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Vol. V, Issue #2 - March 2017
** SOM Baseball & MLB World News **
      ( a new periodic column for 2017 where we share special news
linked to the SOM Baseball Game and MLB .... stay tuned!! )

Notes from the Wolfman
- Well fans, dear members, by now we assume most of you have already received all the new teams/seasons of printed and computer based SOM Baseball cards - you have had your league drafts now and are or soon will be starting your new seasons in your league.  We have the whole year of 2017 ahead of us for new game play, tournaments and to discover who your new league champion will be.  The card viewer app is also out now.  And soon it will be time to play Baseball Daily with your favorite teams (for me, the Chicago Cubs of course!).

In this edition of SOM Baseball & MLB World News - we have more stories about "Opening Day" that took place, last month, at the Strat-o-matic Game Company, your humble editor challenges one of the most successful Strat Tournament Player's Club champion to a dice and cards best of seven game series and we have the latest sharing from Baseball Info Solutions (with John Dewan) from their "Stat of the Week" newsletter. So sit back and enjoy our new stories ...

FLASH: FLASH: FLASH: Do You Know How "Opening Day" truly begun? Another report about "Opening Day", this past February at the Game Company; both stories from our Members.

Ultimate Strat Baseball Newsletter - Logo for 55th Anniversary of Strat-o-matic Baseball

"Opening Day" at the Strat-o-matic Game Company brings great excitement to the new year o
f game play as we always get a new edition of the computer game that includes several exciting enhancements and all the new seasons of printed and computer cards.  "Opening Day" was covered quite well this year with all kinds of video, including via our staff on-site with all the new videos you will discover on the Ultimate Strat Baseball Youtube Video Channel (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC93h4fGGI7ibBUuTxrwDrzw) plus SOM announced recently about their new Video Studio located at the Game Company. So on their own Youtube Video Channels are now all kinds of interviews they did on opening day in their new studio area including an interview with our key columnist Marc Wass, the head of our Youtube channel. 

The key interview which SOM did on "Open Day' which touched me the most was with Hal Richman, the creator of Strat-o-matic. This is a three part interview you may want to check out. To view Part I, click here.


Now the main reason for this particular news item you are reading is that we received an email from our member, Billy Stroppel, who talked about how the idea for "Opening Day" got started.  So what I am sharing below is a re-print of his two emails I received, so you can read what I read ... but before I do this, I want to publicly thank and acknowledge Billy for being the catalyst to start this very exciting tradition ...

Date: Sat, 18 Feb 2017 21:51:26 +0000 (UTC)
From: Billy Stroppel
To: Wolfman Shapiro <wolfman@ultimatestratbaseball.com>
Subject: Re: William, Ultimate Strat Baseball - Opening Day Stories - Do You Have One?

(editor's note, during our January issue, I sent out to our members asking for "Opening Day Stories" and Billy responded to me ... read on ...)

I grew up in Glen Cove NY, one train station away from Glen Head NY where Strat-o-matic's HQ is located. A literal 5 minute walk down the tracks. As a 14 yr old Newsday paperboy, in 1973, we saw the Mets almost beat the A's in the WS after upsetting the Reds.

Once Feb. '74 rolled around we figured we shouldn't have to wait 6-8 weeks for the new Strat season (to come out) so we went down the tracks and knocked on their door. The staff let us in and showed us the printing of the cards, and we handed them our newspaper tip change and told them we wanted the cards that day, not 6-8 weeks later. So they sold us the cards (then and there).

The next year, we went back again with the same result. By the third year, I brought a 20-sided die from Dungeons and Dragons and they chased us away until I convinced them we weren't salesmen but fans who tested it and that it should replace the stained and bent split cards. We met HAL and the staff every February and got our cards right off the tables continually reminding them they should let anyone walk up. That was how Opening Day began. The 20-sided die was soon added and the game prospered. 

I was there. It was me. 

Billy Stroppel


On: Saturday, February 18, 2017 3:58 PM,
From: Wolfman Shapiro <wolfman@ultimatestratbaseball.com> wrote:
To:  Billy Stroppel


what a great story - thank you for sharing ...

so have you or any of your friends that started "Opening Day", have you been to any of the so-called official days since then?

thanks for helping with the 20 sided die!

what are you doing with Strat now?



