Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Strat-O-Matic League

Last night the 86-76 Red Sox (managed by Chris...it was Chris, right? I'm so bad with names) traveled to Baltimore to take on Brian Bankler's Orioles (70-92). Early on David Ortiz had his way, launching two homeruns and a single for 3 RBI in his first three at-bats. But everything fell apart for Curt Schilling in the 6th, as he hit two batters and intentionally walked a third, setting up catcher Ramon Hernandez for a grand slam. Closer Chris Ray struck out Ortiz and Manny Ramirez back-to-back to finish the 9-5 victory.

We now have five people interested in a league (myself, Ted, Brian, Chris, Michael). If anyone else is interested, let me know soon. Here's how the league will be structured:
  • Everyone will pick a real-life team. For example, we talked about the five people above replaying the AL East, with Chris and Brian taking their hometown favorite Red Sox and Orioles, Michael taking the Yankess so he can pound on the Sox, me taking the 61-101 Tampa Bay Devil Rays for comic relief, and Ted getting the surprising Toronto Blue Jays (90 wins in 2006).
  • Everyone will play a total of 6 games against each other player, split into two 3-game homestands at each park. A real-life week per 3-game series would be a good pace.
  • A player can no longer be started after they have exceeded their real-life innings pitched or at-bats, prorated over the length of our season. For example, with 5 participants we would have a 24-game season, or 15% of the length of a real baseball season. Thus since Curt Schilling pitched 204 innings in 2006, then 204 x 0.15 = 30.6 -> 31, so once he reached 31 IP (4-5 starts) you couldn't use him anymore. So this requires some thought on your lineups. Do you use your awesome platoon outfielder against the Devil Rays to ensure the win, or against the Yankees to try to steal one? Full stats for the team of your choice can be found at http://www.baseball-reference.com.

Again, let me know if you are interested, so we can get started soon. And if you'd like your own copy of the game, don't try to maneuver through the ancient Strat website. Get it for $49.50 from Amazon -- search Amazon for "2007 Strat-O-Matic Baseball" and it's the first link you get.


At 12:46 PM, June 12, 2007, Blogger seanp said...

I'm bound to be creamed, as I don't really follow baseball (strat-o-matic hockey, anyone??), but I'm in for the league. It was awesome watching it last night... we kept getting onlookers who were actually cheering for different teams / players, which is pretty good for a game in which the "bits" are stat cards and lookup charts...

At 2:26 PM, June 12, 2007, Blogger Michael said...

I had a thought on the way home. A National League west league might be slightly more interesting for a few reasons.

1. Get rid of the DH which more frequently gives decisions to the players about substitutions, bunts etc.

2. It was the tightest division in baseball with only 12 games separating the division winner from the last place team (less have and have not problems). Many of the teams were in the heat of the race for a decent amount of the year.

3. The Rockies are in the National League west.

4. There are still some "name-brand" players in the division.

5. If we did an NL-west league, there is a chance Todd Helton would then survive a return to Celebrities in the future.

At 2:45 PM, June 12, 2007, Blogger Mark said...


At 3:17 PM, June 12, 2007, Blogger Dennis Ugolini said...

Well now we are at seven. One more and we could take the eight playoff teams.

Oh wait, that leaves out the Rockies...

At 3:33 PM, June 12, 2007, Blogger Jeff said...

"So, Jeff, what do you do for fun?"

"I like hanging out with my friends."

"What do they do?"

"They play simulated games of baseball by using results determined randomly from a vast array of charts."

"Uh...OK. So, do you play that with them?"

"Nah. I prefer simulations of Italian economic systems set during the Renaissance."

At 3:33 PM, June 12, 2007, Blogger seanp said...

there's a guy on ebay selling "stratomatic" baseball 2007 for $29 +8 shipping, with $3 shipping on a second one... So two games for $69 shipped. He advertises them as new.

At 4:16 PM, June 12, 2007, Blogger Dennis Ugolini said...

Just be careful that:

- It's not the computer game.

- There are two versions of the paper game, regular and "deluxe". The regular has fewer players for some reason. Amazon sells the deluxe.

At 4:30 PM, June 12, 2007, Blogger Brian said...

As I said before, I'm in (I just ordered the game via Amazon. It may have been the last one).

I could live with another division, although I'm partial to the AL east. I personally think that the DH strategy is about as interesting as the DH strategy, but there's something quaint about the minor leagues, even if I mean the quadruple A (NL).

If we get to eight we could do two divisions of four, home and away against your division, one series against each other division. That would leave us at 30 games (3*6+4*3), which is probably the upper limit before people burn out.

If we grow much beyond this, we're going to have to have rules for missed games, rescheduling, etc. As it stands, I have several potential business trips over the next 6 weeks....

So, does anyone know of good software to convert box scores to stats? I started researching this (O'Reilly has a book on baseball hacks) but figured others would be ahead of the curve on this.

At 5:37 PM, June 12, 2007, Blogger seanp said...

thanks for the head's up, dennis - it is indeed the board game, listed specifically as the deluxe version. Anyone else want in on one, to share the shipping? I'll pony the money until they arrive...

At 5:52 PM, June 12, 2007, Blogger Ted Kostek said...

I humbly suggest we do a total of 4 games against each opponent rather than 6.

I have several reasons:

-- From a selfish perspective, I don't know that I'll consistently have the time to do 3 games, but I should be able to do 2 reliably.

-- I assume other folks will occassionally have similar problems.

-- Fewer games will generally accelerate the whole process. It's easy to start a tournament and hard to finish.

