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Vol. IV, Issue #2 - February 2016

** Welcome to "The Chuck Stop" with Chuck Tinkler **

Diamond Vision: Tales of a Strat Master (Part III)

(We welcome you to this new periodic area of our newsletter to be known as "The Chuck Stop"
which will feature one of our favorite contributors, Chuck Tinkler.  Our boy Chuck returns to continue
his epic article, sections IV & V of his tale and experiences with a special individual he has met that
was very knowledgable about the game ... a true Strat Master he says? Continuing reading on ... )

Comments from the Wolfman:  We wish to thank Chuck for yet again coming up with the next part of this fascinating article for the Ultimate Strat Baseball Newsletter.  We has decided to collect all of his articles into one place now known as The Chuck Stop.  In this edition, he is continuing his story about his experiences with the "Strat Master".  Going forward we will see from Chuck other articles and a sharing of his ideas on Strat.  Chuck always likes to chat about Strat, Hal settings and ballpark dimensions in particular, so feel free to email him with questions or comments related to this article -- his email is listed at the end.  Thank you for your contributions Chuck!!

To read any of the previous articles which Chuck has shared with our newsletter since 2014, you will find them listed below. If you haven't read the earlier parts of this article on the "Strat Master", first go to the November and December 2015 editions of this article with the links below.

(his first article for our newsletter about Ballparks - quite insightful, check it out)


(This is the link to Part I of this article about the Strat Master with Sections I & II) )

(This is the link to Part II of this article about the Strat Master with Section III)

Ultimate Strat Baseball Newsletter, member Chuck Tinkler writes an article about SOM Baseball Ball Parks  Diamond Vision:
Tales of a Strat Master
(Sections VI & V)

More insights on the "Strat Master"

Before moving on from this central point, that of Phil's desire to win, consider this quick anecdote about him: Each year the playoffs would roll around and he'd have this thing where he'd ask for your rotation before the series would start. He wouldn’t ask really, he'd demand to know. He'd say "visiting team announces first" and then look at you. You'd be like "…….uhhhh…..ok...I'm starting …" whoever and then sit there in a fog wondering from what planet did this guy just descend.

The reason he'd insist on knowing about the starters beforehand though is because he had already figured out: every single possible pitching match-up; what park he'd want his own pitchers to pitch in; what pitcher he would want his own pitcher batting against; then in what park he'd want his own pitcher hitting against that opponent's pitcher in. He just needed for you to tell him what was your rotation so he could set his rotation and make the whole thing work!

Seriously. He was an animal. He did this with everything. He was this way with everything. So again, before everything else, before all the tricks, the insight, bells and whistles, etc., it was this one, single thing that really made his magic happen: luck favors the prepared. And he used this one simple fact to his advantage over, and over, and over again.        


Guys have goals for their teams. Their goal may be to have fun, or may be to get their favorite guys, etc. Maybe their goal is to try and win now, or maybe to try and rebuild now and win later. Maybe their goal is to try and build a dominant team or even create a dynasty. This Strat Master though, he didn’t really think along these lines. He certainly was aware of how competitive his team was or wasn't, and had plans and ideas about it, but really what he had was more like a vision. It was a vision in that he had an innate sense of purpose that guided him in ways that a plan or goal can't.

By this I mean, "His Vision" created for him a lofty viewpoint that kept him from getting bogged down in the mundane details and urgencies that plague most GM's. His vision emanated from his being - it wasn't artificial or contrived - it was a product of who he was. All he knew was to dominate. It was the force of his being. He either did things to the fullest extent of human possibility or he was completely clueless about it.  This vision of his though was actually pretty simple and at the same time totally outrageous: it told him the rightful order for things in the SOM world was for him to win, FOREVER.

Phil didn't look at his draft league as a fantasy baseball league. He looked at it as a chance to be the GM he deserved to be but never got the chance to. So for him, SOM leagues were not "fun". They were business. Serious business. There was nothing "fun" about it. He agonized through the ups and downs of his team as a real GM would. Like Billy Beane not being able to watch the A's get into the playoffs, Phil was so invested in his teams that he couldn't even watch his pitchers pitch. He'd change the channel. It was too much to bear.

