THE TALK SHOW
Host: Glenn Guzzo
Reminder: Send us your “Great Moments in Strat” – your playing experiences that you just have to share.
Anniversary Wishes for Strat-O-Matic
The year 2011 will mark the 50th anniversary of Strat-O-Matic. Would the game company consider reprinting the entire 1961 season the same way they do other past seasons, (two-sided card format, one-color basic, three-color advanced) since 1961 is special both for Strat and the home run chase? When first printed it was one color (black) and now out of circulation. Reprinting it would be great for many gamers, and would match other past seasons in color format (i.e. 1963, 1965 etc) Since many of your patrons are in their 40s or older, it would sell well.
Phil, Passaic NJ
I’ve found this sort of assumption – whatever my friends and I would like, must be popular – to be common among gamers. But I learned long ago not to assume what “will sell well” for a company that needs more sales than all the people I know who will buy it. Because all my friends were playing in draft leagues, I assumed that’s the most common way SOM baseball was played. In fact, when STRAT FAN (the magazine I published in the ‘90s) did an annual survey, every time it showed that the most popular way to play SOM baseball was solitaire, and with stock teams.
That said, special promotions marking Strat-O-Matic’s 50th anniversary seems to a natural, but there is no hint yet on what those will be.
More WHA, Please
Do you know if SOM management has any plans to release more seasons of the World Hockey Association?
I am replaying the 1975-76 season now on the computer game. That season is probably the WHA’s pinnacle, but I believe there may be other SOM hockey gamers out there who remember the league pretty well while they were growing up in the 1970s. I saw some of the Philadelphia Blazers and New Jersey Knights games live in the league’s early days, and the league’s fast paced, wide open and highly entertaining brand of hockey feels the same way on SOM’s computer game. The high scoring hockey is a ton of fun on the computer game.
The league rosters also were dotted with many great players and interesting players in addition to Gordie Howe and Bobby Hull, and I do believe the seasons would sell to the passionate players of SOM’s hockey games.
Gary Kinn, Marlton, NJ
Strat-O-Matic soon will run out of post-1955 National Hockey League seasons to re-create, so that could offer the best opportunity for other WHA seasons. As for sales, SOM has repeatedly said that classic seasons are marginal sellers. And the WHA represents a marginal part of pro hockey. So if we see more of that league, it won’t be because SOM sees a gold mine, or a silver mine, in doing so.
One At-Bat, One Card
I have a curiosity: I recently purchased the 1906 Cubs and was amazed to see the card for Tom Walsh, who had a lone at-bat. I’m sure there must be cards like that on other old-time teams. Do any come to mind?
Many thanks for your continued input and involvement with SOM. After I experience the 2009 cards, it’s on to the Negro Leagues – and kudos to SOM (deservedly so) for all the publicity they’ve been getting on their release. Lo and behold, Scott Simkus lives in a town about a half hour from me!
Chris Bacchi, Woodridge, IL
Very, very few players with fewer than 10 at-bats have earned cards. But in Strat-O-Matic’s early days of 20-player teams, occasionally a team would get only 19 cards because there was no one else with enough at-bats or innings pitched worth carding. The 1905 New York Giants, from the same set as your 1906 Cubs, had only 17 players, although 13-at-bat Offa Neal was not carded. In the computer game, however, Strat-O-Matic has been giving ratings to every player with at least 1 at-bat or 1 inning pitched.
Doubles for Ws?
Our face-to-face baseball league, The New York Long Island Strat League, is entering its 11th season of play this year. Recently, some league owners have been engaged in an increasingly contentious debate regarding “W” rated batters. At our Winter Meetings this year, one of the proposals on the agenda was to slightly alter the current Strat rules so that, when a batter rated “W” successfully rolls for a ballpark home run, the resulting hit should be turned into a Double*** instead of a Single**.
The proposal did not pass, in part because there is a belief that the cards are constructed specifically to reflect both the number and the type of hits that each batter had that year. Changing a single to a double, then, would reward the batter in a way that Strat-O-Matic never intended to. Among the advocates of the proposal, the thought was that if a batter hit a ball hard enough that it would go out of the ballpark for most hitters, surely it would “roll to the wall” and still go for extra bases even for the weakest hitter.
Can you shed some light on why a successful ballpark home run for “W” batters only results in a single? If you had a vote, would you change the rule?
Jack Flynn, Queens, NY
The “nays” have it – if you pass such a rule you will inflate doubles in a way Strat-O-Matic is trying to avoid. The single for “W” batters preserves batting average without adding doubles. Those batters already should get their doubles from their cards and pitcher cards. Rather than think of those hits as balls hit deeply, imagine something different: A pitch that many batters would hammer out of the park was merely drilled for a line-drive single by that “W” batter.
Injury Scam is Ruining a League
An injury flaw in computer football ran rampant this season for my league as knowledge of the flaw spread. This is the situation where one of our guys stumbled on to it. So the next step is the shenanigan to clear out all back-ups from every formation when starting a net-play game so the only injuries that can occur is when you manually substitute for a starter from the play selection screen and the sub gets hurt. The reference point appears to be the current formation used in the play from the computer manager.
It becomes ridiculous as you have to wait five minutes after connecting through net-play while the other guys wipes out all his back-ups to avoid as many injuries as possible. I’m tired of seeing the “No back-up, no injury” flash up every time I throw a 5-5-5.
In a longer discussion at a Super Bowl party many of us attended, we discussed that this should be a simplistic fix of having the injury validation check run on the overall roster table, instead of the current formation table that can be manipulated. For example, if the back-up center is playing at left guard due to injury to the starting LG because he’s rated as a guard and better than the pair of 0-0 guards on the roster. In this situation, a potential injury to the starting C defaults to the no back-up, no injury, because the back-up is playing another position. By referring to the overall roster table, the validity check need only find another player who can play center as healthy on the roster.
While waiting to see if Strat-O-Matic will close this loophole, your league has an easier fix: Outlaw this cheating. If “cheating” is too strong a word for something your league has not outlawed, then it’s certainly unethical. If your league doesn’t think it can prevent unethical coaches from doing this even if it’s outlawed, then eliminate injuries altogether. But if your league doesn’t think these “shenanigans” violate the spirit of its competition, and won’t do anything about it, maybe it’s time to find another league. It’s important to realize that this is not a bug – it’s not SOM’s job to fix this. It’s your job to see that the people you play with don’t abuse the game. No matter what SOM does with its products, undesirable league members will look for ways to manipulate them.