THE REPLAY ZONE
By Jeff Polman
April ruminations from your trusty Strat-O-Matic replay addict. Check out all four of my season replay-inspired baseball novels on Amazon.
A Most Tenacious Strat Operation
As digital and phone technology continue to improve, there are more fun ways than ever to put your Strat replay results online. Simple chat rooms and community discussion boards like Strat Fan Forum are a given, but lately I’ve been discovering a whole new gameplay genre: the Live Strat video stream. I’ve been posting weekly “dice-casts” in my Freaks League Facebook group for some time, with occasional video accompaniment, but what Earl Reed is currently doing with his Tenacious Strat League is above and beyond.
Earl, who records his ballgames in a small, unfinished room in central Delaware (“not far from Dover”) with an iPhone, clutch-style bar clamp, and a vise attached to a wooden mount that is in turn attached to a workbench, recently finished his first Tenacious League season using ten 2015 teams and a 54-game schedule, and many of them are available for viewing on YouTube. (Here’s Game One of his Cubs-Dodgers Championship Series.) For the newcomer who wants to learn Strat baseball, or for the fan who just wants to enjoy a front row seat at a leisurely dice and cards battle, Earl’s YouTube channel is essential. It even has a very active chat window during each broadcast!
Earl, who grew up playing a tabletop game called Charlie Brown’s All-Stars, was a very fast Strat learner, and had his intro video up on YouTube just six weeks after purchasing the game. I found his live game feeds kind of slow and deliberate at first—especially because I’m used to blowing through my solo games at warp speed—but the more of them I’ve watched, the more I’ve appreciated, and they’ve inspired me to set up my own YouTube feed in the near future where I can take a little more time to describe the action without worrying about the feed glitching out.
Earl live streams about five full games a week. “At one point, I was streaming every game from my project,” he says. “That slowed down my progress, but the community that formed in the chat room of the live stream made me want to keep streaming the games. Now that there are a few more channels live-streaming, it seems like the crowd gathers wherever a live game is being played. It gave me the chance to start playing more of my games offline, which expedited completion of my most recent project.”
Earl says he was inspired to start his channel after seeing a number of other fans who were producing live feeds. Just a few who offer videos of Strat games are Fan-O-Matic, Tabletop Baseball, Baseball Demos (with a great super-advanced game and lesson here), and Espo Strat Baseball Network.
The wacky video I made last year of Game Eight of my 1934 Freaks League World Series was easily done using PhotoBooth on my home iMa, but I didn’t have any kind of camera setup that zeroed in on the cards and dice rolls like most of these YouTube folks have. Earl’s Tenacious feeds are superb at that, and his first championship game even included a smaller inset screen of the pitching card being used on the mound.
Serious computer Strat managers have been enjoying the advantages of speedier seasons, statkeeping and other features, but with this new surge in live video broadcasts, the cards and dice community have certainly been able to create some digital fun of their own.
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Speaking of my ongoing Freaks League projects, our 1982 season began in January and is closing in on Memorial Day on our schedule. So far the races are competitive, the power hitting explosive and Dave Winfield of the Ford Escorts already has 21 homers and an OPS of 1.247. Here’s the current records, team GMs, notable stars, and their teams’ home ballparks through games of May 24th:
23-16 Blade Runners
(Darin Orenstein-Baltimore) Joe Morgan, Fernando Valenzuela
(Donald Gordon/Joe Flow-Cincinnati) Dale Murphy, Mario Soto
21-20 Earl Dream Weavers
(Peter Crapo/Scott Bourget-Boston) Mike Schmidt, Fred Lynn, Rick Sutcliffe
19-22 Empty Vees
(Rob Price-Pittsburgh) Cecil Cooper, Gary Carter
17-21 Honolulu Magnums
(Jackson Russell White/Tom Jackson-St. Louis) Robin Yount, Jim Palmer, Steve Carlton
15-22 Julio Cruzers
(Dave Jordan-San Diego) Jack Clark, Kent Hrbek, Steve Rogers
26-14 A Flock of Wockenfuss
(John Borack-Milwaukee) Keith Hernandez, John Wockenfuss, Sixto Lezcano
25-16 Casbah Sun Cats
(Keith Shiraki-Chicago Comiskey) Ozzie Smith, Al Oliver, Eric Show
20-21 Ridgemont High Poltergeists
(Jim Surprenant/Mike Kaminsky-Seattle) Nolan ryan, Bob Horner, Andre Dawson
19-23 Human Leaguers
(Tim Lemke/Scott Fiscus-Detroit) Doug DeCinces, Greg Luzinski
18-22 Ford Escorts
(Joe Viaene-Atlanta) Reggie Jackson, Eddie Murray, Pedro Guerrero
16-24 Sony Walkmen
(Michael Dane-Chicago Wrigley) Rickey Henderson, Don Sutton