Jeff Polman

THE REPLAY ZONE

By Jeff Polman

July ruminations from your trusty Strat-O-Matic replay addict. Check out all four of my season replay-inspired baseball novels on Amazon.

Where in the World is Strat played?

As I think I’ve mentioned, I’ve rolled Strat games in some memorable places. Like the front seat of a moving car on a Massachusetts highway while driving. And in a box seat at Dodger Stadium on Opening Day. But for sheer uniqueness, not much beats the tale Strat fan Andy Gilkeson recently posted on the Strat-O-Matic World Facebook page.

Andy, who is originally from Staten Island, NY and began playing the baseball game in 1992, had been driving upstate to the town of Narrowsburg with his wife for a couple of decades. Until last November, when something inspired him. Here’s Andy in his own words:

“[My wife] convinced me to visit nearby towns. I drove to Bethel, NY, which is 25 minutes away because I heard they have a Woodstock Museum. Most people don't know that the Woodstock Festival in the summer of 1969 was nowhere near Woodstock, NY. The Festival was named Woodstock early on before they were even sure where it would happen. We visited the museum and walked around the site. I was in awe comparing it to the pictures. There is a marker there which has picnic tables nearby. I told my wife that I wished I brought my Strat game along. I put it in my memory bank that maybe I could come back to play.

“I was born a few years after the Woodstock Festival, so didn't get a chance to see it. I listened to classic rock all the time and studied the Woodstock album and movie. I'm a huge fan of the Who and Jimi Hendrix.

“I'm also a Yankees fan and was born after 1969. I actually never opened my 1969 season card set before I had the idea to play at Woodstock. I decided to roll a game from the first day of the Festival - August 15, 1969. First, I looked up the Mets. They must have been rained out (which caused the mud at the Festival) because they played a doubleheader on Saturday, August 16th vs. the Padres. Tom Seaver took the mound in Game 1. There was a little interest there. Then I looked up the Yankees. They were in Chicago playing the White Sox with Fritz Peterson on the mound. Not too bad.

Then I thought about the Seattle Pilots. They only existed in 1969. They hosted the Orioles. Arguably the best team vs. one of the worst. That sounded fun. The Orioles did win the August 16th game in real life, though the score was only 2-1.

I sat down at the picnic table in the shade that overlooks the site. My wife sat across from me, knitting. People walked around the area, taking pictures and exchanging stories while I was in Seattle’s Sicks Stadium—in the world of Strat. Don Buford led off with a double, so I thought the game would be out of hand right away. The Orioles left him stranded. The Pilots loaded the bases in the bottom of the 1st, but couldn't get a run across. Elrod Hendricks singled in Davey Johnson in the 2nd for a 1-0 lead. In the bottom of the 3rd, Tommy Davis singled in a run to tie the game. Up next, Greg Goosen (who knocked in the only Pilots’ run in the real game) rolled a ballpark homer. On a 1-16, I rolled a 19. What should have been a big lead becomes a turning point.

Mike Cuellar would allow just one walk over the final 6 innings. With two on and two outs in the top of the 4th, Elrod Hendricks also rolled a ballpark homer. Once again, I rolled a 19. In the top of the 5th, the Orioles would send ten batters to the plate, with the biggest blow being a grand slam by Frank Robinson. The Orioles added a few more runs on sac flies by Hendricks and Robinson and a Davey Johnson triple to win going away 8-1. Other notables were Boog Powell (who got both RBI without a hit in the real game) hit three singles and scored two runs. Davey Johnson went 3-4 with a single, double, and triple.

Some other interesting places I have rolled are by the Delaware River (in Narrowsburg), in a campsite next to Gettysburg, PA, and on a cross-country flight (I rolled the dice in a clear box so they wouldn't go all over the place).”

Wonderful story, Andy. And it got me to thinking: What are the most memorable places you’ve all rolled Strat games?

NOTE: Sadly, this will be my final column for the Strat Web site. My schedule has gotten too bogged down with other writing projects (some not even about baseball!), but it’s certainly been a pleasure offering my monthly insights on this wonderful game to the Strat-O-Matic community these last seven years. Never stop rolling, people!!