Scroll down for a full Play-by-Play (including some pictures) of all of the speakers and events from our 50th Anniversary Celebration/Opening Day in New York City!
7:30am: The 50th Anniversary Celebration is officially underway as the doors have opened. The first person in line is Marty Bender from Queens, NY (one of the eight Ultimate Strat-O-Matic Fanatic Semi-Finalists). Marty has been here since 5:30am!
8:00am: What a turnout so far! The Strat-O team is doing it’s best to get everyone in as quickly as possible for the start of the day’s event. All of the guests are being ushered downstairs for coffee, donuts, and mingling with other Strat-O-Matic gamers.
8:20am: Guests are now allowed in the Main Hall. A photo montage of Strat-O-Matic throughout the years is being shown on a project screen. Pictures consist of: Strat-O-Matic employees, fans from previous Opening Days, Strat-O-Matic game boxes throughout the years, and all of the old/current Strat-O-Matic T-Shirts and clothing. Festive music playing in the background.
8:48am: Bill Daughtry of ESPN Radio, the emcee for the day, has stepped up to the podium. Bill is professing his passion for Strat-O-Matic. Described Strat-O as "a labor of love" and Hal’s work over the years as a perfect example of "pursuing your dreams."
8:52am: Bill Daughtry introduces Hal Richman, founder of Strat-O-Matic. Hal receives a standing ovation from everyone in the Main Hall.
8:54am: Hal thanks the Strat-O-Matic fans, employees and consultants. Introduces James Williams, Steve Barkan, Glenn Guzzo, Len Schwartz, Bob Winberry, Adam Richman, Sheila Richman and all of the other Strat-O employees and asks them to take a bow individually.
8:59am: Hal cites a statistic that 50% of executives in Major League Baseball have played Strat-O-Matic before.
9:01am: Hal is talking about the original Founder’s Baseball Game, with a photo of the Founder’s Game up on the projector screen.
9:04am: A photo of the Baseball Current Edition game box is now being displayed on the projector screen as Hal describes the evolution of the game.
9:05am: Hal has concluded his opening speech. Receives another standing ovation from the entire Main Hall.
9:06am: Bill Daughtry introduces the Strat-O-Matic Research Panel: Glenn Guzzo, Steve Barkan, James Williams and Len Schwartz, who all take a seat around one table on the stage. Hal Richman is sitting in the middle. (Pictured in photo from left to right: Bill Daughtry, Len Schwartz, James Williams, Hal Richman, Steve Barkan and Glenn Guzzo).
9:10am: Most difficult part about putting together each new season? James Williams: the accuracy of the statistics- every team, player, position, etc. Len Schwartz agrees, cites the fielding ratings as the most difficult to put together.
9:21am: Favorite Season/Card- Glenn Guzzo: 1969 Baseball Season/No Favorite Card, Steve Barkan: 1941 Baseball Season/signed Albert Pujols card from last year (Steve tells a great story of when Pujols signed his card for him last Spring Training… Pujols asked what his base stealing rating meant, so Steve told him it was good, Pujols asked what his fielding rating meant (1) and Steve told him it was very good, when Pujols saw all of the Homeruns in his 2 column against lefties, Pujols said "I know what that means!"), Hal Richman: 1920 season because it was the year "that saved baseball"/Babe Ruth, James Williams: No favorite card but favorite team is 1962 Dodgers, Len Schwartz: loved mid-eighties hockey set
9:28am: Bill Daughtry has opened the floor for questions from fans.
9:40am: Fan asks what older seasons Strat will be coming out with… Steve says 1958 will be the last season he does as a full-time Strat-O employee, but will continue to do as many seasons as possible from home in the future (receives nice applause).
9:42am: In response to question from fan about future of the games, Hal says the board games will likely remain the same but that the computer games are always evolving as technology becomes more advanced.
9:48am: 9 year old boy asks when the first Mark Messier card was made (Answer: 1979-1980). The boy gets a huge applause/laugh when he mentions how many of the different Strat-O-Matic games he has played and how he always beats his dad.
9:50am: First break of the day.
10:08am: Bill Daughtry introduces the Statistical Analysis Panel: John Dewan (Baseball Info Solutions/STATS Inc.) and Rick Peterson (Bloomberg Sports/Former MLB Pitching Coach). Panel to be moderated by Glenn Guzzo. (Pictured in photo from left to right: Bill Daughtry, Rick Peterson, Glenn Guzzo and John Dewan).
