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Vol. III, Issue #4 - December 2015

** Strat Wise - Part II **
(by Marc Wasserman, Commissioner of the Cyber Baseball Association {CBA} )

(Note from the Wolfman: - For those of you who have been following our newsletter, you are already familiar with the column called "Commissioner's Corner written by Marc Wasserman, the commissioner of the CBA as he has discussed his experiences and insights about being a commissioner of a Strat-o-matic baseball league. Well as he announced in our last issue (November 2015), he has decided to go with a new column which he calls "Strat Wise" where he shares with us his unique and special insights on a variety of topics that are linked and important to the Strat Baseball World. This is his second column as he takes us on some directions ... so let's link in now and listen to what Marc has to say ....)

Ultimate Strat Baseball Newsletterr, Marc Wasserman, CBA Commissioner, Head of Strat Alliance, partner with Ultimate Strat Baseball Newsletter
Computer Game Rule Features, Comments on the Bundy Sheets and an old Interview with James Williams, SOM 2015 Ratings and other goodies ....

So we meet here again.  Glad to have you all onboard with us here at the newsletter.   So here I go once again, "Rolling the dice" and hitting you with what comes into my Strat-o-matic mind.  Couple of things that have come my way this past month since I last wrote this column.

For starters: How about some Rules issues that came up in one of the StratAlliance leagues, which you might find interesting.  There was a decision made to regulate the maximum use of miscellaneous rules.  I imagine some other leagues have discussed whether or not to allow certain computer game only features to be used for draft league play.  Without question these features maximize the enjoyment of the game, but, on the other hand do they alter the game too much from the dice and card game that we know? 

There are points to be made on each side of this discussion.  I was asked for and so I offered my opinion. For the most part Captain Obvious says, "do what they guys feel is best suited to what they want".  Yeah, ok.  Good way to polarize a league and start a public debate over something so innocuous. The great 'Max Rule Paradox' then of course will appear.  That is it.  It makes the game more realistic toward actual MLB play recreations, but does it alter the version of the Strat-o-matic Baseball Game as we are used to playing it?  Is is not a harmful set of features you know guys... lets list them here:

Doubles/Triples rule

Improve Statistical accuracy

Pitcher's Clutch

Pitch around

Errors on Pickoffs and bunts

More Baserunning decisions and realism.

Throwing errors

OF Distribution.

These features though are exclusive only to the computer game, and they do indeed affect the logic and probabilities of your season and game play.  This is clearly stated in the help section of the computer game.  All the guides and prep can not prepare some gamers for the factors that toggling these extra features on can cause.  Without transparency, leagues must seriously decide whether they want to take the strategy out of the hands of the gamers who are sending in their CM's or playing their Netplay games.

The Doubles/triples rules uses a randomizer which isn't too bad, but what about the normalizing affect of the improve statistical accuracy and outfield distributions?  The effect is not minimal and can drastically impact ball games, at bats, and thus season's and pennant races.  I will say this much, if your league craves this accuracy mechanism, then no game is better, period.  These toggles are outstanding and work extremely well.  But some gamers want more control over their strategy and even choosing which probabilities and cards are best suited for their needs.  This then is a Paradox right?  I love this, but I am not in favor of these extra features for a draft league replay.  I am definitely in favor for recreations and simulations.  Below is what the game company states about these rules:

For a long time the Strat-O-Matic board game player's tradeoff is getting an improved game at the cost of a slight loss of game engine visibility.  This group of users are somewhat split on whether or not to use the maximum rules, but it is clear that most are using some, if not all, of them.

"So, just how is the game engine altered?  Well, this depends upon the mix of the Maximum Rules that you have selected, but the game engine changes fall into one or more of the following categories:

DICE ADJUSTMENTS - Random numbers are used with a series of complex calculations to determine whether or not to override certain play results. If this determination is made, then there is another dice roll that is made internally and the final play result is displayed on the screen.  The on screen dice do not animate until the final play result has been determined.

SPLIT ADJUSTMENTS - Random numbers are used, again with a variety of calculations, to determine whether or not split card readings are to be overridden.  The split result is not animated until a final determination is made of the play.

CARD ADJUSTMENTS - Certain portions of the card results are overridden.  For example, say you turn on the "More baserunning decisions" Maximum Rule.  If you get a Single* the result of the "*" (which means that all base runners advance just one base) is ignored and a more complex and realistic base running system is used.

