The Talk Show – April,2009

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.
            I want to replay the 2008 baseball season using the as-played feature in Version 14. However, I noticed it uses the full-season card for the multi-team players instead of the individual cards from each team. Therefore it’s not using CC Sabathia’s amazing Milwaukee Brewers card or Manny Ramirez’ .396 BA card with the Dodgers. I tried to copy and paste these cards into the season to replace the full season cards, but it seemed to confuse the pre-arranged as-played feature. So what would you suggest as to how to use these multi-cards in a replay?
Cliff, Murrieta, Cal
            Strat-O-Matic’s Bob Winberry replies: You mayhave only one card for a player in any Strat baseball league (this is not new with V14 – it has always been the case). The As-Played feature uses a single card with the full-season totals for the ML leagues. This is necessary because the AL & NL are combined into one league since interleague play began. The only way around this would be to rename one of the two Sabathia cards and then make all appropriate changes to the lineup and transaction files. But if you do that Sabathia’s totals would not be combined since the game would see him as two separate individuals.
            Many have written about replay baseball seasons they would like to see and all I can say is I wish Strat would remake the 1968, 1969 and 1970 seasons again in super-advanced format in cards. I know they are only available on the computer game, but these seasons are extremely unique, thus the reason years ago Strat made the replay seasons in first place. Seeing these teams, especially the 1968 season with the ballpark ratings and newer # formats, pitcher holds, etc., would be great. What can we do here? I know many loyal fans I have asked would enjoy seeing these.   
Randy, Independence, OH
          Other than the various suggestions made in The Talk Show, you’ve done what you can – get on board in a place where SOM will see the demand. The 1968 Year of the Pitcher with Denny McLain’s 31 wins, Bob Gibson’s 1.12 ERA and a dramatic seven-game World Series remains popular despite the absence of offense – the entire American League hit .230 that year. The 1969 season was the first for four franchises, and the best season for many great players who feasted on expansion opponents. Yes, it would be great to see Reggie Jackson, Willie Stargell, Frank Howard, Tom Seaver, Mike Cuellar and many others at their very peak in Super-Advanced form. As for expansion teams, 1969 also was the first year an expansion team – Seaver’s Mets – won the World Series.
            Loved your book on Strat, I’ve read it twice (I have been playing SOM since I was 11, got the baseball game in 1972). I have a great idea for your next SOM book. The definitive history of all of the cards. For all sports, mistakes, card counts, patterns, etc. Probably not a best seller, but would be great for gamers.
Anthony Abilo
            Thanks a lot, Anthony. I have considered such a book — it would be a large volume and take a lot of time to do right, probably for hundreds of sales. I think this is destined to become a community project once SOM revamps its Web site. At least, that could be an ideal way for the community to do something useful together and for each other.
            Another thing I want to ask, besides the ability to speed up the computer hockey game, is what past season(s) is SOM looking to do?  I vote for 1988-89.
Henry Roman
            I agree, for one reason. Not these: Mario Lemieux’ league-leading 85 goals, 114 assists and 199 points. Three other centers – Wayne Gretzky, Steve Yzerman and Bernie Nicholls – had at least 150 points each. Montreal, the class of the East, had 115 regular-season points and sailed into the Stanley Cup finals.
            No, the reason is an extraordinary accumulation of young talent – stars and role players – who came together with a few older stars to give the 117-point Calgary Flames and their captain, Lanny McDonald, their only championship.
            All of these players were 25 or younger when the Flames hoisted the Cup: Centers Joe Nieuwendyk and Doug Gilmour, wingers Gary Roberts, Theo Fleury and Jim Peplinski, defensmen Al MacInnis and Gary Suter. Goalie Mike Vernon turned 26 just three months earlier. Now add these veterans: Ultimate checking center Joel Otto; high-scoring wingers Joe Mullen, Hakan Loob and McDonald (though by this time he didn’t score like he used to); defensemen Rob Ramage and Brad McCrimmon. Wingers Jiri Hrdina, Mark Hunter and Colin Patterson were among the 14 Flames who had double-figure goals (led by Nieuwendyk and Mullen’s 51).
            Certainly, most NHL fans remember most of these stars with other teams. But many got their starts in Calgary. Others joined them for a magical mix of young and older, speed and strength, finesse and toughness. This team belongs in a Strat-O-Matic tournament of the NHL’s greatest teams.
            The Talk Show for 1/29/09 refers to five years to fill in the gaps for “new format” football seasons … citing 1970, 1971, 1974-76 et al … Did you miss one?  The 1968 season … I don’t recall that season being “reissued,” although I believe it should be a priority. Please advise.
Larry Grogan
            Before Strat-O-Matic began releasing its six-packs of carded football teams from past seasons, it released 1968 – and 1966, 1972, 1977, 1981 and some ‘90s seasons – as computer-only seasons. Therefore, they would be at the bottom of the list of seasons to be re-issued in card form. For one, such a release would have no dollar value as a computer release. Second, the remaining orders for board-game-only players likely would be too small. It’s unfortunate, since 1968 was a legendary seasons with the Jets’ Super Bowl victory, the first for the AFL. The ’66 season – the year of the first Super Bowl – and the ’72 season (Miami’s perfect season) were legendary, too.
            I was wondering how difficult it would be to add a new feature to the player notebook for the SOM Baseball? The Newspaper Style Recap under League Stats will display the best and worst players for the last 10 games. My suggestion is for the player stats page, where it displays the date and what the player did. (I’d like) to have a box where you can insert a number – for hitters it would be number of games and for pitchers number of appearances. This would then generate the player’s stats over the selected number of games, anywhere from one (game-appearances) to whatever. I now have to break out the calculator to see what a batter is hitting over, say, the last 15 or 20 games or a pitcher’s ERA. This way, you would be able to see all the players who are “hot or not” and not just a selected few based on 10 games. Your thoughts?
                                                                                                                                                                 Dave A. Jenks (Wake Forest, N.C.)
            I’d use this feature often to capture a player’s best slice of the season, and to track certain players’ roles in their teams’ pivotal stretches of the season. In my replays, I do short write-ups on every game and refer back to many player stat pages for exactly this information.
            Is there any chance we will ever see an encyclopedia function for the computer pro basketball game? I have been playing it every year since the 1990-1991 season and would love to be able to find out who are my career leaders (Michael Jordan could not possibly be leading in every category)!