Date: Sat, 18 Feb 2017 22:21:46 +0000 (UTC)
From: Billy Stroppel
To: Wolfman Shapiro <wolfman@ultimatestratbaseball.com>
Subject: Re: William, Ultimate Strat Baseball - Opening Day Stories -  Do You Have One?


It was my cousin Jim Stroppel and myself. Once they started "Opening Day", we went on day two to beat the crowds like any New Yorker would. After I moved to the Bay Area in 1985 I had to order by mail like everyone else. I've been active in CDROMBB leagues since 2000 and play both baseball and football. 

Netplay brings the game alive when it works. No CM's, ability to manage the road games, etc. I'm hoping the promised Netplay patch works. Being able to 'travel' to another park and see different settings other owners use is priceless, in my opinion. Next best thing as face-to-face cards and dice. 



We also heard from another one of our members, due to my post to everyone in February, Gary Rosenthal answered my call.  So please find below the two emails I received from Gary:

From: "Gary Rosenthal"
To: <wolfman@ultimatestratbaseball.com>
Subject: Story about Opening Day!
Date: Tue, 28 Feb 2017 19:26:04 -0500

Good Morning Wolfman,

I was able to attend my first Opening Day this year and had a blast.  Meeting fellow gamers from around the local area and the country was terrific.

Myself and a few members of our league here in Staten Island NY were interviewed by one of the Ultimate Start newsletter staff.  He asked that we reach out as we just completed our first year playing together saying that the newsletter would like to know more about us.

Well…..   here we are and we are more than happy to let the SOM world about the Straten Island Baseball Association (SIBA).

Best Regards,



(I emailed Gary back and asked for more details on his experiences at "Opening Day" and this is what he had to share ....)

From: "Gary Rosenthal"
To: "'Wolfman Shapiro'" <wolfman@ultimatestratbaseball.com>
Subject: RE: Story about Opening Day
Date: Wed, 01 Mar 2017 23:06:07 -0500

Hi Wolfman...

I have been a subscriber to the newsletter for a little over a year.  I enjoy the insights and articles.  Thank you for putting it all together.

Opening Day-

This was my first time going to Opening Day in all my years as a Player of the Game (off and on for 35 yrs).  All that I have read about it is true....

It's COLD!!!   I and 3 others from our League made the Trip to Glen Head.

Myself, Andy and Phil, all from Staten Island made the hour and a half trip. Chris, our other league member who joined us is from queens, is much closer. I enjoyed meeting people from all over the country.  The group of guys ahead of us were from Michigan and flew out for the day.  They also walked out with a hand truck full of cards. 

What was also interesting was everyone talking about their leagues (with pride). 

I also got the pleasure of trying and the new Card Reader App, which looks great.  I like that you could make a "Custom Team".  I signed up as a beta tester to I am hoping to give it a good work out.  The idea of having the cards on my tablet and being able to play Start without having to carry all the cards.. Great!

I was also great seeing Adam and Hal again. I had meet them at the Baseball Hall of Fame over the summer.  They had a baseball film weekend and were showing the Start Movie along with Q&A to follow.  I thought it was a great adaptation of the book hearing Adam's outlook for the future of the company was nice to hear.

As for our League, we have no "Commissioner".  Everyone has an equal say and majority rules the way.  Six of us (5 from Staten Island) all meet on Facebook and thought we would give putting a league together a go.  WE finished our first year, just crowed our First League Champ and will have our Second Year Draft on Mar 12th.

Have a great night Wolfman ....


I hope you enjoyed these extra stories - so now you know how "Opening Day" started, thanks ...


FLASH: FLASH: FLASH: Here are the last report I received issued by Baseball Info Solutions that discusses a projection on two MLB Teams Up-the-Middle Defense ....


Up-the-Middle Defense Projections

February 23, 2017

We are just getting started with Spring Training, but projection season is already in full swing, so let's take a peek at our Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) projections for 2017.

Below are the teams with the best and worst projected up-the-middle fielders (i.e. catcher, second baseman, shortstop, and center fielder). This is often a good proxy for overall defensive quality because non-catcher up-the-middle fielders see over one-third more opportunities per season than the corner positions do, and catchers can provide value on every single pitch.

