a complete card set (all teams and top 3 or 4 extras). Paying $40 to get a complete 1969-70 NHL set, or 1967 NFL season, for example, should be an option. Allow us a month to get our orders in, then at the end of 30 days, if Strat-O-Matic gets 100 orders for 1967 NFL, then print 100 sets of cards. After 30 days, gamers could purchase the top six teams for a reduced price if that’s what they wish to do. I’m not a business man, but unless the printing costs would be too high, I think Strat-O-Matic should do it. The Strat-O-Matic cards are a lot nicer than our “home-made” printouts.

 

Dave K, Blairstown, NJ

 

            If a business can charge whatever it needs to recover costs, theoretically it can profit from any print order. Realistically, a company wants to print as many as it can sell, because it’s much less costly to print the full volume once than to print a little bit at a time. If “as many as it can sell” is a small number, costs are high, the price goes higher and the sales go lower yet. Your generous spirit (in effect, you would underwrite the costs for future customers) is a bit like the “early adopter” customers in the electronics world. Those who have to have it first pay much more. Later, as a mass market is established, the price comes down. But unlike electronics technology, printing costs do not come down as years go by. And the market for a single past season of Strat-O-Matic cards is nothing like the size of, say, for a new digital camera with unique bells and whistles.

 

 

We (not Strat) Could Do the Printing

 

Since the most common Talk Show discussion is on past season reprints – here’s one more suggestion.  Since we live in a digital age that brings down the cost of distributing information, including printing:

n     

Offer a special card printing program ($20)

n     

Sell blank, perforated card stock ($??)

n     

Each time a customer buys a past season on disk, it comes with one authorization number for use with the card printing program, to allow printing one set of the cards (preventing the customer from printing multiple copies to sell/give away).

n     

Customer buys a color laser printer ($200)

n     

Customer prints the card set years they want.

 

Then, SOM doesn't need to worry about the “too expensive, we’ll lose money” argument.

 

Matt Norris, Overland Park, KS

 

            You have an entrepreneurial mind, Matt. This fascinating idea offers new revenue for SOM and solutions for gamers. We are definitely talking about small sales per season (fringe-demand seasons, extra costs for card stock and ink). But to some extent all the forthcoming past seasons will be fringe-demand seasons – for no other reason that the highest-demand seasons have already been re-created.

 

 

Wishing for More of the All-Time Greats

 

I’d like to see Strat fill in some of the gaps that currently exist between re-created seasons so that we'll have the chance to play with players who are either not available in any card set or who are under-represented.  Two of the largest such gaps are 1912-19 and 1921-26.  Players such as Cobb, Hornsby, Wagner, and Walter Johnson had a lot of great seasons that are not available in card sets.  Hornsby led the National League in slugging 9 times from 1917 to 1929 but only one of those seasons has been recreated by Strat.  Cobb led the AL in batting 12 times from 1907 to 1919, but only one of those seasons have been recreated.  Likewise, only 1 of Walter Johnson’s 12 seasons in which he led the AL in K’s has been recreated, and none of Grover Alexander’s 3 consecutive 30 win seasons has been released.  

 

Of course, in addition to great individual seasons, it's good to have competitive pennant races too, since they are more fun to replay than seasons dominated by one team.  So the seasons I'd like to see Strat consider are 1916 (Boston, led by Ruth's pitching, narrowly beat out Chicago and Detroit, while Brooklyn faced strong competition from the Phillies, Braves, and Giants) and 1924 (Washington narrowly beats out the Yankees and Tigers, while the Giants were pursued to the wire by the Dodgers and Pirates).  

 

Bill Bell, North Bend, OR

 

            I think SOM has chosen well with 1920 and 1911 to get most of these great players in their primes, but another few seasons would offer a more vivid picture of this era. When SOM first announced its “Chevy” disks for the computer, 1916 was one of the first releases, for the reasons you state. Many of us would love to have a Ruth pitching card. The 1924 season is historic: The Senators’ only World Series victory and Hornsby’s record .424. The 1908 season, with two great pennant races, is a perennial favorite of Dead Ball-era fans, too.

