Marathon Men (The Replay Zone – May 2012)


By Jeff Polman
May ruminations from your trusty Strat-O-Matic replay addict. Follow my Mystery Ball ’58 blog three times a week!
Are you inspired by Brett Carow and Sam Hennemann’s upcoming attempt to set a 54-hour world record of dice-rolling attempt? Feel like breaking your own personal mark? On sabbatical from your job? Then this Handy Guide to Strat Binging is for you!
Granted, I’ve never played the game for 14 straight hours, let alone 54, (though I did play 26 games in one day on the weekend my 1970 cards arrived). I always roll Strat games while watching TV ones, and I watch a lot of TV games, but can’t even do that for an afternoon without getting interrupted by phone calls and household chores. These brave marathoning lads in New York will certainly be going where few Stratophiles have gone before, though those who follow them may want to refer to the following list:
1.     Do not roll alone. Trust me, after a seventh hour of solo play, you will be talking to yourself, reading the wrong card columns, and accidentally batting for Mickey Mantle with Jerry Lumpe. With a face-to-face opponent, you can correct each other’s mistakes, and provide more laughs and drama to keep the games energized.
2.     Location. Whether it’s a basement rec room, finished garage, or deserted warehouse on the outskirts of town, choose your marathon venue carefully. Interruptions must be minimal. If you can swing it, a cheap hotel room with a table and chairs works perfectly, though having beds to collapse on so nearby could be too tempting.
3.     Sodas, coffee, and snack bowls. A regular supply of caffeine, sugar and salt is imperative to get through this (alcohol being a big mistake). Ordering takeout meals is a great choice if you haven’t hired a private chef or enlisted a roommate, mother, or significant other to cook for you. And a hotel room phone is perfect for the ordering, because…
4.     Keep your cell phone off. You need to concentrate on your games. Pausing between innings to text or tweet your friends, check e-mails or watch videos will distract you to no end, and cause you to pull Justin Verlander for Phil Coke with the game on the line. If your marathon is a success, you’ll have plenty of time to tell your buddies about it after you eventually recover.
5.     Background noise. I can’t stress enough how important it is to have either a TV sports channel on in the room (MLB Network or ESPN are fine) or Bose speakers playing grunge rock or heavy metal, because you’ll need as many legal things to keep you awake as possible.
6.     Gaming accessories. I have friends in my Strat draft league who have crafted these amazing dice towers they use to add to their rolling experience. (The guy who acquired Bill Veeck’s famous wooden peg leg in an auction uses that in his Strat computer league, dropping dice through the thing to determine the yearly draft order.) Other fun additions to keep the marathon lively can be handcrafted game boards, bizarre dice (by all means keep changing them), and small electronic scoreboards.
7.     Exercise. No time in a Strat marathon for mile runs around the neighborhood or trips to the gym, but the stand-and-roll for an inning, sit-and-roll for an inning can work wonders after the first thirty games.
8.     Never look at the clock. That’s for your witnesses to do (and they’re allowed to lie about the real time if asked). Best to just plug along and get into the rhythm of the games without thinking about the MANY HOURS you still have left. I use this same approach when my kid has a ton of homework to do in one night. Also, closing all blinds and curtains works wonders.
So that’s about it. Keep your cool, enjoy your binge, and then get ready to enter stats for another 12 hours!