The Talk Show – June 2013

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.
Can’t Wait for Windows Football Improvements
            Just wanted to drop you all a HUGE thank you for many of the fixes to things I have emailed you about over the years (concerning computer football). The possession chart fixes THRILL me! Thank you all so much!
Mike Payne
            A lot of us are looking forward to the Strat-O-Matic Football 2013 features. The new and improved reports, the Pistol Offense, the offensive Team Pace feature and other improvements should make for an ever-more exciting gaming experience.

What’s Next?
            I was ecstatic when Strat reprinted the 1961 season. So, two questions; is 1962 close behind, and who is the leading contender for the next past baseball season?
 Phil, Passaic NJ
            We know from SOM that 1973 is in the works for 2014. The 1962 season is not included among eight contending seasons in the current poll on the Strat-O-Matic website – probably because SOM has concluded that its sales are strongest when there’s a longer gap in releasing back-to-back classic seasons. At this writing, the poll shows strongest support for 1969, at 23 percent of the 1,287 votes cast. Though ’69 had the clear lead, it isn’t a dominant showing, with 1982, 1968, 1949, 1953 and 1979 clustered at 11-14 percent each. The 1980 season is next with 9 percent and 1952 lags with 4 percent.            
We Have Contact – But Probably Shouldn’t
            I love using the pitcher batting cards in my 2012 St. Louis Cardinals replay. What a great idea. But the Lance Lynn hitting card is obviously wrong on Basic side. Thoughts?
Jim McPartland
            With 36 strikeouts in 50 at-bats, Lynn’s Basic card probably should look much like his Advanced card, which is nearly all strikeouts. While hitless, Lynn’s Basic card has too many results where he puts the ball in play. Strat-O-Matic has not issued a corrected card, but SOM’s John Garcia, who helped develop these cards, recommends making all of Lynn’s rolls strikeouts except for the Groundball B++ at roll 1-7 and the “Lineout into as many outs as possible” at roll 3-2.
Playing Tips Needed
1) Do you have a way to decide when playing solitaire when to draw the line on stealing and advancing? I usually use 1-13 as the baseline for the opponent, but with some teams (say the ’12 Cubs who can’t hit) should the bar be lowered to take more chances?
2) Is there a formula for allowing basic side cards that don’t have HRs on them to hit them off the pitcher realistically? Take John Jay from the Cards. He hit 4 in 443 ABs. I don’t think it should be an HR every time he rolls one because I think probability wise he’ll hit too many if all are allowed.
            Roll some dice this weekend – I am! Sparkle!
Jim McPartland
            Thanks, Jim. Having fun now with my 22-team “Hall of Heroes” league of players from the Hall of Fame, Baseball Heroes and Negro League sets. Lots of big finishes – the best was when Babe Ruth completed a cycle on a walk-off triple. Goose Goslin also has a cycle. Each team is 18 games into the season: George Brett and Mark McGwire each have 4-home-run games (in 50 years of Strat, I’d only had two of those); 16 different pitchers have shutouts.
            Research shows that stealing second is a poor risk if the success chance is less than 65 percent (1-13). However, some teams with little power (like Dead Ball teams or the 1959 White Sox) depend on aggressive baserunning. You’ll also want to pay close attention to special situations dictated by score, inning, outs and batters. I’m not running at 1-13 or even 1-15 if I think a steal is only going to get me an intentional walk for the one batter who is likely to drive in the runs. It might be worth going at 1-11 if it’s two outs and a singles-only batter (especially one who goes up in the clutch, if you are playing Super Advanced). Teams far behind in the middle innings or later should not risk baserunning outs.
            On the other hand, there’s the pennant-winning ’59 Go-Go Sox, who had only two players with more than six home runs and only one regular who hit above .272. In the words of one gamer friend, “It’s hard to make them win.” These Sox depended heavily on steals by Luis Aparicio and Jim Landis, and even more on getting extra advances when Aparicio (1-17), Landis (1-17), Jim Rivera (1-16), Al Smith (1-16), Bubba Phillips (1-16) Nellie Fox (1-15) and Earl Torgeson (1-14) were on the bases. To give them every chance, I made a batting-order change, flipping No. 2 batter Fox and No. 3 batter Landis. At first, this is counter-intuitive. It messes up the R(Aparicio)-L-R sequence at the top of the order. It moves Fox, the ideal No. 2 batter (lefty, .303 with “W” power, A bunter, B hit-and-run, no strikeouts on his card) to a key RBI spot. But Fox, the actual AL MVP, has a card rich in two-base singles, has some double-triple pop and goes up to .359 in the clutch, which will come up more often at No. 3 than at No. 2. The idea: If either Aparicio or Landis gets on and can steal second, Fox is in RBI position. Another tactic I used: I looked for double-steal opportunities, especially with Aparicio at second. Otherwise, the Sox ran wild on teammate hits, which forced the defense into many bad choices: Throw for a fast lead runner and the other runner(s) move up, eliminating double-play chances – or let the lead guy take the extra base.
            It worked: The Sox tied for first in my as-played replay with New York and surprising Detroit, the top offensive team in the league. A remarkable three-way tie for the pennant! (I devised a playoff that gave Chicago the bye based on head-to-head records. Detroit lefty Don Mossi won at Yankee Stadium in the first game, and then the Tigers came from behind against my replay’s Cy Young winner, Early Wynn, to clinch the pennant against the Sox.)
            As for the Basic-side home runs, gamers who play “modified Basic” often eliminate HRs on pitcher cards for batters who have “W” power on their Advanced side. However, this can be unsatisfying for batters like Jay, who hit a few homers, but who are W against both lefties and righties. He won’t hit any out of the park this way. For those like him, consider making him a W only on the side of his Advanced card that has no HR chances – for Jay, that’s only vs. LHP. I never have used a more precise formula, but others have, and their computations were shared in a threat on Dan Patterson’s online stratfanforum. Check it out.
Tech And Technicals
            I am having a great time playing a full 1999 season of Strat-O-Matic Basketball. One alteration I’d like to see. Like the computer hockey game, which displays numerous player ratings when I am asked to select a player for puck possession, I would like the computer basketball game to display just the free throw percent displayed next to the names of the players on the court when a technical foul shot is awarded. There is no way to exit the screen and see the best shooter. Thoughts?
Roger Ford, Manassas VA
            I like the idea. I’ve had the same uncertainty.