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Vol. IV, Issue #1 - January, 2016

Strat-o-matic Baseball League
Commissioner' Interviews  PART V

** "BIGS" - Rob Stricker **
      (It is time to meet so more commissioners from the various SOM Baseball Leagues that are
out there ... as these Baseball Leagues are a key foundation of the SOM World. We wish to
thank Rob for joining us in this column and offering to share about their league which is a
relatively new thing but has its own twist and was started by our contributor Chuck Tinkler.)

Notes from the Wolfman:  BIGS, (which is using the word MLB Prospects use when they go to the Majors) has two sub-leagues linked to it according to commissioner Stricker.  It has a 10 team Netplay version and a 12 Team Autoplay (another word for using the computer game with the computer manager).
Also for the teams who do not make the playoffs, they enter into a tournament which decides their positioning for their pick of the first round of their draft.  Interesting enough, our contributing writer Chuck Tinkler started this league.  Rob is the current commissioner but was not the original one. How I heard about the league, is last year on the SOM Fan Forum, I put a message out to join a second league and Rob responded.  But I made this request in July of last year and I didn't see his answer till this month.  They filled their spot in the 12 Team Autoplay version and I don't have time to do a Netplay league as my other personal and business activities (and don't ask what I do) keep me pretty busy.  Ok Commissioner Stricker, tell us all about BIGS .......


Wolfman:  Rob, I want to thank you for accepting my invitation to speak to us. So, welcome to the
Ultimate Strat Baseball Newsletter.

Rob:  It is my pleasure, I am a big fan of the newsletter.

Wolfman:  Rob, I normally ask questions first to give our members a chance to meet you and know a little bit about your background before we talk about Strat.  So first, which part of the world do you live in right now and is this where you grew up?  Then, is this the area where your league meets?

Rob:  I grew up and still live in Mid-Michigan, about two hours north of Detroit. Since The BIGS uses the computer game, its members play from all over the United States.

Wolfman:  When you were younger - did you actually play baseball and if so what was your best position?

Rob:  I did play baseball when I was younger and still enjoy it today.  My best position was pitcher but I often played first base or third base.

Wolfman:  What about which MLB team did you root for when you were younger and are you still a fan of this team.  Are there any ball  players you really followed or were your favorites?

Rob:  My favorite team now is the Detroit Tigers but I remember liking the New York Mets as a kid.  Some of my favorite players over the years were Robin Yount, Rickey Henderson, Mark Grace, Jim Abbott, and Bobby Higginson.  Currently its probably Justin Verlander or Miguel Cabrera. 

Wolfman:  How did you hear about SOM Baseball?  When did you first begin to play the game?

Rob:  I first heard about SOM in 1996.  There was a league posting at a local baseball card shop.  I answered the post and haven't stopped playing since.  I started playing the computer version in 2008 and have played over 9000 games with about 1100 being play using Netplay.  I have also played in face-to-face football and basketball leagues.

Wolfman:  What is your history participating in leagues (face-to-face or computer based)?

Rob:  I have played in face-to-face leagues from 1996 to 2008 that include one stock team league and one draft league.  After that it has been primarily computer based. 

Wolfman:  How did BIGS come into existence? Where did the name come from for your league
- what is the name of the team you manage? Can you describe the structure of your league and how the playoffs work?

Rob:  The BIGS was created in 2010 by Chuck Tinkler.  I was an original member choosing the Toronto Blue Jays as my team.  The teams started with players with their respective MLB teams and we drafted others from then on.  As I mentioned earlier the league is split between Netplay and Autoplay teams.  A 162 game season is played and each division winner plus two wild card teams in each sub-league advance to the post season.  The teams that do not make the playoffs participate in the "Battle Royale" which is essentially a separate series of playoffs that determine the first round draft order for the next season.  The BIGS is a Winter league with a season that games are played August - February.  The annual draft is usually towards the end of July.

Wolfman:  How do you create your teams - discuss the rules of your league and how you build you team (players you keep from year to year and your draft and trades)?

Rob:  The original teams started with stock players from the 2009 MLB season.  We have 25 keepers each year and draft until each team reaches 36 players.

Wolfman:  What is your life as the commissioner of BIGS?  How much time does it take, what are your duties? Do you have other officers in your league?

Rob:  Being commissioner does take time but I get great help from Chuck Tinkler and Mick Newman.  Chuck handles much of the Autoplay league details and Mick does a fantastic job keeping the league file updated.  My duties include generation of the draft and schedule, searching for and selecting new members if needed, and general administration.  

Wolfman:  Rob have you ever been the champion of BIGS?  What type of team do you like to create?  What type of team did you have in your last season?

Rob:  I have not be fortunate enough to ever have won the BIGS championship but I have built and maintained competitive teams.  We currently are in our final block of the 2015-16 season and my Blue Jays are expected to be a playoff team this year. 

Wolfman:  When you have had a successful (champion/playoff bound team) what were the keys to your success with this team (or teams)? Is there special strategies you use to build your team?  And special strategies you use when playing your games?

Rob:  I believe that successful teams have managers that are active on the trade market and are always trying to make their team better.  Good teams should draft players that fit in their particular ballpark and be able to supplement the teams with role players such as pinch hitters and runners, and specialty relievers. 

Wolfman:  We always ask those we interview if they have any tips or advice for our members that could help them with success with their game playing?

Rob:  One thing that has worked well for me is that when drafting or trading for players,  look for those with the best opportunity to get MLB playing time and remain healthy.  Draft picks are sort of like currency that you can purchase good players form the teams that want to gamble on prospects.

Wolfman:  Have you ever tried to play in the on-line baseball leagues that Strat-o-matic offers, other leagues (face-to-face or via the internet)?