10:16am: Rick Peterson’s first remark… "For those of you who are true Mets fans– we are in this nice facility… let us pray." Huge laughter
10:18am: Peterson helped change Pedro Feliciano’s arm angle (used to be 3/4 delivery, now he throws sidearm). Lefties BAA dropped from over .320 to just .150 after making the change. Peterson made another Mets joke- said that Mets fans can now enjoy Feliciano in pinstripes (Pedro signed with the Yankees this past offseason).
10:20am Another Mets joke from Peterson: said he tried the same thing with Oliver Perez and it was like "trying to fly a kite with no string." More laughter
10:22am: Peterson: Most dominant pitchers in baseball are groundball/strikeout pitchers (cites Roy Halladay and Tim Lincecum as examples).
10:23am: The league batting average on batted balls in play is .220 … against Roy Halladay it is just .160
10:24am John Maine (who Peterson worked with while he served as the pitching coach of the New York Mets) held batters to a .160 batting average on pitches in the bottom of the strike zone. While working/doing drills with pitchers he would strongly emphasize the importance of keeping the ball down in the zone.
10:30am: Peterson: In the season John Maine won 15 games, he was much more effective on four days rest than five. During Pedro Martinez’s prime he was the same way
10:33am: Hitters: .339 batting average on a 0-0 count
10:35am: Stat: Pujols hits .480 on first pitch
10:36am: Peterson: Economics of the game play a factor into how often/how many innings a pitcher will throw. For example, Yankees just signed Rafael Soriano to a $35 million deal to be their 8th inning setup man… if you are going to pay him like that then you have to play him. Could cut into the number of innings the starters throw.
10:39am: Statistical Analysis Panel has concluded.
10:43am: Bill Daughtry introduces the Computer Panel: Bob Winberry, Len Schwartz and Gary Brook (Questsphere). (Pictured in photo from left to right: Bill Daughtry, Gary Brook, Len Schwartz and Bob Winberry).
10:50am: Bob gives a shout out to all of the testers, asks them to stand up in their seats.
10:54am: Strat-O-Matic to release a "Baseball Express" game. Targeted towards kids, simplified version of Strat-O-Matic Baseball. Portable (will come in a tin can) and low cost.
10:55am: Strat-O announces a digital printing initiative that will reinvigorate its whole library.
10:56am: Starting in May… will have fully downloadable computer games and rosters instead of CDs. Everything Strat-O has ever published will be available (baseball will happen sometime in 2011).
10:57am: Bob talks about Strat-O-Matic’s new "3-Minute Baseball" Facebook game. Brief video is shown on projector screen that shows the game. A simplified way to introduce people to the game. Will be launched on four other platforms (will be available on Strat-O-Matic website, iPhone, iPad and National Baseball Hall of Fame website)
11:08am: Gary does a walkthrough of how 3-Minute Baseball works (shown on projector screen). Gives detailed explanation of how game was put together.
11:21am: Computer Panel has concluded.
11:23am: Hal Richman is back on the stage. Introduces the 8 Ultimate Strat-O-Matic Fanatic Semi-Finalists… reads a statement about each individual, and each one of them comes up onto the stage to shake Hal’s hand. The semi-finalists are: Marty Bender, Brett Carow, Jim Colquhoun, Jeff Fleischman, Larry Fryer, Tom Nahigian, Larry Salay and Bob Zuhlke. All of them pose on stage for a group photo. The four finalists and Ultimate SOM Fanatic will be announced at approximately 1:15pm. (Pictured in photo from left to right: Bob Zuhlke, Larry Salay, Tom Nahigian, Larry Fryer, Hal Richman, Jeff Fleischman, Doug Glanville, Brett Carow, Marty Bender and Jim Colquhoun).
11:36am: Second break.
11:50am: Back from the break. Bill Daughtry introduces Doug Glanviile (former Philadelphia Phillies outfielder) as the next speaker.
11:53am: Doug loves sharing his passion for Strat-O-Matic with other people.
11:56am Doug shares a few humorous stories about his experiences playing Strat-O-Matic. One involves former Phillies teammate Gregg Jeffries, a converted outfielder who had a ‘5’ defensive rating. Doug used to make fun of him that Strat-O-Matic invented the ‘5’ rating just for Gregg Jeffries.