 

Venturing Into the Computer Realm

 

I have played the baseball board game (Super Advanced rules) for several years and am interested in getting into the computer game. I am interested in creating a big tournament between teams from various eras and want to play it in Super Advanced format and be able to see all the cards as I play. Here are a few questions in relation to the computer game.

1) For the computer game baseball seasons, it seems like there are three general categories of years. a) Computer generated seasons without the full Strat research (e.g., 1897, 1908, 1914, 1935);  b) Seasons where the card version have never been done in Super Advanced (e.g., 1930, 1961, 1973, 1984);  c) Seasons where the card version has been done in Super Advanced, including recent re-created seasons (e.g., 1911,
1948, 1957, 1985-present). Is this a generally correct summary?

Are all these seasons in Super Advanced format for the computer? That is, if I purchase 1908, 1973, and 2003 and play teams from these years against each other, will it all be in full Super Advanced format? Is 1973 updated into Super Advanced format for the computer, even though it was never in Super Advanced for the cards?

2) As I understand it, the Card-Image Option lets you see the complete actual card that you would normally see if you had it in hand. Lefty-righty splits, hit and run, ballpark effects, clutch hitting symbols, etc. would all be visible. Is this true?

Also, does the Card-Image work with all seasons? For example, if I purchase the computer game with the card image option and the 1908, 1973, and 2003 seasons, will I be able to view all of the individual cards from all of these years in Super Advanced format?

3) Is there a way to create a card in the computer game and then be able to play with it? For example, could I enter in all the information from a personalized card I have (including all Super Advanced info) and then put myself on a team?

4) Can you create teams with various players provided you have purchased all of the seasons? For example, could I create a team with the best Tigers from the ‘80s (pulling cards from different years), provided that I had all of those seasons?

5) What is the Play by Play Disk offered for each season? What does it allow you to do?

Thanks for leading this forum. Strat-O-Matic has provided many hours of great fun. My wife also recently gave your book to me for my birthday and I truly enjoyed it. Thanks!


Dan Simpson,
Grand Rapids, MI

 

            Welcome to the computer game, Dan. Good news – you can use the computer game to fulfill your dream tournament. Specific answers:

 

1.     

Yes, your general summary is correct. Yes, the computer game updates all seasons into Super Advanced format and presents them that way. However, for seasons where SOM has not done this for the card sets, there are some generic ratings – all pitchers have the same wild pitch and balk ratings, for instance. Advanced format-only players like 1961 have no ballpark effects, but their cards play fine with and against players from other seasons with ballpark symbols.

2.     

Yes, the Card Image option works with all seasons – even the ones where there were no printed cards. And yes, it displays all the card readings you mention. Note that some of the symbols are different on the computer screen than on the cards, but it’s a simple adjustment to get used to.

3.     

Yes, you can create players in the computer game.

4.     

Yes, it’s a simple matter to create a new league with the teams you want and to draft players from existing seasons onto your new teams.

5.     

The add-on Play-by-Play disks have team-specific and season-specific play-by-plays, enriching that experience significantly. The play-by-play files on these disks, and the ones that come with the computer game may be edited by you, as well.

 

P.S. Glad you liked the Strat-O-Matic Fanatics book. If it was a good gift, maybe you can think of someone else who would enjoy it!

 

 

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.

 

 

 

Football Zoo: Tigers, Gators, Steers and Ducks

 

I am wondering is there any plan to recreate past seasons for the college football game. I as an Oregon Ducks fan would love to see the 2001 season come out for the game. But it would be cool to have seasons from the past. I have played Strat-O games since the early ‘70s.

Jack Bogan, Vancouver, WA

 

            No word, but unless there is a sudden downpour of old seasons, I think we could wait quite a while for 2001. If Strat-O-Matic ventures into NCAA past seasons, I would expect either of two developments: Either work backward, beginning with 2003, or go further back for some nostalgic history.

 

            In order to consider doing older seasons, Strat-O-Matic Director of Development Bob Winberry said, the company would need adequate statistics and, perhaps, a team of volunteers to locate and enter that data. Unlike recent seasons, whose stats reside in one place, data for most of the older teams would have to be collected school-by-school.

