When I was a kid I played Strat-o-Matic baseball. A lot. I mean, pretty much daily. For the uninitiated, the baseball version of this game started back in the 1960’s, but really took off about a decade later when “advanced” versions of the game were released. Each ballplayer has a stat type card with player ratings and results for dice rolls. The concept is to play a baseball game with the cards and dice. The more advanced versions of the game gave the manager more options.
I haven’t played in many years, but I remember it was a lot of fun for the baseball nerd in me. Kept me busy on rainy days where I couldn’t get outside. These days there are internet versions of Strat-o-Matic, so it has come a long way from when Bucknell University student Hal Richman created and sold the games out of his basement.
In high school I started producing a handmade “Strat-o-Matic Report Magazine” covering my team. Bet you can’t guess who I managed. Alright, you’re correct – the Milwaukee Brewers. Exactly why in the hell I decided to create such a magazine was beyond me. NONE of my friends played this game. I was a suffering addict – a poor junkie left to agonize alone.
Anyway, in this magazine with zero subscribers, I covered the usual baseball stat stuff and game/player recaps. I also ended each issue with an editorial or insider perspective from the manager. I always called this page the “Manager’s Point of View” without calling out the content in the headline. It would have been a surprise for the readers (if I actually had any) to read on and uncover hard-hitting insights (ha!) such as the following example:
With the season now underway, each team has 25 men to make up their roster. Along with deciding who plays each game, I have to decide who stays on each team. I have the power to send out any player I feel isn’t doing his job. I also have to make moves when a player is injured and when he returns to action. All these player moves can be made because of a Strat-o-Matic minor league system.
Each team has an equal number of players that didn’t make the major league teams. These players make up minor league teams and can be called on at any time to join their respective major league club. For instance, Milwaukee will be without Mark Brouhard and Rick Manning for the time being. Between them, they had just 7 hits in 41 trips to the plate. So I sent them to Milwaukee’s minor league affiliate and brought up Tony Scott and Ted Simmons.
It is easy to see that anyone, even a previous super-star, can lose their job over lackluster performance. In a pennant race, it is the player that produces that will stay on the team.
*Ted Simmons was in the minors? What the hell was I thinking?!!!!