The Talk Show – February, 2008


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.



Put That Answer on the DL


            Alert readers noticed that an answer in The Talk Show posted on Jan. 4 was incorrect. It wrongly asserted that the Super-Advanced injury rule in the computer game also applies to pitchers in the board game. In the board game, pitcher injuries may occur only when batting or when the DH rolls a 6-12 (not when ANY batter rolls a 6-12, as in the SA computer rule).


            Board gamers who prefer the computer-game concept may innovate by doing something the computer also does: provide protection for heavier-usage pitchers. The more innings they pitch, the less likely they are to face a trip to the 60-day disabled list or the 15-day disabled list. Other injury outcomes are remainder of the game, or the pitcher shakes off the effect.


            SOM’s Director of Product Development Bob Winberry says the computer calculations are too involved for a simple board-game chart, but he said that pitchers with 300 or more innings pitched should never go on the DL. Gamers could use that model to set caps on injury duration for other innings-pitched levels. If 300 IP means no injury worse than remainder of the game (and probably only a split chance of that), then 200 IP could mean no injury worse than a trip to the 15-day DL. The levels can be set much lower for pitchers rated strictly for relief (say, 60 IP for no injury worse than the 15-day DL and 100 IP for no injury worse than reminder of the game), and lower than that for closers (say 40 IP for no injury worse than the 15-day DL and 80 IP for no injury worse than remainder of the game).



How Many Losses Can You Avoid?


            I read your book about Strat-O-Matic Fanatics and enjoyed it very much. I am glad that Hal Richman stuck with it and gave the world the best baseball game there will ever be. I am finishing up my Ph.D. in history and will state without reservation that Strat-O-Matic has helped me sharpen my analytical skills, and has alleviated stress associated with higher learning. I remember studying for my comprehensive exams for six months and being completely burnt out at times. However, the stress would ebb away once I hit the Strat-O-Matic ballpark and replayed my 1972 season. When I publish books I will always remember to thank Strat-O-Matic on my liner notes because it allowed for a much-needed escape and ultimately sharpened my focus on the task at hand.


            I would love to hear from other players about a few topics.


            First, which do players find it easier in replay seasons – winning 100 games or not losing 100? I replayed the ‘72 season and one of my enjoyable experiences was managing the Padres. My goal for teams like the Padres, and now the ‘69 Expos, is not to lose 100 games. If I can accomplish that I feel that I am a good manager. I will argue that anyone can mange a team like the ‘61 Yankees and still win 100 games, but it takes a great manager to keep the ‘72 Padres from losing 100. The Padres in my replay season got great years out of Nate Colbert (46 HR, 112 RBI) and Steve Arlin (13 wins, 2.86 ERA). However, they still lost 103 games because of a team batting average of .223 and a league-leading 148 errors. I may have lost 103 games, but the ‘72 Padres will always have a special place in my heart because it was without doubt the most hands-on job of managing I have ever done. I would love to track down all the players from the team and autograph my stat sheets, along with the players who tossed no-hitters that year. I feel that would be a great souvenir and if anyone knows how to help me accomplish this, please let me know.


            I am now managing the ’69 Expos, who out of the gate at 8-24 but have gone 6-4 in their last 10 games, so there is hope. The ‘69 replay is my most ambitious one yet because I have the schedule exactly like the actual season, rain outs and rescheduled games included. I also have the rotation set up exactly like the ‘69 season, so all the starters will start on the days they did in 1969.


            One last tip: When I replay a season, except for teams like the Padres, Expos and now the ‘69 Mets, I always quick play to the 5th inning. Ninety percent of the time the game is still close and needs the manager to be on his toes. This allows for a replay season to move along quicker and for a manager to still get a good look at all the teams without getting burnt out.


Christopher Van Hauter, Wadsworth, OH


Some Pitchers Hit Josh As Often As He Hits Them

            I was just adjusting my L/R OB for hitters (by deducting IBB) when I came across Josh Willingham.  He was HBP 16 times last year – all vs RHP.  I know that Strat gives equal units of HBP to each batter, regardless of the L/R breakdown.

            When recalculating his OB, would it be correct to compute Josh’s OB by giving him 8 HBP each for lefties and righties?  Is this how Strat computes their adjusted OB%?

Marty Bender

            If you mean adjusting Willingham’s raw stats by moving 8 HBP from the right to the left, this is something we will not receive a definitive answer about from Strat-O-Matic. That’s a card-making calculation and SOM guards that information. As for the card chances, Willingham ended up with 6 HBP chances on each side of his card.


            I need help.


            I play in a small card-and-dice draft league.  Last year I finally, after about eight years of trying, got the league to adopt the home field factor on the advanced cards.  I think it’s more fun and frustrating (same thing when it comes to SOM).  It is now known as the bling rule in honor of the diamond symbols.  After one season, it looks like it is going to be repealed by a majority of owners at our winter meetings – they want to ignore the diamonds altogether.  I need some ammo to swing some votes. So: help me out with an argument that the bling rule is necessary for statistical accuracy in a draft league.  Or something else, I don’t care.  Just need some ammo.  Tough crowd.


Rich Johnston, Cotati, CA


There are a lot of arguments in favor of ballpark effects. But some, including one of my old leagues, just don’t want change. Some ammo:


 — It’s fun, adding drama.


 — It’s fascinating. Anything that adds substantial strategy (lineup choices and game strategy) without adding significant playing time is a winner.


— It’s more realistic, statistically. Your Coors Field 40-homer guy probably isn’t a 40-homer guy away from Coors. Draft him for a high-homer park, and you get your 40. Put him in San Francisco and he shouldn’t hit 40. But if you don’t use ballpark effects, he probably will.


— It’s an equalizer, distributing the talent a bit better. A somewhat lesser team can get back in contention by tailoring its team to its home park.


— It’s practically a standard. The best I can tell from old STRAT FAN surveys, STAR Tournaments, personal experience, discussion forums and feedback from SOM, the vast majority of those who play Advanced/Super-Advanced use the ballparks. This may not matter to league members who never intend to play in any other league. But for all else, it does matter. I remember when I played my first TBA tournament, in the second year of ballpark effects on cards. My league hadn’t adopted ballparks. But the TBA used them. The ballpark I picked didn’t suit the talent I drafted. I got buried, going 5-11. Even without some weird misfortune that had nothing to do with ballparks, I would have been no better than 8-8.


Easy Mode


Does the current version of the pro football computer game have the easy mode, and where I could see some screenshots?

                                         Mark from Roseville, MI


Yes, Easy Mode, which simplifies either offensive play-calling, defensive play-calling, or both, is available in both pro and college compute football.



1951 Gets Personal


Nice articles on 1951. When I was first getting into Strat in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, I NEVER understood why Strat did not have at least the 1951 Dodgers and Giants available.


Anyway, my father, a former professional baseball player, retired in 1989 and moved to Sonoma, CA. Ironically, a few doors down and across the street was former Major Leaguer Art Schallock.  My dad and Art knew each other from their baseball careers. I visited Art’s house and he showed me (in a protected glass frame) a cover of a NY Newspaper headline from 1951 which read, “Yankees Send Mantle Down to Make Room for Schallock.”


How many people in the world have an article like that?


(Note from Schallock was acquired by The Yankees in a trade July 12, 1951 and, as you said in your article, Mantle was sent down July 15.  Schallock went 3-1 in 46 innings for the Yankees that year in his half season.)


My dad was lifelong friends with Gil McDougald, as well, visiting him several times while on business trips to NY in the ‘70s and ‘80s.


Cary A. Cardinale, Dublin, CA


Great story. I think we can say, safely, that no one else has a headline like that.