The Talk Show – March 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.
Mysteries Solved
            Hi, Glenn. Congrats on all your hard work to help make the 2012 card set another triumph for SOM! It never ceases to amaze me when I think of how intense the few months before Opening Day must be for everyone at Strat-O-Matic.
A few questions:
1.) I haven’t seen any mention of the Opening Day travel trip. Did not enough people sign up to meet the minimum requirement to make it happen?
2.) Do you have any insight on why Marco Scutaro did not have a card with just his SF stats? For a player to have had such an impact on a team when he joined, I thought for sure there would have been one.
3.) Since you were once again in on the fielding rating discussions, was there any thought (even though you have said repeatedly in the past that a player jumping two fielding ratings is almost unheard of) to making Alfonso Soriano a 3 in the basic game due to his improved defense in 2012?
            Thanks, as always, for your time. What other projects, be they SOM-related or not, do you have in the works?
Chris Bacchi
            Intense, yes that would describe the collaborative effort involved when Hal Richman, Steve Barkan, John Garcia, Len Schwartz, Bob Winberry and I turn to baseball work as soon as the regular season ends. It was worth it: This set with Miguel Cabrera, Mike Trout, Buster Posey, R.A. Dickey, Craig Kimbrel, Aroldis Chapman, Fernando Rodney and a fantastic rookie class might be my favorite of the 21st Century seasons.
1.)    Correct, the necessary 25 participants were not signed up in time for the multi-stop trip that would have begun from SOM headquarters. That may have been a blessing in disguise, considering the unusual blizzard that arrived that day.

2.)   Scutaro played only in the National League (Colorado first, then San Francisco), so he gets one card. Strat-O-Matic never has given separate-team cards to single-league players.

3.)    “Almost unheard of” is too strong, but it doesn’t happen often. We were aware of Soriano’s improved diligence and his significantly lower error rate. But given Soriano’s age and the state of his knees, which severely limit his range, a dramatic jump to a 3 never was under consideration. His low error count in 2012 did warrant a 5(B4) instead of the straight 5 he received a year earlier.

             I have three projects underway: 1) A board game “Beautiful Losers” league with six pre-DH teams that lost in pennant playoffs or that won 100 but not the pennant – the 1948 Red Sox, 1951 Dodgers, 1954 Yankees, 1959 Braves, 1961 Tigers and 1971 A’s. (I was going to use the 1962 Dodgers rather than the A’s, but the ’62 set alone is not in Super Advanced format); 2) A computer, 22-team league of franchise teams created from the 2010 Hall of Fame, Baseball Heroes and Negro League sets; 3) college football games with 2011 LSU.
            I’m an LSU fan, and I am running the 2011 Tigers through a gauntlet of formidable teams with the computer football game. So far, LSU dominated Robert Griffin III’s Baylor team (55-34), SEC East champ Georgia (59-21), and ACC champ Clemson (41-24). LSU then whipped 10-2 USC (31-17) and survived against Michigan’s BCS team (24-20). Big 12 champ Oklahoma State will be next, then perhaps some other worthy foes (Stanford, Boise State, etc.) before the Tigers prowl against the SEC West, including national champ Alabama.
            In recent years, I completed full-season replays with the 1951 NL (the Dodgers beat the Giants in a playoff), 1956 AL (the White Sox led wire to wire), 1958 NL (Milwaukee won after overtaking Pittsburgh in September), 1959 AL (Detroit won an amazing THREE-team playoff with Chicago and New York, who all had identical 154-game records) and a collaborative 1964 AL and NL (the White Sox beat my Tigers by one game, then swept my Cardinals in the World Series).
            Early this year I finished a full-season replay on the computer with the 1961-62 NHL (Montreal won and Bobby Hull scored his 50th goal in the final game, matching his actual total). This might be the year I finally launch my long-desired project featuring the many different franchises that won NBA titles in the 1970s.
NEGRO LEAGUES: Computers and Dice
            There has been speculation in the community as to why the new Negro League teams came out as computer products only.  Some revolves around the possibility that the market is deemed to be limited, or that the company is trying to steer gamers more toward the computer product.

            Is there any chance that SOM might consider another approach for cards-and-dice gamers?  Perhaps a set of top Negro League teams to parallel the Old-timers or 36 Prior Season Teams sets?  A “top 10” maybe? Also, does the fact that the new Negro League products went to computer gamers only mean that the possibility of a second set of individual carded players is slim?

Jeff Woodhouse, Seattle, WA
            At this point, it’s unknown what the future holds for more board-game Negro Leagues sets. The one suspicion you should discount is any that suggests Strat-O-Matic wants to discourage board-game sales. But, of course, decisions involving printing have everything to do with sales volume. Hal Richman has said many times that while the company takes enormous pride in its old-timer baseball seasons, they are not highly profitable. If that’s the case with MLB seasons, it’s a fair assumption that SOM would be cautious about starting the presses on historic seasons of any other pro league.

            Quick question I was hoping you could answer that has my Strat league a bit up in arms. Does the pro-rated injuries tool pro-rate only duration of injuries, or does it also impact frequency of injuries?
Chase Goodbread, Tuscaloosa, AL
            Pro-rated injuries affect only the duration of injuries. Your shorter season will take care of the frequency.

            Nice to read your response to my Talk Show submission concerning the tick clock. As I mentioned, a tick clock in hockey would be easy as the penalty timer already incorporates the concept. The timer slows down play for the power play to be more realistic. So I suggest using the tick clock when the goalie is pulled for the same effect.
1. Assume the team with 6 attackers is on the power play using all PP rules
2. When the defensive team gains control it has the same options as the short-handed team would have.
3. If the short-handed team ices the puck move 5 ticks … 1-2= empty netter, 3-20=icing
4. A successful skate moves the tick clock 3 and now icing is … 1-5=empty netter, 6-20=icing
5. A subsequent skate is 3 ticks….1-10=empty netter, 11-20= lose to PP team as they are across the red line
6. A subsequent skate is 3 ticks…1-18=empty netter, 19-20= how did he miss that! Lose to PP team.
            I think this system increases realism tremendously without sacrificing playability.
            As for basketball, a tick clock would allow a more realistic use of timeouts to run plays and make offensive/defensive match-up changes. Intentional fouls and timeouts in the endgame are a big part of the pro game that is missing in the Strat game.
Mike Robb, Phoenix
            Nice playing tip, Mike, and thanks for sharing it. It sounds like you’ve confirmed that this adds drama as well as empty-net goals. When I was publishing STRAT FAN, almost every issue had creative and thoughtful playing tips, and I would have been happy to publish this one.