The Talk Show – January, 2012

Host: Glenn Guzzo
You can submit your question or insight on any Strat-O-Matic game to When you do, kindly include your name and town. Other gamers like to see that. And the display format below works better that way.
Reminder: Send us your “Great Moments in Strat” – your playing experiences that you just have to share.
            The year 2011 started out with a Packers Super Bowl victory, and a week later, I was named Strat’s Ultimate Fanatic – something I’m still coming to grips with! This title has allowed me to reach out to different folks via the Strat Fan Forum and other avenues to discover that I’m not alone in what this game has meant to me. There are few things that stay constant through one’s life – but me playing C&D Strat, doing stats or setting up a new season has truly turned out to be one of them. This was the year that I heard stories in person about how this is true for a lot of Strat-heads.
            I’ve been busy finishing my full 1941 replay – I played the middle third of the season in this calendar year and have had two no-hitters (Boston Braves Art Johnson vs. the Phillies and Brooklyn’s Kirby Higbe vs. the Reds). Oh, by the way, Ted Williams is hitting .432 with 30 homers and it’s only August 10. The 1941 season has followed my life for a long time. I purchased the season in December 1995 (at age 16) and will complete the season in 2012, hopefully before I turn 33.
            Beyond the 400+ games of 1941, I also played 200 games helping my friend through his 1991 replay in addition to my own super-short 2010 season replay. I ended up with a Giants-Rangers World Series. I played with Texas versus a guy from my league. Game 5 was the most memorable as the Giants were facing elimination after being shut out consecutively in Games 3 (Lewis) and 4 (Wilson). San Francisco managed to hit 10 homeruns in a 21-5 rout, only to lose the series the next day.
            I probably should have my own website to archive the things that I’ve done and am working on. But, I’ve found that devoting time beyond my family and friends just goes to playing the game – not publishing it. I’m on twitter (@BertCoast) and invite all of you to follow my updates – which will definitely include a 2011 Brewers replay.
            I didn’t get a chance to thank the mass of fans at the 50th anniversary in February so I will do it here. Thanks to the support everyone showed. I realize that most folks didn’t know who I was, but I knew who all of you were, essentially. Everyone who plays this game as fanatically as anyone on this site knows what it can do to your life and those around you (be it positive or negative). It is what you make it out to be. It can be all-consuming, or it can be a friend you reach out to every once in a while to recall memories and, of course, to create more. Thank you to everyone I met this year – it’s had a profound effect on the way I view the game itself and especially the community of which we are all part.
Brett Carow, River Falls, WI

            Thanks for checking in, Brett. Being named the Ultimate Fanatic at the 50th Anniversary celebration would have made the year for most Strat fans. But for a fan in Wisconsin, the Packers’ year-long success and the Brewers winning their division topped off the year nicely, I’m sure. Next: Strat-O-Matic’s 1958 baseball season, featuring the Milwaukee Braves in the World Series. I’m guessing you’ll see if you can avoid the fate of those Braves, who lost a 3-games-to-1 lead over the Yankees, lost Game 7 and never returned to the Series as the Milwaukee Braves again.

            I would like SOM to change the computer manager controls on starting pitchers where innings per game is concerned.  Currently, there are two settings to choose from – maximum 6 innings or 7 innings per start.  I believe there should be just one control but it should allow the manager to input a number.  For example, you might need to start a long reliever and be happy with 4 quality innings.  Or one pitcher on your team might be a “five and fly guy.”  Also, this would allow for experimental strategies.  I hope SOM will consider this idea for a future version.
Danny Mintz, Fort Lee, NJ
            I like this. I daresay most serious Strat players are control freaks – we want as much say in the strategy as possible. Strat-O-Matic’s computer games are powerful and popular in part because they give us so many options to play the way we prefer. In baseball, we can choose from literally millions of different combinations of rules, lineup/usage options and individual player settings, including Super-Hal strategies. And for some of us, it’s never enough! For now, you might want to select “Max 6 IP for start” and “Quick Hook” when your pitcher is destined for a short start.
            I know that the fact that HBPs aren’t on pitchers cards is something that has been talked out at this late date.  But one thing I have noticed in looking through the stats this year is how much of a correlation there seems to be between HBPs and WPs.  Pitchers who give up a lot of one generally give up a lot of the other.  And the same for those who don’t – low HBP = low WP.
            It’s a shame that this “attribute” can’t be part of the cards.  It’s like we’re missing an element of pitcher’s wildness.  I guess we should be happy that walks are a much bigger part, and those are hugely given consideration.
Clay Grant, Atlanta
            Interesting discovery, Clay, and it makes sense if we believe that the vast majority of HBP are not intentional. This suggests a possible playing tip: When an HBP occurs, check the pitcher’s WP rating. If 6 or more, accept the HBP. If 1-5, roll one die, and if the roll is higher than the WP rating, no HBP. Roll for the batter again. If batter rolls another HBP, accept it, even for a pitcher whose WP rating is 0.

            I noticed while looking at the 1977 Los Angeles Dodgers that Burt Hooton, with 14 sacrifice hits (2nd in the NL) in 67 AB, was labeled a “D” bunter, while Rick Rhoden with 6 sacrifices in 78 AB and Tommy John with 6 sacrifices in 79 AB were both labeled “A” bunters.  Presumably Hooton should be an “A”, while Rhoden and John should perhaps be labeled “C” bunters?
P. Sean Bramble, Dazaifu, Japan
            Hooton, Rhoden and John all should be A bunters.
            My question concerns the old-timer sets where only one goaltender was used for the entire season. Once he is fatigued, is he fatigued for the rest of the season? Example: 1946-47 Montreal with Bill Durnan fatigue of 8.  Is he fatigued from game 9 through the rest of the season?  I know about being hot and giving up less than 4 goals a game he isn’t.  But the main question is once he becomes fatigued with no back-up to give a rest does he remain fatigued for the rest of the season.
Bill Donnelly, Indio, CA
            The rule book is not specific about situations such as Durnan’s. However, the rules do say that a goalie with a fatigue rating of 5 or higher can start games un-fatigued throughout the playoffs. I would treat the sole goalie on teams who used a single goaltender all season the same way. There are more recent examples than Bill Durnan, notably Glenn Hall of the 1960s Chicago Blackhawks, who, like Durnan, was a stalwart year in, year out without rest. These were great goalies and having them start games fatigued would distort their stats and diminish their teams.
            If you want to tinker with the rule, and don’t mind wounding Durnan and Hall’s teams, here are several suggestions: 1) Consider the goalie fatigued for one game after his fatigue number (unless he’s not a “hot” goaltender under the rules), then re-start his un-fatigued streak; 2) Before each game after the fatigue number, roll 2 dice and if the total exceeds the goalie’s fatigue number, he is fatigued for that game; 3) Once such a goalie exceeds his fatigue number AND gives up enough goals in the next game to be “shelled,” and therefore fatigued under the rules, then consider him fatigued for one more game as well.