11:59am: Glanville: what’s so great about Strat-O-Matic is that it embodies baseball in a way that you can bring it to everyone, not just baseball players. Still plays Strat-O-Matic to this day (has been playing for over 30 years). Loves the "culture of the game."
12:03pm: Glanville: was excited when he first got called up to the Major Leagues, but it didn’t feel ‘official’ until he had his first Strat-O card made (laughter from audience).
12:06pm: Doug begins taking questions from the audience.
12:19pm: Two players during his day that were impossible to pitch to/have a real scouting report for: Barry Bonds and Vladimir Guerrero.
12:26pm: Glanville gets HUGE applause and standing ovation from entire audience. Great Q & A session– probably got the most laughs of any speaker today.
12:32pm: Final panel of the day coming up: Pros Panel: How Strat-O Has Influenced Your Career. Panelists: Hal Richman, Doug Glanville, John Dewan and Glenn Guzzo. Moderated by Bill Daughtry. Daughtry praises Strat-O-Matic and how much he has learned from it and how it has helped advance his career and enjoy his current lifestyle. (Pictured in photo from left to right: Bill Daughtry, John Dewan, Doug Glanville, Glenn Guzzo and Hal Richman).
12:33pm: Dewan: "Strat-O-Matic is the foundation of my career."
12:35pm: Glanville: Strat-O-Matic is like "a river of knowledge." Constantly studying ways to beat your opponent. As an ESPN analyst, he looks at games through that lens all the time. The game provides you with a new way of thinking. This way of thinking helped him immensely as a ballplayer too.
12:58pm: Question for panel: Best Strat-O-Matic Baseball team ever? Hal: 1927 Yankees, Dewan: 1975 Cincinnati Reds. Glanville: "Big Red Machine" Cincinnati Reds teams (his brother would always beat him with them), Guzzo: 1955 Brooklyn Dodgers. Daughtry: 1975 Reds followed by the 1969 Baltimore Orioles.
1:14pm: The panel has ended. And now for the moment everyone has been waiting for… the announcement of the Ultimate Strat-O-Matic Fanatic!
1:16pm: Fifth Place- Marty Bender (Queens, NY)
1:16pm: Fourth Place- Bob Zuhlke (Gaithersburg, MD)
1:17pm: Third Place- Jeff Fleischman (Centennial, CO)
1:18pm: Second Place- Larry Fryer (Woodstock, MD)
1:18pm: First Place- Brett Carow (River Falls, WI)
1:19pm: The morning festivities have concluded. Lunch break for fans. The Game Room/Partner Expo will open at 2:00.
2:00pm: Strat-O-Matic’s new baseball products have OFFICIALLY been released, as pre-order product pickups have begun. Everyone who was given an orange index card at registration can now pick up their orders.
2:00pm: The Game Room/Partner Expo has also opened. Tables on the left side of the room: Strat-O-Matic Customer Loyalty Program, John Lamanna, STAR Tour and Bloomberg Sports. On the right side of the room: SOM Hoops, Baseball HQ, Outsider Baseball Bulletin, Sporting News, SOM Tour.
2:05pm: Two book signing tables in the Game Room/Partner Expo. Doug Glanville, one of the stars of the morning festivities, is signing copies of his book The Game from Where I Stand: A Ballplayers Inside View and taking pictures with fans. Glen Guzzo and Hal Richman are at the other table taking pictures with fans and signing copies of the book Strat-O-Matic Fanatics.
3:00pm: Those who were given a green index card at registration can now pick up their orders from the product pickup room. Despite the long lines outside in the hallways and the large quantity of orders to be picked up, the orders are being distributed quite efficiently.
3:15pm: The tables downstairs have been filled for most of the afternoon with fans playing pick-up games of Strat-O-Matic Baseball. Fathers and sons, friends, and even strangers are going head-to-head. What a sight to see. The filmmakers and various TV crews have been shooting a lot of the different games going on, in addition to conducting interviews with as many fans as possible. The place has a true "convention-like" feel.
4:00pm: An announcement has been made for the last product pickup group (those who were given yellow index cards at registration). Hard to believe there is just an hour left of the event- I guess time really does fly when you’re having fun!
4:23pm: The church has noticeably begun to empty out. The end of the day is near.
5:00pm: That’s a wrap! Strat-O-Matic’s 50th Anniversary Celebration/Opening Day 2011 is over. Time for the Strat-O crew to clean up! Thanks to EVERYONE who came out today and made it such an incredible day!