Strat-O-Matic Celebrity Q & A with Doug Glanville

Strat-O-Celebrity Q & A with Doug Glanville
S-O-M is thrilled to announce the launch of our new Strat-O-Matic Celebrity Q & A series! Our first guest is long-time Strat-O-Matic Fanatic: Doug Glanville! Glanville is a former MLB outfielder who played for the Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers over the course of nine seasons. He currently works as a baseball analyst for ESPN, while also contributing op-ed columns to The New York Times. In 2011, Glanville authored the book “The Game From Where I Stand,” which relives some of the ups and downs of his big league career and gives an inside look at the day-to-day life of a Major League Baseball player.
S-O-M: Thank you for joining us for the first interview as part of our Strat-O-Matic Celebrity Q & A series. And we promise not to ask you any questions about PEDs!
Doug Glanville: My pleasure to celebrate Strat-O-Matic! Thank you for giving me the chance to leadoff this Q & A series. It is an honor.

Question: When did you first start playing Strat-O-Matic? Who introduced you to the game?
Doug Glanville: I began playing when I was around 6 years old. My brother was the one who couldn’t wait until I was old enough to understand enough to compete. At an early age, “Strat” taught me about making lineups, trades and fairness, math, and the opportunity to know players (and their skills) who were all across baseball. It was a time when it was hard to follow teams unless they were your local team so to know the key players everywhere was a great gift. It made me a complete baseball fan. My brother is almost 8 years older than me so he was patient with my growth, but it didn’t take long until he had to bring his “A game” to beat me. 🙂

Q: How often did you play the game growing up as a kid?
Doug Glanville: It was our basement religion. We had these marathons in the basement of our house that seemed to last for days. Once the new set came out, for which we practically stalked the mailman, we jumped right in. It was just as much fun to prepare the league before the set even arrived. We had draft rules and teams selected. We knew how we were going to handle the “extra” players. It was serious business. But serious fun. Once a season was in session, it was daily. If we weren’t playing, we were sifting through our teams, plotting our next moves. Somehow, I mixed in school, piano lessons, baseball practice, amongst other things!

Q: Did you continue playing Strat-O-Matic when you got to the Major Leagues? If so, did you ever play with any teammates?
Doug Glanville: I did play online from time to time. Once the website came live with the simulations, I was good to go. I know there were others across MLB that played, but I mostly played solo. I did a segment on TV for a local Philly network where we played on air. I reluctantly put myself in the lineup. (wasn’t coming off a good year). 🙂

Q: Do you still play Strat-O-Matic today? Are you a cards & dice player or do you prefer the Windows game?
Doug Glanville: I most certainly do play. I use the website for the online simulator. My brother and I created “The House of Glanny” and I think we were up to league number 25. I have won a few championships and have the trophies to show for it. I took a little hiatus after my daughter was born, but I let my brother GM for a while in the interim. Now I am back in the mix and very disappointed at my .500 team. If given the choice, I would play the cards and the dice every time, despite my love and respect for the online game. I only state that because that was the way I was introduced to the game. It was home for me. I loved the split deck and the scrambling through the charts to get the result. It created a great sense of drama.

Q: How did it feel when you saw your own Strat-O-Matic card for the first time?
Doug Glanville: “Euphoric” may be an understatement. I did not count myself as a major leaguer until I had a Strat-O-Matic card. I knew all too well about the “extra” men that didn’t qualify for the regular set. I had to be a regular. I stared at it for a long time. It was truly surreal. After all, my brother and I made Little League and other amateur team sets (which I need to dig up). There used to be a way you could order the cards with no name on it, and you can fill in the key ratings. But we went further, we made entire cards up.

Q: All-time favorite card to play with (other than one of your own)?
Doug Glanville: Hmmm. Anything Mike Schmidt was always a pleasure. Manny Mota the pinch hit machine was fun. I loved players that had straight “TRIPLE” on their card. That was intimidation. I know I crumbled up Ron Reed for blowing a World Series for me. 

