The Talk Show – March, 2011

                                                        THE TALK SHOW

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.
A Painful Loss
            On Jan. 11 I lost a great brother and an avid SOM baseball, basketball and football gamer. Nick Seaman organized several all-star leagues in the Fort Collins, Colo. area.  He started playing SOM in the mid-to-late ‘80s.  Among some of his favorites were the 4-wide receiver sets of Warren Moon’s Houston Oilers, the ‘99 Rams, and ‘92 Cowboys.  He also was a die-hard St. Louis Cardinals baseball fan. 
            He touched so many lives, and we all will cherish the memories of all the great face-to-face games we played in my parents’ basement. Even toward the end, we still sat around together and looked at cards and talked about the “New Year’s Eve Bowl” that we played every year when we were kids.  Nick was 34 and leaves behind a wife and child.   Nick Seaman, 1976-2011.
Brian Seaman, Gig Harbor, WA
            Thank you for telling us about your brother, Brian. Losing a brother who was also a best friend and a fellow Strat player is really tough. All of us lose something when the hobby loses such a friend, so it’s very kind of you to share this gentle memory. He was so young. Please share our condolences with his family. We hope that, in time, the Strat experiences you shared will be one of the things that help you remember Nick with a smile.
Federal Leagues
            If Strat-O were to consider recreating the 1914 or 1915 baseball seasons, would they be able to include Federal League teams as well? Are there any property rights issues or statistic availability problems that would preclude that? It would be interesting to see some new teams in a set.
Brian Kriese, Green Bay, WI
            I think so, because both are in the “Chevy” versions of 1914 and 1915 for the computer. Lefty-righty and data for super-advanced ratings are elusive for most pre-World War II seasons, and more so the farther back we go. One of the reasons SOM re-created 1911 instead of other Dead Ball seasons was the availability of detailed stats (via Retrosheet) for most 1911 games. The Chevy seasons can be created without stats that detailed, so Federal League re-construction in deluxe form depends on stats not yet available.
Josh is OK
            It looks like there could be a typo on Josh Willingham in the book.  He’s a 3*/- (20-6) but a B basic stealer.  Maybe he should either be a D basic stealer, or there should be no asterisk with the 3?
Clay Grant, Atlanta
            Though that *3/ (20-6) is an unusual rating, it is correct, SOM reports. Willingham was safe on all seven steal attempts. With seven steals and none caught, he has to be considered enough of a threat that defenses must stay alert, and thus hold him. But he didn’t steal so often that he could earn a better lead chance.
Too Close to Call
            I recently purchased one of your Franchise Football sets. I like the cards very much. I plan to play Franchise Pittsburgh vs. Franchise Green Bay for the 2011 Superbowl. I have a question about the Tampa Bay Basic Run Defense rating. Tampa Bay is rated Very Poor against runs. Minnesota is rated Good to Excellent against runs. I ran the average gains from both cards on all 3 run plays, ignoring the fumbles ( but taking the yardage ) and using 15 yd. gain for SG and a 38 yd. gain for LG. Here’s what I got:
LB – Tampa 3.42, Minn 3.42. OT – Tampa 3.92, Minn 3.92. ER – Tampa 3.81, Minn 3.78. Almost identical, and yet, the ratings are at opposite ends of the spectrum. I can see something like this on the advanced cards, where the individual players ratings make a difference. On the basic cards, though, it would seem that Minnesota would have a much lower average gain per run than Tampa Bay. Am I missing something here? Please help me understand.
            I really enjoy your games.
Mike Jones
            The text descriptions of a team’s defense are very general. They apply best to the advanced side, where, as you point out, the individual defensive ratings play a large role in determining whether a team is Poor, Average, Good or Excellent. I am speculating about the basic side similarities: In a given season, most teams fall within a range of about .5 per carry. Over the course of each franchise’s long history of ups and downs, that disparity will disappear. So the individual ratings have an even more significant role in the All-Time Franchise Football set.
In the Ballpark
            Is the 1962 roster disk for Strat compatible with the super-advanced "ultimate" rules in the computer game? I’m forgetting the term, but it’s the version where one can use all the features including the comprehensive ballpark effects and pitch counts. If this is so, then how do the cards look in the card image game? Are they the same as the advanced game release but with super-advanced features? 
Kevin Hennessy, St. Paul, MN
            The 1962 computer rosters have been updated with certain features, such as individual balk and wild pitch ratings for pitchers, but not ballpark effects.