We project the Blue Jays to be the best up-the-middle defensive team in 2017 with a total of 27 Runs Saved, and in fact they are the only team whose worst position among that group is still projected to be above average. It should not be too surprising to see them at the top of the heap given the defensive reputation of some of the players involved.

                Toronto Blue Jays Primary
           Up-the-Middle Fielders
Pos Player 2017 Proj DRS* 2016 DRS*
C Russell Martin 6 7
2B Devon Travis 2 2
SS Troy Tulowitzki 5 10
CF Kevin Pillar 12 21
*At the position listed

Kevin Pillar fills up the highlight reel and has been a top-five defensive center fielder both of the last two years, and we project him to be second-best this year to another Kevin, Kiermaier of the Rays. While Troy Tulowitzki has not been an elite defensive shortstop in some time (he finished in the top five in DRS at his position in four of his first five full seasons), he still has not finished outside the top 10 in any of the last four seasons. One of the big reasons Russell Martin commanded an $82 million contract in 2014 is that he is one of the best pitch framers in the league, providing at least six Strike Zone Runs Saved every year that we have computed it (since 2010), which adds up to the second-best total in that time period. And the table above does not even include utility men Darwin Barney and Ryan Goins, who are two of the better defensive middle infielders in the league and will contribute to the overall team defensive quality.

On the other end of the spectrum are the Mets, whose ballyhooed starting rotation might end up underperforming again if our projection of -19 runs saved by their most important fielders is borne out.

       New York Mets Primary
       Up-the-Middle Fielders
Pos Player 2017 Proj DRS* 2016 DRS*
C Travis d'Arnaud -5 -4
2B Neil Walker -1 0
SS Asdrubal Cabrera -9 -7
CF Curtis Granderson -4 1
*At the position listed

New York was in the market for a center fielder this offseason (although one target was Andrew McCutchen, who we noted a couple weeks ago has struggled in center), but now they will have to make do with 36-year-old Curtis Granderson. To begin the season, he projects to get most of the work in center field—ahead of a much better fielder in former Fielding Bible Award winner Juan Lagares—in his first substantial time at the position since 2012. On the other end of the field, Travis d’Arnaud is an above average pitch framer (he has the tenth most Strike Zone Runs Saved in the league since 2013 despite missing substantial time to injury), but his arm and pitcher-handling deficiencies have kept him from being an above average defender overall. Lastly, Asdrubal Cabrera’s range has been a liability for some time now (he has not had a Range and Positioning Runs Saved above -5 since 2011), and we project him to be the worst defensive shortstop in the league this season, tied with Xander Bogaerts.

Note: We only listed the players who project to get the majority of work at each position. The team totals account for all players who project to fill that position over the course of the year.


The Bill James Handbook 2017
(Note: if you put in the code SOMB for your order of this book, you get our 10% member discount)

The prize of our winter hibernation.
—Peter Gammons

The most essential
annual published
for the baseball fan.

—Rob Neyer

Bill James and the team at Baseball Info Solutions are dedicated to producing the best stats, and the best analysis of those stats, so that is why baseball fans and professionals alike study The Bill James Handbook as soon as it comes out each year—the first-to-markett, most comprehensive, and most fun baseball annual for 28 consecutive years. Here is the 2017 edition, complete with:

  • New! Hits Gained and Lost to the Shift
  • Exclusive! The Annual Fielding Bible Awards
  • Updated! Leader Boards, Defensive Shifts, Pitch Velocity, Managers, Park Indices
  • New! Long Fly Out & Home Run Breakdowns
  • Complete! Career Data for Every 2016 Major Leaguer (and a few bonus players)
  • Unique! Win Shares, Career Targets, Hall of Fame Monitor, Instant Replay Analysis
  • First! Hitter & Pitcher Projections for 2017

Paperback, $29.95

Copyright © 2017 by John Dewan.

Permission to reprint or broadcast this information is granted only if used in conjunction with the following citation: "Used with permission from
John Dewan's Stat of the Week®,

If you are not already subscribing to John Dewan's Stat of the Week® and would like to start receiving it e-mailed free to your inbox each week, click here.


FLASH: FLASH: FLASH: Did you Hear About the Challenge of the Century?  The Wolfman plays Pete Nelson, Worlds Champ and Strat Tournament Player's Club Legend, in a face-to-face showdown using Dice and Cards and Teams from the 2017 STPC World's Tournament.