Q: Most memorable Strat-O game you’ve ever played?
Doug Glanville: I beat someone by scoring 31 runs. Diego Segui was pitching. It was ridiculous. 🙂 Another one was when Enos Cabell hit a homerun when it was HR 1. Flyout 2-20. That was amazing.

Q: Did playing Strat-O-Matic help you as a professional baseball player at all? If so, how?
Doug Glanville: Sure. It was the tactics, it was the awareness of all of the choices, all of the player personnel. I really loved baseball, and loved it more through Strat-O-Matic. I had a great respect for all teams and their histories. It was wonderful to show my respect as I came up the minor league ranks, for all of the players from the 70s and 80s, not just my local team. When you come up in baseball, many of your coaches are former players from the generation by which you became a fan. I had Glenn Adams as my hitting coach in Triple-A who was great, but I could remember he was in my Twins 70s team to know how good a player he was… But I knew details about all players, even if I only knew that Sixto Lezcano had a great arm or that Mike Squires could really pick it. It helped me connect with the past generation easily. In fact, just a few weeks ago, I called the Yankees game and saw Rob Picciolo on the field. I immediately rattled of his Strat Bio. He just laughed. But he knew exactly what I was talking about….

Q: Do you use the game to help you in your current job as a studio analyst?
Doug Glanville: It is the critical thinking that it trains. The breakdown, the methodical way to look at the game. It just became part of my thinking in how I see the game and how worldly it makes you. I am fair to all teams, they all have great players, and great stories. Fred Patek hit three homeruns in one game in Strat. I never forgot him after that.

Q: In what ways can Strat-O-Matic teach children about the sport?
Doug Glanville: It is a great connection between math, passion, and baseball. Anyone who knows sports, knows those a key elements to loving any game. The stats, the baseball family, the gameplay. It gets people away from the sensational and over to the core. The patience, the crescendos, the legacies, the time passed. Great teaching points for young people learning about the game. The quick fix culture sometimes forgets the power of taking things one step at a time.

Q: What stood out to you most from the Strat-O-Matic 50th Anniversary Celebration and what was it like to be a part of the festivities?
Doug Glanville: I had a blast. The generational passion was palpable. Great attendance. Global presence. It was so much fun for me. It was like being around a family reunion.

Q: Whose Strat-O-Matic card from the current MLB season are you most looking forward to seeing?
Doug Glanville: Kershaw, Puig (who may be a 5 (-5) in the outfield). Trout. Cabrera. Jose Fernandez (wow).

And a few questions from the Strat Community…

Question submitted by Gordy Gowdy (San Francisco, CA): Who is the most difficult pitcher you ever faced? Favorite ballpark to play in?
Doug Glanville: I did poorly against sinkerballers (Lowe, Webb etc and soft throwing lefties with a good change-up – Glavine. The harder you threw, the better for me). Loved Wrigley or Bank One Ballpark (now Chase).

Question submitted by Michael Jaffe (Mesa, AZ): DH or no DH?
Doug Glanville: I know, boring answer, but I like it as it is even though I know it will change. I am more of a NL fan, however. I played in both leagues and I think there is just more strategy in the NL. Coming off the bench in the NL is a constant five alarm fire. You could enter in the 4th or the 9th. Be ready!

Question submitted by Anthony Gray (Cleveland, TN): Who is on your all-time SOM team?
Doug Glanville: I just enjoyed the unusual cards, not so much the great ones. Mota, Roger Freed, Schmidt, Bob Boone, Jim Sundberg, Any 1 fielder with a ridiculously low e-rating, -5 throwers (Geronimo, Lynn, Evans, Valentine). Loved a good closer who had no hits on his card on either side. Power pitchers were so much fun. KKKKKKKKKK. Loved Steve Carlton.

Question submitted by Ken Wenger (Lititz, PA): Favorite season to replay?
Doug Glanville: Loved 1980 but the strike year was fascinating. 81.
Published: September 4, 2013