Playing Strat-O-Matic “The Right Way” (Replay Zone – October 2015)

By Jeff Polman
October ruminations from your trusty Strat-O-Matic replay addict. Check out, “Mystery Ball ‘58”, my latest baseball novel, which was inspired by a replay of the 1958 season.
The recent kerfuffle over Jose Bautista’s home run bat flip in this year’s ALDS against Texas got me thinking about Strat, and whether or not any unwritten rules regarding "playing the game the right way" apply. Here are the only ones I could come up with:
1. Act like you’ve rolled that 20-sider before. Nothing annoys an opponent more than when you drop a "2" on a 1-3 triple chance with the bases loaded and two outs in the last of the 9th and you’re trailing by two runs. Sure, it’s a supreme moment to walk off with a win, but jumping up from the table to whoop or do the funky chicken might not be the most sportsmanlike response.
2. Run out every hit. If you hit a 1-5 single chance, don’t assume it’s going to be an out and hang your head before the boulder stops rolling. I once played a guy who tossed his cards across the room before he even saw the final 20-sider result and I had to be the one to tell him he was still batting.
3. Flip your pen with class. If you really need to react to a key home run, be sure to flip your writing tool vertically, not horizontally, so that it lands squarely on your score sheet or notebook, as opposed to in your opponent’s glass of soda. Members of a past league I was in still talk in disbelieving tones about the draft night where a manager accidentally picked a player who was already chosen, chucked his pencil across the room and narrowly missed hitting a manager in the eye.
4. Sign stealing is frowned upon. Especially because Strat doesn’t have signs.
5. Curb excessive cell phone use. Sometimes emergency phone calls or texts happen during games, but I try to avoid these by keeping my phone on silent until the final inning is completed. Unless, of course, if the call is from the pizza guy waiting on your doorstep.
6. Don’t start a beanball war. Super-advanced Strat baseball does include hit batters, but if you’re angry about the way a game is going, try to resist throwing at hitters intentionally, because things can spiral out of control. In an attempt to keep such incidents realistic but constrained, I created the following Super-Advanced Brawl Chart, which you are welcome to use:
The chart is triggered three different ways:
1. HBP follows a home run.
2. Batter who homers is HBP on his NEXT at bat.
3. Two consecutive HBPs in the same inning. (If a third consecutive HBP occurs, roll three dice: 3-7 use result #3 below, 8-13 use result #6,7 below, 14-18 use result #18 below.)
3-Pitcher, hitter and catcher all ejected, suspended for 5 games
4,5-Batter ejected, suspended for 3 games for charging the mound & throwing punches
6,7-Pitcher ejected from game
8,9-Pitcher warned. Immediate pitcher ejection if he hits another batter during game
10-Words exchanged. Batter is angry. All his split chances go up by 5 against SAME PITCHER for balance of game.
11- Words exchanged. Batter has become wimpy. All his split chances go down by 3 against SAME PITCHER for balance of game.
12,13-Both benches are warned. Immediate pitcher ejection if another batter is HBP during the game
14,15-Batter ejected from game for making nasty gestures at pitcher
16,17-Batter and catcher wrestle on home plate. Both ejected, suspended 3 games
18- DONNYBROOK!! Pitcher, hitter and catcher ejected, along with one player on hitting team, one on pitching team. ONE DIE ROLL PER CLUB DETERMINES THESE: 1-Relief pitcher of manager’s choice 2-Utility infielder of manager’s choice 3-Starting 1B 4-Starting CF 5-Starting 2B 6-Starting RF
Naturally, these “unwritten Strat rules” mainly apply to playing an opponent face-to-face. If you’re playing solitaire, simply ignore rules 1 through 6.

My next column will feature all the results from Round One, but for now, here are the sixteen absentee managers who will be pulling the strategic strings in the tourney, along with their opening game pitchers. Champion will receive a $25 gift certificate from Strat!
BRAVES (Jim Surprenant, Woodstock GA) at NATIONALS (Keith Shiraki, Los Angeles CA)
Julio Teheran vs. Jordan Zimmerman
BREWERS (Brian Jacobson, Oak Creek WI) at CARDINALS (B.J. Sellers, Bettendorf IA)
Matt Garza vs. Adam Wainwright
METS (Jack Thompson, Phoenix AZ) at DODGERS (Donald Gordon, Montclair CA)
Jacob deGrom vs. Clayton Kershaw
GIANTS (Matt Benham, Vacaville CA) at PIRATES (Chris Witt, Madison WI)
Madison Bumgarner vs. Francisco Liriano
YANKEES (John Nocero, Euclid OH) at ANGELS (Norman Brown, Brampton ONT)
Masahiro Tanaka vs. Jered Weaver
INDIANS (Tony Georgi, Fort Wayne IN) at ORIOLES (Tim Lemke, Odenton, MD)
Corey Kluber vs. Chris Tillman
MARINERS (Paul Dylan, Poulsbo WA) at TIGERS (Scott Seidel, Glendale AZ)
Felix Hernandez vs. Max Scherzer
ATHLETICS (John Borack, Fountain Valley CA) at ROYALS (Ron Rollins, Bournemouth, UK)
Jeff Samardzija vs. Yordano Ventura
If you’d like to follow the tournament results on a daily basis, visit my personal Strat-O-Matic replay website right here.