At 8:10 PM, June 12, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't believe Schil gave up a grand slam last night. Clearly the statistical model is broken. :-)

I'm excited. This should be fun. We can have a lot of fun with the stats--it'd be interesting to have something like a webpage that would have updated standings, box scores, game writeups, leaders for HR, BA, ERA, OBP, etc.

Brian's right, though--we will have to make allowances for absences.

At 8:44 PM, June 12, 2007, Blogger Mark said...

Sean, I will go in with you if you want to order two. Just keep me posted.

At 8:46 PM, June 12, 2007, Blogger Ben said...

One of the things I enjoy most about SABG is the diversity of interests in our group. I have no interest in stratomatic baseball, but I wish the tournament great success.

At 10:05 PM, June 12, 2007, Blogger Ted Kostek said...

I have another humble suggestion. If we have 8 players, we might consider splitting into two smaller groups. The schedule would be 3 weeks, leaving a 4th for make-up games. Then the top two teams play for top honors.

If interest is still high, we can run another league.

It's not that I'm trying to water down the league. I'd just like to see it actually finish.

At 10:10 PM, June 12, 2007, Blogger Jonathan W. said...

I dont follow baseball that much, but I would be interested in playing.

At 11:22 PM, June 12, 2007, Blogger Schifani said...

What a flock of nerds. I'll continue far more mainstream pursuits, such as the painting of Medieval Portuguese.

At 11:44 PM, June 12, 2007, Blogger Mark said...

I think Ted's suggestions have some merit. Let's not go overboard with a massive schedule that we can't complete. I also agree with Brian that allowances need to be made for missed games or makeups.

At 1:44 PM, June 13, 2007, Blogger Dennis Ugolini said...

Now that we are at eight (the original 5, plus Sean, Mark, and Jon), I like the idea of two conferences. I also appreciate the 2-game rather than 3-game suggestion. But I'd still like to see a 16-game season -- it makes the innings/at-bats math easier (since a real baseball season is 162 games, we just divide by 10), it's enough time for interesting stats to pile up, etc.

So here's what I propose:

So that we all have a fighting chance, we each take one of the eight 2006 playoff teams. Four of us will be in the American League (the Yankees, Twins, A's, and Tigers), and four will be in the National League (the Mets, Cardinals, Padres, and Dodgers).

The regular season will be eight weeks, with two games per week. You'll play two 2-game series (one home, one away) against each of the other three teams in your league. Weeks 3 and 6 will also be for interleague play (so the Yankees might get the Mets at home for two games in Week 3, and then head to Los Angeles for two against the Dodgers in Week 6). The winners of each league could then play a best-of-3 to determine the title.

Absences will be treated as rain delays; skip it for now, and play it when you get the chance. No player may start after exceeding 10% of their 2006 innings pitched or at-bats, rounding to the nearest number.

If people like the sound of that, I can put a schedule together, and then we can modsies somehow to pick teams.

At 3:11 PM, June 13, 2007, Blogger Jonathan W. said...

Sounds good to me.

I just worked out a trade with someone for a copy of the 2007 deluxe version, so we should have a good number of copies in the group to play on.

At 4:13 PM, June 13, 2007, Blogger seanp said...

I've got two coming from Ebay, hopefully I'll have them in hand in less than ten days. I'm good with the proposed schedule.

One idea for team picks is for everyone to send in a ranked list of teams, and do a "math trade" type solution to try and find an optimum number of 1st, 2nd, or 3rd picks. For some of us (me) any of the teams would be fine, but I imagine that some fans may have a strong leaning toward a particular team.

Of course, you could just have randomized drafting also...

At 4:50 PM, June 13, 2007, Blogger Brian said...

I worked out some ideas on a more flexible league schedule. I think for our first league, 16 games is fine (although with my idea you could get anywhere from 16 to 27).

I think randomly assigning teams and letting people trade is probably fine.

At 10:38 PM, June 13, 2007, Blogger Ted Kostek said...

Sean: is that 2nd copy spoken for? I'll take the plunge and buy it from you.

At 10:48 PM, June 13, 2007, Blogger Ted Kostek said...

Dennis: sounds great. Please assign me the winning team tomorrow.

Oh, did I say that trash talking has officially begun?

It will only end when I win the whole show!


(pretty funny coming from a guy who still doesn't really understand a hit-and-run...)

Part of me would prefer the basic rules, but the advanced really add a lot of differentiation to the players, so I guess I vote for that. Super advanced rules made Dennis use the term "crazy-ass tables," and I think they are disqualified on that basis alone.

Imagine playing a chess tournament where every piece is slightly different, and you can't always use your best piece. Should be great.

At 9:25 AM, June 14, 2007, Blogger seanp said...

ted, mark has first dibs on the second one coming, but you'll be my backup if he wimps out. :)

At 2:16 PM, June 14, 2007, Blogger Rob said...

Jeff: LOL. I echo your words.

It looks like I bailed out on time.

(kidding... baseball is just not my thing).

At 4:09 PM, June 14, 2007, Blogger Ben said...

No, you should have stuck around so us non-baseballers would have more players for other games. I'm beginning to suspect mass hypnosis is causing this baseball hysteria.

In the mean time, right now I'm doing remodeling (i.e., my contrator died), working out like crazy (i.e, training for SA marathon this fall), taking two classes, and traveling for work, so gaming is temporarily on hiatus anyway... maybe by the time I resurface someone will have discovered and slew the hidden Mind Flayer.

At 4:53 PM, June 14, 2007, Blogger Mark said...

Rob who?


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