            The 1962 teams and players can be played against teams rated for Super Advanced, and we can use the Super Advanced pitcher fatigue system with pitch counts. But it’s best to opt out of ballpark effects, because the ’62 teams’ ballparks show as 0 for homers and singles. So ballpark-effect rolls on opponents’ cards will end up as automatic outs if you are playing in the ’62 teams’ ballparks.

            This is not a problem if you are selecting 1962 players (but not their ballparks) for use in rated ballparks against other players rated for Super-Advanced. If a 1962 player hits (or gives up) a potential ballpark homer on an opponent’s card, the ballpark in question will rule.

            We should get word in a couple months about the next NFL six-packs, but some seasons seemed doomed for long waits. The ’80 Browns (football), ’53 Dodgers (baseball), and ’89 Flames (hockey), among others, remain elusive.
Lefty Specialists
            It would seem like SOM should consider allowing some lower inning LH relievers (maybe 25+ innings?) to receive actual cards (over RH relievers with slightly more IP) due to the vast number of "lefty specialists" who are used. 
Clay Grant, Atlanta
            If you look at the regular 27-man carded teams, you’ll see that appearances sometimes trump IP when saves and lefty specialists are involved. But at the level of 25-35 IP, innings matter more to represent more of a team’s performance.
This is Fatigue?
            I wonder about the fatigue rules. Recently I set up a team (last year’s cards) with only 4 starters and 3 guys in the pen and i set the minors to ineligible. I set all the fatigue, rest and pitch count rules on max. I even let the computer generate a manager. The computer called up 2 starters but no relievers. I wanted to see how the fatigue would affect great relievers, but there was no effect. Look at them:
NAME                ERA      W  L          G            SV               IP             H     R   ER  HR  BB  SO
        2.19       7  4          90           15             152.0          95   43   37  13  60   157
G.Sherrill          2.45       6  1          80           7              125.0          79   38   34   5   63   102
J.Nathan           3.77       7  8          85           33             124.0          81   53   52  18  65   146
            They should have hit the wall at some point but they didn’t. I did this several times. Why don’t the fatigue rules kick in to prevent them from being effective?
 Dave, Toronto
            Several thoughts come to mind. I take it these guys were on the same team. So, first, don’t expect draft leagues to produce replay stats. One way to tell the effect of pitcher fatigue: Check the Board Game Breakdowns under League Statistics to find out how many hits occurred under PTire (hits due to pitcher fatigue). But under max rules, fatigued pitchers also give up more walks and extra-base hits. Looking at your three Musketeers, I see considerably higher ERAs than actual (In 2009, Papelbon was 1.85, Sherrill was 1.70 and Nathan was 2.10). I see 13 losses compared to the four they lost actual. I see walk rates considerably higher than actual. Unless they were facing all-star league competition, it looks like fatigue did affect them. 
            The past few years I’ve been hoping SOM would put relief pitcher hold stats on the cards as a way to evaluate setup men, as well as OPS on batter cards – but I know there are space and printing setup (no pun intended) limitations. What stats would you like to see added to the cards?
Chris Bacchi, Woodridge, IL
            A question I’ve never been asked! And this one’s a brain-teaser, because SOM does a very good job at what it is trying to accomplish – give the gamer an at-a-glance view of a player’s role and strengths. If display space was not an issue, like you I’d want something more to help me use the player realistically. Rather than holds, I’d like pitcher appearances, so I could tell how often he relieved. For batters, pinch-hitting appearances. For multi-team players in the same league, it would be very useful to have breakdowns of usage stats for each team. That’s something I research before replays. I know that other gamers want stats that SOM will not provide, because it would divulge the game company’s formulas: Things like lefty-righty stats, or what the card is calculated to hit vs. that year’s competition.