 

In addition to chronology, the 2003 season offers the “what-if” attraction of its controversial season with split national champions. LSU won the official championship with its victory over Oklahoma in the BCS title game, while USC won the writers’ poll. That was some of the fuel for the fire of criticism against the BCS system, since Oklahoma was the second team to reach the title game without even winning its own conference.

 

            Two older seasons offer similar “what-if” glamour: 1966 and 1969.

 

            In 1966, we had the famous Notre Dame-Michigan State 10-10 tie in a battle of unbeaten No. 1 vs. No. 2, but that overlooked Bear Bryant’s undefeated, untied Alabama team. How interesting is this? – Alabama finished No. 1 in the 1965 AP poll and is the pre-season No. 1 for 1966, goes undefeated and untied, and finishes No. 3 behind Notre Dame (No. 6 in the pre-season poll) and Michigan State (No. 2 in 1965 and in the ’66 pre-season poll). And this – neither Notre Dame nor Michigan State played in a bowl game after the ’66 season. Notre Dame’s school policy at the time forbid bowl games. And the Big Ten barred Michigan State from the Rose Bowl under its no-repeat rule.

 

A host of other interesting teams from that season would make a fine NCAA playoff pool. Among others: Florida, led by Heisman-Trophy-winning QB Steve Spurrier and replenished by a new invention, Gatorade; UCLA with RB Mel Farr; Rose Bowl winner Purdue with QB Bob Griese; SMU, which won its first Southwest Conference championship since 1948 thanks to coach Hayden Fry and big-play WR Jerry Levias, the first black starter at the school.

 

            In 1969, Texas beat Arkansas, 15-14 in the next “Game of the Century.” President Nixon attended the battle of unbeaten teams in their season finale and afterwards pronounced Texas the national champion. That triggered a howl from Joe Paterno’s second consecutive unbeaten Penn State team.

 

            That’s just the half of it, albeit the top half. Also in 1969, the No. 1 team most of the season was Ohio State, the defending national champs who ran their win streak to 22 – until a Nov. 24 loss at No. 12 Michigan. That sent Texas and its explosive wishbone offense to No. 1 and Arkansas to No. 2. Independent Penn State had to choose its bowl commitment before the Ohio State-Michigan game changed the order of things. A team with black players, Penn State shunned the Cotton Bowl in Dallas in favor of the Orange Bowl in Miami. Surprise – Texas, not Ohio State, was No. 1 at bowl time. The Longhorns secured their national championship with a Cotton Bowl victory over Notre Dame, which had just that season renounced its self-imposed ban on bowl games. Meanwhile, Ohio State was ineligible for a bowl under the Big Ten’s no-repeat rule. USC beat Michigan in the Rose Bowl to finish 10-0-1 and No. 3. What a playoff this would make with Strat-O-Matic: Texas, Penn State, USC, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Arkansas, Michigan and a team like Missouri, 9-1 until its 7-point loss to Penn State in the Orange Bowl. Or No. 7 Mississippi, quarterbacked by Archie Manning.

 

 

Looking Forward to Vista

 

Will Strat-O-Matic support the new Vista operating system when Microsoft releases it next year?

 

Winberry replies:  “Early testing of the Vista Operating System has not been promising.  Since we need to support Vista as soon as possible, we are working on porting the baseball game to a new platform that supports Vista.  That is a massive effort since the game has literally hundreds of dialogs in it.  Because of this, there will likely be very little else done to the baseball game other than to support Vista and (if time permits) a few additional features.

 

“The plus side is that we expect to have a new and much-improved

user interface.  And this also puts us in better position for future

improvements. 

 

“Of course, we cannot support Vista for any games until the next released

version of each game.  The other games might need to be ported as well --

but the timetable for Vista support for our other games has not been determined yet.  If they all need to be ported it is unlikely that we could accomplish that in just one year – so we would have to make a decision as to which games would not be able to support Vista the first year.”

 

Baseball Strategy

 

Has Strat ever thought about implementing the bullpen-warmup rule as an option in the computer game? Also, has anyone else ever asked about the computer game having the l/r stats for the batter and pitcher available during game play?