Hale Jordan, Waimea, Hawaii
             Since a statistical encyclopedia is a Strat-O-Matic staple in its other computer games, one for basketball is a reasonable request. The issue with SOM’s NBA game, as always, is whether there’s sufficient interest in the gaming community to justify the programming time it takes to make significant upgrades. Despite an excellent game engine that works well for both solo and face-to-face play, basketball has long been the No. 4 sport among Strat-playing customers.
            Why don’t you run a column in Spanish? I am Puerto Rican but have lived in Florida for the last 22 years. I started playing BB SOM referred by a friend in 1967. In 1968 I bought my first complete SOM. I have now about 25 seasons of cards including the 1977 & 1979 with still the original red boxes, remember? Anyhow I know how many SOM players there are in Puerto Rico, not to mention all the Latinos that live in New York. At least we could have the instructions in Spanish for those that do not speak, write or read English (I encourage every Latino that comes to the USA to learn English). Maybe some of those would buy the game a lot more including people in Central & South America. What do you think?

Orlando Leon, Polk City, FL
            Anything that would get more people playing Strat-O-Matic is worth considering. When I published STRAT FAN, we had more customers, albeit very few, in Italy, Germany and Japan than we did in Latin countries. But if SOM is going to go bilingual, Spanish ought to be the first choice, given the passion for baseball in Central and South America and that Spanish is the second most-common language in the U.S. (not counting text messaging). As for a column, lo siento, pero mi español es muy malo. I have some vocabulary and my pronunciation is decent, but I am poor at conversation in Spanish and incompetent at writing it. 
            The football game has running back fatigue is it possible in the next version to factor in defense fatigue?
            We’re analyzing two different things. The fatigue for offensive skill players controls over-usage. On defense, where team ratings are far more prominent than individual ratings, we’re talking about an entire unit forced to be on the field for too many minutes at a time. In the NFL, defensive fatigue primarily affects the linemen, but their fatigue affects the whole unit. If I was trying to add defensive fatigue as a board-game innovation, I would start by reducing pass-rush ratings for any lineman on the field for “X” number of consecutive snaps. Or, since one man’s sack ability affects his teammates’ ability too, reduce the whole team’s rush if any lineman has been on too long. Run-stopping ratings might be reduced as well. Monitoring that gets complicated in a hurry. So, as your question implies, it’s better left to the computer game.