Pulling Strat-o-matic baseball out of the closet for an All-Star project

By PATRICK GORDON | Managing Editor
July 2 2015, 10:00 AM EST.
@PGordonPBR

About a year and a half ago, just prior to the birth of my son, I started playing Strat-O-Matic Baseball. Long a loyalist to the PC-driven Diamond Mind Baseball, I wanted to try something different so the card-and-dice version of Strat made perfect sense.

Within hours of sitting on the floor in my man-cave with the directions sprawled out, I was hooked.

Unfortunately, after playing for a while (and now as my baby has grown to be a toddler), I found two major drawbacks with the card-and-dice version of the game - the difficulty in tracking statistics by hand and the amount of time it takes to complete a game using the super-advanced rules.

If you are looking to just play a single game neither of the drawbacks are an issue, but if you're the tournament and season replay type (like me) it's just too difficult with limited time to knock out a fun project.

Tracking statistics the old-school way by hand is refreshing at first, but it quickly turns into a chore if you're trying to keep anything meaningful beyond the basics like batting average, earned run average, strikeouts and homers. For me, as someone who seeks out advanced metrics and statistics, it's tough to not have these figures at my fingertips (my love for Diamond Mind is unwavering, for this very reason plus the realism).

For those unfamiliar, Strat-O-Matic offers three game-types using different sets of rules; simple, advanced and super advanced. Without getting too into the details, the different sets of rules increase the amount of realism and possibilities in the game. Being the type that always is seeking the most realistic option, I prefer the super advanced version but it's tough to complete a game in less than 45 minutes.

As a relatively new father, I just don't have the time to dedicate to a major replay or tournament.

With that said, I'm going to pull Strat out of the closet during the All-Star break and knock out a few exhibition games between an interesting pair of teams: one comprised entirely of Hall of Famers enshrined as Philadelphia-based players (with one exception) and the other full of the best talent ever to play in the Negro Leagues.

I'll play three games between the two clubs and track box scores and statistics, allowing for story write-ups and some insight. I wanted to use a team of Negro stars to pay homage to the East-West Classic, the Negro League version of MLB's All-Star Game.

Rosters
PHI: Foxx, Sandberg, Schmidt, Baker, Bancroft, Cochrane, Ashburn, Hamilton, Klein, Thompson, Simmons, Alexander, Carlton, Roberts, Bender, Grove, Plank, Waddell. (The Phillies do not have a 2B enshrined in Cooperstown, so Sandberg's ties to the club make him the only logical fit.)

NEG: Leonard, J. Robinson, Marcelle, Lloyd, Gibson, Mackey, Bankhead, Irvin, Charleston, Torriente, Dihigo, S.J. Williams, Rogan, Paige, Donaldson, W. Foster, R. Foster

The Negro roster comes from the Pittsburgh Courier's 1952 poll of fans, players and executives and basically exists as an all-time team.

Pitching Probables
Game 1: Grover Alexander vs. Smokey Joe Williams

Game 2: Steve Carlton vs. Bullet Joe Rogan

Game 3: Robin Roberts vs. Satchel Paige

More information to come next week ...

- The Philadelphia Baseball Review is the top baseball news source in Philadelphia, providing news coverage and analysis of all things baseball related in the Philadelphia region.

4 comments:

Don Knerr said...

FYI - there is an online version of Strat O Matic baseball that is much more time-friendly to play. onlinegames.strat-o-matic.com

Patrick Gordon said...

Don - thanks for the message and the read. I wanted to steer away from the computer for a bit as I've played Diamond Mind for 15+ years, that's why I went cards-and-dice. How do you like Strat online?

Alan K said...

Great idea, but two suggestions: 1) add Ed Delahanty as he actually did play some 2B as well as being a great hitter and Eddie Collins and 2) try APBA baseball!

Patrick Gordon said...

Alan - I love Eddie Collins and the fact he spent 12 years in Philly is worthy enough to take Sandberg's spot, especially now that Sandberg isn't affiliated with Philadelphia. As for Delahanty, he's not enshrined as a Philadelphia player despite the fact he spent the majority of his career here. He would make a nice addition, though. Thanks for the comment.