Will Oast

 

            The bullpen-warmup rule was short-lived in the board game and I have not heard much call for it since, though I know a few board gamers who still like to use it as something that enhances strategy. I think too many gamers found this too demanding – they would forget to warm up their reliever too often, or fail to see far enough ahead to the possibility that a certain pitcher would be needed suddenly. That’s an aspect of real managing that we gamers should respect.

 

            The lefty-righty stats on screen have been mentioned, but not often. Strat-O-Matic has made its game engine transparent in most respects, but still wants its game to reflect a bit of the uncertainty that comes with managing a game. The BALance ratings give us the general idea of who is best equipped for certain roles.

 

 

 

Wilt, the Big O and More

 

Will Strat ever release a ‘60s basketball season, so that gamers will have an opportunity to see Chamberlain, Baylor, Russell, Robertson, West and other greats of that era in their primes?  I know that certain stats were not kept during those years, but I believe I speak for many gamers in saying that we would gladly accept some estimates and perhaps less than the normal Strat detailed analysis in some statistical areas for the chance to play the great players and teams of the ‘60s.

 

Rob, Atlanta, GA

 

Do you think SOM will ever reproduce 70's NBA teams updated to play against current card sets? Many people on the Strat-Fan-Forum are interested in such a product. Perhaps a best of the 70's? 

Bob, Barrington NJ

 

No question, the absence of those players from their 1960s primes is a gap in Strat-O-Matic’s hoops history. We can hope. Once the ‘60s Hall of Famers were missing from hockey, too. That obstacle was overcome by gamer Tim Comely’s research, STRAT FAN’s enterprise and, eventually, by Strat-O-Matic’s deep involvement with NHL past seasons. Hockey has several advantages over basketball in this area: The necessary stats could be re-created after the fact, the card-making program is much simpler and SOM’s customer base for hockey is larger than it is for basketball.

 

I have written here before about how attractive it would be to see the 1961-62 NBA season, with all the stars you mention (plus Bob Cousy, Bob Pettit, Hal Greer, Guy Rodgers and more) and Chamberlain’s 100-point game (and 50-point scoring average). The high-volume, low-percentage shooting that resulted in high scores would be an interesting history lesson, as well – and an interesting alternative to today’s NBA style.

 

Historic cards are a long shot. Historic teams in all sports sell less than current teams. SOM basketball card sales aren’t as strong as SOM would like even for current teams. I think we’re looking at computer-only for thirty-year-old NBA teams. 

 

 

Getting Personal

 

I have a lot of Strat-O-Matic Personalized baseball cards, but I was wondering: Do you think Strat-O-Matic will be making personalized cards for basketball, football and hockey soon?

Fred Benson, Canonsburg, PA

 

            I doubt it. It’s a fringe item even for baseball, SOM’s most popular sport by far. And the computer programs that translate data into cards are more complex for football and basketball.

 

 

Basketball: Tracking Rest Minutes

 

I have had a question about the basketball game for some time now, but I’ve hesitated to ask because it seems like such a stupid question.  What is the recommended way to gauge player rest in the board game when playing solitaire?  I know the rules mention that you can substitute playes at any stoppage of play (after a foul, turnover, etc.).  But let’s say at the start of the second quarter I have Dwyane Wade in the basketball game and Jason Williams resting.  Maybe 15 cards into the quarter, Wade picks up his 3rd foul and I want to take him out, so I bring in Jason Williams and he plays the rest of the quarter until the “6 minute” marker comes up.  Does Jason Williams get credit for any rest at all or is he treated as if had played the entire 6 minute interval?  What about Dwyane Wade?  Does he get credit for any rest?  I normally prefer to use the “2-minute intervals” super advanced option when playing with other people, but that is a real hassle when trying to play solitaire.  Any advice?

 

Scott Dicken, Fort Lauderdale, FL

 

            No question is stupid if it helps you understand something. When playing solitaire, my general advice is: Make it easy on yourself. Do what makes you comfortable, foremost for ease of play and secondarily for the level of statistical accuracy you demand.