When he'd think about his team, or maybe the trades he made, he would always frame it in the context of being in the role of a real life GM, i.e. As he'd be wondering aloud whether or not he should trade so-and-so, he'd say things like..."Would the Brewers trade Prince Fielder for Brandon Webb…? Hmmmm…." For him, it was like, why else would anyone even play if not to win? For fun? Yeah right! This isn't a game of Candyland! Even if it were, he'd probably have like a ten-page strategy on how to take over Gumdrop Land.

Whatever the case, that's just the way he thought about SOM. When guys would name their team the "Bombers" or whatever, it'd peeve him to no end. He hated that wouldn't take it as seriously as he did. The only reason he could see for doing this whole thing was to see just how good someone could be at something. In this instance, the venue just happened to be Strat-O-Matic baseball. So it wasn't about fun, or even winning, it was about extracting every last bit of ability from your soul and seeing just what you were really made of.  That's just the way he rolled. That's the way he went about life. And so for him, beating you wasn't enough because you sucked and were obviously inferior. It was about meeting his own standard for greatness. It was about seeing just what he could do and what he was really made of. SOM was him against himself - the rest of us were more or less irrelevant. He knew that if he tapped into his best, none of us even mattered.

As far as Phil was concerned then, unless his team was pummeling the competition, something was wrong. And truth is, even when it was, something was still wrong! There was always something wrong. He was never content with anything. He might enjoy things, but he was never content. This though is what caused him to achieve at this level; this is what caused him to act. It caused him to keep at it, to push harder, to dig deeper, to come up with new ideas and think of new strategies; this vision refused to let him accept mediocre results or even contemplate them. For him, it was simple: dominate or die. And when your brain has only these two options to work with, you can imagine what it could do for you.  


So, as you might imagine, Phil's teams were good. Really good. And they were good year, after year, after year. They were so good that in our league he made the World Series five (five) years in a row. (Five.) He won three straight, should have won the 4th, and darn near won the 5th. This guy was a beast. For real. But what we want to know is how he made his teams that good and to get full depth into that, we'll have to wait until next time. Til then!

Chuck Tinker

(FINAL NOTES from the WOLFMAN: We want to thank Chuck again for continuing with this fascinating article about a real Strat Master and we can't wait to read the next section. Again, we are always open to new ideas and submissions by our members. Chuck is always up for chatting about Strat, reach him at: chucktinkler@yahoo.com  )


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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 WILLIE MAYS AIKENS, we return with our 2nd interview with ex-Major Leaguer, Willie Mays Aikens, known for being a member of the KC Royals when they went to the World Series with George Brett in the 1980's.  We ask Mr. Aiken some new questions and his experience as a hitting coach for the players in the KC Royals minors.

  STRAT WISE with MARC WASSERMAN -- commissioner of the Cyber Baseball Association (CBA) continues his new column sharing various perspectives on SOM Baseball. In this issue he discusses about his visit on "Opening Day", the top 20 cards in the 2015 MLB set and some special new videos on our Video Channel on Youtube.

  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 the members of various Strat-o-matic Baseball Leagues that he has discovered on the internet to talk about their experiences with their league. This is the first time we get to speak to a League Champion, from NASOMA, who we spoke to their commissioner in our December 2015 issue.  To read his interview, click on the link below:

INTERVIEW with Rick Lackey, NASOMA 2015 Champ, P-I (F2F/Netplay/Computer)


  SOM/MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL WORLD NEWS with WOLFMAN SHAPIRO , editor of "The Ultimate Strat Newsletter" shares two live reports from Strat-o-matic's Opening Day on February 12th, and introduces you to the Strat Tournament Players Club (STPC) Reporters who starting in March will be sharing with us the latest news and insights from this year's series of grueling and testing tournaments this year.  Also STPC and this newsletter are announcing a test tournament you can join us - we are seeking members to help us.  To read more, visit this latest version of our newsy page.

  INTERVIEW with Jim Gary, he is the head of the West Region of the Strat Tournament Player's Club (STPC) and is on their council. This is our second time to speak to Jim. For 2015 he was the points champion of the club so we inquiry to the keys to his success. It is our goal in this year to interview all the STPC council members as well as begin to share reports of what is happening in their world.

  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
Founder/Editor, the Ultimate Strat Baseball Newsletter

twitter: @StratBaseball4U

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