Rob:  I tried SOM On-line (now called Baseball 365) one time when I had a free credit.  I am looking forward to trying the new Baseball Daily add-on that being introduced this year.

Wolfman:  What do you like about BIGS?  What are the members like in this league from your perspective? What is the key for the longevity of your league? How do you organize league play?

Rob:  The Netplay portion has a great set of managers that endure the commitment of playing 162 games head-to-head.  The Autoplay managers, great as well, have the opportunity to be more casual and take a wait-and-see approach of how their games will turn out.  The key is to have managers that love competition, SOM, and MLB.  Life does get in the way some times and managers have to leave the league for various reasons.  

Wolfman:  Have you had any special experiences (certain games that stand out in your mind that you played or series you played) being a manager in BIGS that were amazing or very unusual games, or something you are proud of. Maybe some key trade you made ....?

Rob:  One thing that stands out is that I took a 111 win team into the playoffs and was then upset in the first round of the playoffs in seven games.  When you invest so much time and passion in a team and it ends short of the goal, it hurts and can wear someone down mentally.  I won the championship in my first season playing computer SOM and not won any championship since then.  I have played 62 seasons spanning several leagues and made the playoffs in 37 of those seasons including 7 trips to the World Series.  

Wolfman:  Why do you personally like playing SOM?

Rob:  I like SOM because I am a fan of MLB and enjoy the competitiveness of the leagues.  I enjoy the ability to simulate what-if scenarios and learn about players I might not normally be interested in. 

Wolfman:  Finally is there anything else you would like to share with our members that I didn't ask you before that you think is important to let them know about?

Rob:  I would like say to the members that one of the keys to SOM draft leagues is patience.  One can not expect to win the championship every season.  Keep supporting the hobby. 

Wolfman:  So thanks Rob for spending time with us. Good Luck in your next season in BIGS!

Rob:  Thank you so much for allowing me this opportunity.

Wolfman:  And if a member of the newsletter wanted to contact you or had some questions for you, is this possible and if so what is the best way to do it? Can we share your league website perhaps?

Rob:  Sure,  I can be reached via e-mail at higgy04@yahoo.com.  In fact we do have a current opening for a Netplay manager if anyone is interested.  The league's website is http://flory.net/bigs/

Wolfman:  All the best and thank you again. {A Shout Out to Nick Flory, the webmaster for BIGS and many other leagues, for his support of our newsletter on his website - that a way Nick!}


(Final Comments from the Wolfman - as we hear from each league how they are organized, we find out how different and unique each one is ... how the leagues bring a group of gamers together to not only have fun managing and creating their own teams but it provides an opportunity to inherit a new family of friends, fellow SOM fanatics and more.  Once again, if you would like to have your league featured in this section of our newsletter, whether you are the commissioner, a league officer or just a member, feel free to email me and lets talk. You can find my email at the bottom of this page.  We have heard from five different leagues so far and I know there are thousands of league out there - each with its own special and unique story to tell - lets keep em' coming - thanks - Wolfman Shapiro :-) )



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Contained inside this exciting issue of Ultimate Strat Baseball Newsletter:
(to view the various interviews, articles, columns and special sections click on the links {underlined}
and this will take you to the appropriate webpage)


  ARTICLE by MARC PELLETIER, another well known and successful strat baseball gamer in the on-line version of the baseball game shares with us his system to evaluate positional players for the 20XX leagues on the newly renamed Baseball 365.

  STRAT WISE with MARC WASSERMAN -- commissioner of the Cyber Baseball Association (CBA) continues his column sharing various perspectives on the new and exciting new service SOM has announced called Baseball Daily (fully described in the SOM Baseball World News Page). Also speaks about the draft feature within the windows computer game version and about the USBN Youtube video channel.

  INTERVIEW with MATT EDDY, writer and editor at Baseball America, specializing in MLB Prospects plus discusses the league he plays in as well.

  INTERVIEW with PETE NELSON, our good friend and supporter, the advisor to the Council for the Strat Tournament Players Club returns and discuss his 4th champion at their supreme tournament known as the "Worlds" held in Pittsburgh the middle of January.

  SOM/MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL NEWS with WOLFMAN SHAPIRO , editor of "The Ultimate Strat Newsletter" shares with the complete details of all the new announcement Strat-o-matic made in January about the new products and services they are releasing ranging from the new Baseball Ratings Book (printed or digital) to the renaming and updating of the on-line game now called Baseball 365 to the new service called Baseball Daily to play the 2016 MLB Season to the new features in the 2016 version of the Windows Computer Game.

  ARTICLE by CHRIS McMURRY, What if you would like to change the ballpark images shown on
the three panels of the main screen of the windows game -- well Chris gives you exact the procedure
how to do it.

  RECOMMEND ON-LINE SOM RESOURCES -- On-line Strat-o-matic and Baseball related websites
that offer amazing information, special tools and products to improve your game play that we strongly recommend. In most cases, we have had personal contact with these sources who agree with the principle to work together and help promote each other.

  BOOKS TO DIE FOR and Become a BASEBALL GURU -- This page is specifically about special books we are finding that either will expand your insights about the game of Baseball, help you in the creation of your current league teams or with your replays and learn more about the Strat-o-matic Baseball Game and Game Company's history.  We have a special arrangement with Acta Sports, who is a publisher of a number of great baseball books (including Bill James Handbooks) to offer for our members a 10% discount. We will continue to add more books to this page in the future as we uncover other gems our members should know about.


Contact Us for Questions or Submissions

Wolfman Shapiro
co-Founder/Editor, the Ultimate Strat Baseball Newsletter

email: wolfman@ultimatestratbaseball.com
: www.facebook.com/wolfman.shapiro
twitter: @StratBaseball4U

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