 

            Players would get credit for time played (and time rested) for the appropriate portion of any six-minute period (or any two-minute period, etc.). If Williams replaces Wade three minutes into a six-minute segment, they each get three minutes played and three minutes rested.

 

            Keeping track of playing time solo for up to 24 different players in a game can be annoying, too. So if I am going to play a lot of games, I set up a playing-time grid for each team, identifying the players to be used for each 6-minute interval. In that grid, a 36-minute player might rest 6 minutes at the start of the second quarter and 6 minutes in the last half of the third quarter. For players whose PT isn’t neatly divisible by 6 (24 minutes, 30 minutes, 36 minutes), either round to the nearest six or subdivide the 6-minute intervals into 4 and 2 or 2, 2 and 2. Doing this for all the teams and each of their primary players “automates” the individual playing time for me. Then, I really only have to track deviations – players removed for foul trouble, injury, gross ineffectiveness or blowouts. Knowing that all those things can happen, I might schedule an extra couple of minutes per game for the starters. Just remember to yank these guys in blowouts if you don’t want their stats to be inflated. I don’t add the minutes to the backups, because they are less likely to get into foul trouble and are the guys who get to play more in the blowouts.

 

 

 

Hockey: 4-on-4

 

I’ve always wondered about playing the 4-on-4 overtime in the basic version of Strat-O-Matic Hockey. I know the center position should remain open like it is when a team is shorthanded, but aside from this, what adjustments, if any, should be made to the play results?

David Solomon, East Brunswick, NJ

 

No official rule changes to separate this OT situation from the way you would play 4-on-4 for coincidental penalties. But anticipate that most teams will play a center at one of the forward positions during the five-minute overtime.

 

 

           

 

 

I have been an avid hockey gamer since 1981. This is my first stab at the computer version and I am really thrilled with it. I am currently replaying the 2005-06 season and have had pretty realistic stats so far. Some changes I would like to see:

 

-- The PK ratings. If a player is a 3 def and 4 PK 3(4), he should have all 12-14 D as take away puck. Or 4(3) should be D14 outside shot for opponent. The way it is now the PK  D is based on even strength. This is really big for guys with 1(3) or 3(1), etc.

 

-- The power play. If a player didn’t score a PP goal during the year, he shouldn’t be able to in Strat. Somehow have only PP goals as + ratings, etc.

 

-- I also like to set it up to where a SH goal is only scored on a breakaway with skating ( ) rating. I set all skaters as icing only unless they have a breakaway number. They are set at skate once and clear only. This really cuts down on the SH goals. It’s too easy to score SH with skate twice or skate always. Still players now score SH if they didn’t score SH during the year. Kuba of Minnesota has 2 SH goals in my replay after 15 games and didn’t score any SH goals last year. Maybe something can be done there.

 

Randy, St.Louis

 

            The second two conditions are easily remedied by not using those players on special teams, or (as you are doing), limiting the way they are used in killing penalties. But to say that a 20-goal scorer could not score a power-play goal, or a short-handed goal just because that wasn’t his role one season seems an extreme an unnecessary solution.

 

            Some board gamers choose to play the shorthanded defensive columns the way you prefer it. But keep in mind that the ratings were made with the SOM rules in mind. If  the rule was the way you like it, the rating likely would not be the same.

 

 

How Many Words are These Pictures Worth?

 

I am a huge fan of SOM and have been playing their games since 1973, I am currently replaying the 1951 season for computer baseball (Ver. 11)...

 

Could give me some insight as to whether this is in the works or if its just a pipe dream? I love the statistical accuracy in all their games, but I would love to see the game engine resemble more of the arcade-game features i.e.. players running the bases and fielding the ball. There was a game about 20 years ago called MicroLeague baseball, which was also a statistical simulation game, however the players fielded and ran the bases (which included them sliding if the play warranted). It was very basic but it was fun watching the play develop and it gave a more realistic appearance. If SOM could come up with a version that resembled say EA Sports Baseball or ESPN 2K6 in appearance that showed the outcome of the dice roll and player cards, for instance if the outcome of the dice roll showed a flyout, instead of just showing the flight of the ball now you would see the players actually making the play in the field in 3D, or if the outcome were a single it would show the players attempting to field the ball in the hole and the batter running to first and making the turn.