Considering how the game operates, some leagues may want to explore this with their rules committees and decide what fits for their own particular situations.  For me there's nothing like reading the sheets, and looking at the cards.  I have an extensive collection of vintage Strat cards from my youth and other acquisitions I have made, and I love the dice and cards enough to still use them, and look at them.  Old traditions die hard, and for my league the hidden variables are not the best fit or us 'ole dice rollers...

Next up, how about the Bruce Bundy's Projection Spreadsheets?  These sheets came in pretty handy for me in my own league.  They gave to me a really strong template which I could rely upon for my insights on my team's cards.  It's so advanced that it even takes into account the sub chances of the dice roll probability.  It basically accounts for the split cards results incorporated into the hit results.  Remember 3 dice, but 20 split possibilities.  Bruce's sheets have a key to help you understand these ratings.  Check out this page that we have on our site which discusses his projection sheets so you can read how to use these spreadsheets in more detail. To read more about the Bundy Projection Sheets, click here.

Now, to really get the jist of how the cards and this probability thing works and why it is important in understand the mechanics of the baseball cards, you should step back into time and read the Bundy Articles on card creation. You can find these articles located at:  http://www.cba-bb.net/Bundy.htm  

It is the most comprehensive resource you could read to help you understand the deeper intellect of Strat.  It's an old web page, but it has been around for awhile plus there are some other retro Strat goodies on this page you might appreciate. This is not for everyone of course.  It does require some mathematical ability or reasoning.  However the math is not Common Core stuff, it's straightforward 'order of operations' you might say.  Also known as P.E.M.D.A.S. if you will {Parenthesis, Exponent, Multiply or Divide whichever comes first.  and Add or Subtract whichever comes first}.  It is the foundation if you want to reach the next level of your game play, a master level to exaggerate it a bit.  It's basic college 101. As they say, "If there is no pain then there is no gain".

From our Very Interesting Department: On this same Bundy webpage are some older StratAlliance articles and interviews.  Bruce Bundy had done some insightful interviews with special individuals who are or have been key individuals at the game company such as James Williams, Steve Barkan, plus an old interview with the computer game programmer Bob Winberry plus even a StratAlliance interview with Hal Richman himself.  I got a kick out of reading and hearing these individuals again.  One realizes as you list to these materials how the baseball game has changed and grown so much since then, we must thank all of these amazing people.

Once again here is the:

Ultimate Strat Baseball Youtube Channel:

From our Video Channel shown above which is aired via Youtube:  James Williams, if you are not familiar with him (or read our interview with him before) was an original Strat-o-matic employee who had a key role in helping with the development of the game.  We recently uploaded a special interview conducted with Mr. Williams by Bruce Bundy and I have to tell you, it is priceless. It provides the listener so amazing insights that reaches into the game itself.  Bruce and James discuss the testing of the game, plus the creation of the college football game too.  You even get to hear, who the best SOM employee gamers were.  It's a fun ride Stratofanatico's!   You can listen to this James Williams interview and see some photos of the SOM crew provided by Bruce on our video channel.  Also, if you go to our page "SOM Baseball World News", in this issue, you will find a direct link to this interview plus all the other new videos we have added to our Video Channel for this release of the newsletter. So if you are ready to check it out, click here to go to our World News Page.

You will also find another installment of the "Commsioner's Corner" as well on the Ultimate Strat Baseball video. We are doing our best to combine our video channel with the on-line newsletter to offer to our members they very best information we can gather and keep things interesting. These days, people like to watch videos!   So therefore, we strongly recommend that you subscribe to our video channel so you don't miss what we have coming up and we do have some great new videos coming up for 2016. 

For example, we will once again have exclusive coverage of "Opening Day 2016" and we have a few surprises lined up as well.  It will be a phenomenal year to be a Strat-o-matic fanatic and a member of this newsletter.  A little bit of a scoop here, there is a rumor that SOM has really stepped up the baseball game for the next coming year. It's always a treat to see what Bob Winberry (the programmer) and the game company come up with.   Last year it was the draft component, and who knows what could be next?  I just can't wait for "Opening Day". Join us on this day and say hello.  The opening day attendees get everything first before anyone else as you all know.