As our readers know, your humble editor is fearless and has challenged all kinds of well known and respected strat baseball gamers to play against over the years ... but this time the Wolfman's challenge was against Pete Nelson, a multi-champion within the Strat Tournament Player's Club, who is very well respected.  Pete accepted the challenge and on a Saturday morning, in his home, near Seattle, the two legends came together for a best of seven game series following the tournament rules.


The Wolfman wanted to find out and see for himself, what magic Pete Nelson had.  Pete selected the team he used in the most recent championship series the club offers in January of each year called the Worlds (which we reported in our January 2017 issue) and the Wolfman selected a team drafted by another gamer within Pete's division at the Worlds, that did actually make the tournament's playoffs.


To read about the game by game report and who was the victor, head over to the following page within this edition of this newsletter, at:




Note: -- if you have a new story you think our readers might enjoy linked to Strat-o-matic please feel free to email us your story by contacting Wolfman at: wolfman@ultimatestatbaseball.com



Support the Cause

If you are enjoying the content and information our newsletter shares with you, why not support us with your helpful donation for our minor expenses and time?

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 RON SHANDLER, Baseball Fantasy Expert, Throughout the fantasy baseball world, in all the various forms of Fantasy Baseball, there is no one more well known and respected as Ron Shandler. He started the website Baseball HQ, the very successful baseball guide called Baseball Forecaster and now he offers the new BABS Project for winning in your fantasy league.   We had the chance to speak to Ron and to get to know him a bit better as well as find out what the BABS project is all about in Part I, of a two part interview series we will be doing with him.

  ARTICLE with WOLFMAN SHAPIRO - Wolfman Challenges STPC Worlds Champion Pete Nelson, The Strat Tournament Players Club, is known as the most expansive and challenging series of Strat-o-matic Baseball Draft tournaments world wide. Pete Nelson has been one of the main organizers and supporters of these tournaments for many years as well as one of their repeat champions in their classic Worlds Tournaments.  Pete lives close by to our editor Wolfman in the Seattle area, so at the end of January, these two giants played a best of seven game series following the tournament rules of this club. Find out how this epic battle of SOM Baseball heavies went ....

  STRAT WISE with MARC WASSERMAN commissioner of the Cyber Baseball Association (CBA) continues his new column sharing various perspectives on SOM Baseball. For his article this month he discusses about vintage strat-o-matic cards and how to find the best deals and prices to get them.

  INTERVIEW with CHRIS WILLIAMS, Strat Baseball Author, Chris is a fellow strat baseball gamer and new member to our newsletter who has just recently become the author of a new book through Acta Sports by the title of, "Coulda Woulda Shoulda", a very entertaining book about "What If" scenarios that might have changed the history of baseball. In this interview, meet Chris and find out more about his new book.

  SOM BASEBALL LEAGUE REPORT with WOLFMAN SHAPIRO -- the editor of "The Ultimate Strat Newsletter" and 2012 CBA Champion, turns his attention to talk to members of various face-to-face Strat-o-matic Baseball Leagues that he has discovered through the league registry service offered
on the Strat-o-matric website. Each commissioner speaks about the history of their league and their experiences. To read the interview for this month, click on the link below:

INTERVIEW with HARRIS JESSOP, Winter Need a Life League Commissioner (Netplay)

  ARTICLE with CHUCK TINKLER, Chuck is one of our most popular contributors and is back with a new article for his column, "The Chuck Stop", as he continues his article he calls "Old Guys Rule" with Part III. This article deals with the value of a 1st round draft pick and more - Chuck always entertains our readers with his insightful and colorful stories and experiences - check out this latest edition now!

  ARTICLE with WOLFMAN SHAPIRO - How to Setup Your Draft League Team, the Final Part of this article, Wolfman, finish the last segment of this three part article to share with our members the meat and potatoes of his various strategies how to build his 2017 Skokie Wolfmen in the CBA, a Keepers computer league. In this segment, he discusses the results of the CBA draft held in early March with both this written article and some supplemental entertaining videos.  By using his team as an example, you may receive from this article some suggestions and new strategies you can use to help build your own team and bring to your fans a league's championship.

  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 idea and key principle about working together to 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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