 

Thanks for this forum. I love SOM, the best in Sports gaming.

Mike Novak, Hartford, CT

 

 

            Never say never when it comes to technology. And SOM very will likely update its baseball-game interface for Version 12 in 2007 to adapt to Microsoft’s forthcoming Vista operating system. However, in the larger picture, so to speak, this was addressed by SOM creator Hal Richman in my book, Strat-O-Matic Fanatics. Richman explained that there is no place in the market for a game sold on its graphic appeal unless it can rival Electronic Arts. And the much smaller SOM can’t compete financially with EA. So, as Richman explained, SOM has put its money and energy into the area where it can compete – with the best statistically driven, strategic, text game. I had MicroLeague in 1985 and found the superficial animation to be nothing more than a novelty that soon wore off while slowing my game play.  In all areas of business, I generally share Richman’s philosophy – if you can’t do it well enough to be best, or as good as the best, emphasize something else.

 

 

Stadium Shots

 

I was just wondering if there were plans for new ballpark pictures for the PC game. Arizona is a grainy, low quality ballpark pic. Also the pics you have of Safeco Field still have the Kingdome in the background! The Kingdome was imploded March 6, 2000. Some pics of Dodger Stadium still have Shawn Green in them.

Joe Mundy – Seattle

 

I expect that we will see stadium photo updates from time to time, but the timetable is fuzzy, too. SOM has a long wish list for improvements and is staring at a tough deadline to get the next baseball version compatible with Vista..

 

 

 

Solid Gold

 

I was wondering if you agreed with Albert Pujols’ Gold Glove at first base. Many feel he was the best defensive first baseman this past season. I thought so, too. I don’t see Jose Reyes everyday, as I am from Cincinnati, but is he as good defensively as he appeared this season?  When I saw him, he seemed pretty fine! Will Strato give Pujols a 1?  What about Reyes; chances for a 1?

 

 As you know, Gold Gloves don’t guarantee 1’s in the eyes of Strato. They can be stubborn about that.  Look at what they have done to Derek Jeter over the last few years.

 

            Thanks for your time. I have been playing Strato since 1980, when I was 16.

 

Darrell Sharp, Waynesville, Ohio 

 

            Both are excellent fielders. With incumbent Gold Glove winner Derrek Lee on the injured list much of 2006, Pujols stepped up as the best full-time first baseman in the National League. He is that rare superstar – a natural whose work ethic is second to none. That’s why he is constantly improving his game and has put up the best numbers for his first six seasons than anyone in the history of the game. I expect a 1 for him, but when a man wins in the void of an injured player, that leaves room for doubt.

 

            Reyes didn’t win the Gold, but repeat winner Adam Everett is a lock for a 1 at shortstop, so that opens the door for another 1 at the position in the National League. Reyes has a fine chance for that based on his skills and his breakout season as a vital part of the team with the best record in baseball this year.

 

            Jeter is another story – a unique story, really. He just won his third straight Gold Glove, while all the statistical analyses of the past few years show that he is among the least-adept full-time shortstops. Many believed that Jeter wasn’t even the best shortstop on his team in 2004 and 2005, but Alex Rodriguez’ error-prone season in 2006 might quiet some of that talk. Others have been denied 1s for two straight Gold Gloves (Ernie Banks, Gene Alley and Wade Boggs come to mind), but if Jeter is not a 1 for 2006, I believe he will be the first to be a 2 for three straight GG seasons.

           

T Time

 

One huge thing I would like to see in SOM Computer hoops would be to have

technical fouls assigned to individual players (or even coaches).  The risk of losing a star player would be far more realistic and it’s been missing from the game since its inception.

Brian McNeil

 

            With the new NBA rules allowing for quicker Ts and quicker ejections, the technical foul is more of a factor in the real game than ever. That would be an obvious upgrade. Ideas like this should be submitted directly to the game company. Bob Winberry maintains a wish list for all of SOM’s computer games. Your idea will compete with hundreds of others, but if Strat-O-Matic can add it among other popular priorities it will do so.0