Again, on our SOM News Page, you will find more information about the range ratings documents that came out this month, but here is what I saw that stood for me:  Kansas City gets 5 one rated fielders. Sal Perez, Hosmer, Dyson, Gordon, and Escobar.  But note, Dyson may get the 1 in CF, but drops to a 3 in RF and a 1 in LF contrary to the 'OF Defense' rule. Holy Toledo.  I can recall the 1976 Big Red Machine having 4 ones.  Can you name them?   Mike Trout got his one of course.  Oakland's defense looks very shoddy. Mostly 4's, 5's, some 3's.  Fuld gets a one though.  They are doomed.  Steven Vogt gets a 3 at catcher, and that bat should make him one of the top catchers.  Ryan Goins gets a one at2B, and looks like a good utility card coming with multiple positions.   AJ Pollock moves into the elite with a one in CF, but Nick Markakis drops to a 3 in RF, shocker there.  Cincy's Kris Negron plays 'em all 'cept catcher, though none too well, all fours... For a full list of all the "1"-s SOM gave out for the new set, see our page called "SOM Baseball World News" (click here).

Speaking of vintage cards, we strongly recommend you go to Moonlight Graham's Marketplace, his website is - http://moonlightgrahamsmarketplace.com/  -- they have some great vintage Strat cards for the hardcore Strat Fanatics, all of your favorite players.  Just E-mail them for a pricelist.  Of course the game company has a fantastic sale on their merchandise right now too, so hurry before the holiday fever ends.

Gary Simonds' website is still a great place to visit even though he hasn't linked with us yet (but hopefully this might happen in the future). Check his site out if you want some real Strat goodies like great alternative ballpark photos for the Japanese leagues, as well as MLB and MILB parks.  There are SOM schedules, Historical seasons As played, Board game resources, and so much more. Head over to his website at: http://www.oocities.org/gls84/somlinks.html and give it a look.

Till next time,

-- Let them dice roll! 

Marc Wass


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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)


  INTERVIEW with MARC PELLETIER, another well known and successful strat baseball gamer in the on-line version of the baseball game offers us insights from his genius.

  ARTICLE with DOUG BRUNET, another member of our newsletter shares his thoughts about the game of baseball and its connections with Strat-o-matic as well as his philosophies of how to succeed in your game play. Doug is a member of the CBA Council, a computer baseball league.

  ARTICLE with CHUCK TINKLER (Part II), a continuation of the article by Chuck, one of our members sharing about a real Strat Master that he met in his early days of playing Strat-o-matic

  SOM BASEBALL LEAGUE REPORT with WOLFMAN SHAPIRO -- the editor of "The Ultimate Strat Newsletter" and 2012 CBA Champion, the "Wolfman" puts out a call to commissioners of various Strat-o-matic Baseball Leagues that he discovers on the internet and shares two more replies he received from these leagues to be interviewed and tell their stories! This is the second part of this report.  To read the individual interview, click on the links below or start with Part III and follow the in-page link to read the second interview as well:

INTERVIEW with Glenn Wheeler, NASOMA, P-III

  SOM/MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL WORLD NEWS with WOLFMAN SHAPIRO , editor of "The Ultimate Strat Newsletter" shares about the 2015 Baseball Fielding Rating File released by the Game Company, revisits the status of what 2016 MLB projections are already available to obtain and study and shares about some of the new videos that are available on the Ultimate Strat Baseball Channel on Youtube - more good stuff is on this page - head over there NOW!

  REPORT with TOM NAHIGIAN (1961 cards) Personal friend of the Wolfman, known in Guzzo's book as "The Collector", returns and we take a peak at some of the early strat cards printed from 1961 from the New York Yankees and the Los Angeles Dodgers.

  ARTICLE about WOLFMAN SHAPIRO written by DONNA CHEVRETTE -- the editor of "The Ultimate Strat Newsletter" and 2012 CBA Champion, the "Wolfman" goes back into the far past and pulls out one of his first articles to the Strat-o-matic Review from 1973, when he really was becoming known as the "Wolfman" (the Skokie Wolfman) as he challenged one of the first female strat gamers, Donna Chevrette to a play against him via play-by-mail.  Two series were played with All Star players from 1971, one report is written by Wolfman and the other by Miss Chevrette, it was called "The Battle of the Sexes", this month we hear Ms. Chevrette report of Series II.

  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
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twitter: @StratBaseball4U

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