While most of you are getting reading for a new season of Roto or Fantasy or Fanalytic (to use Shandler's moniker) baseball there is a particular breed among us that is getting ready for a new season of Strat-O-Matic.
There was a time when I had was in a good dozen Roto leagues (sick, I know) but I am not sure if you call it evolving or de-volving but most of those were either dumped or replaced by Strat leagues. I still play in one roto-league and two head to head baseball leagues (Daily Head 2 Head using the Rotowire commisioner software rocks btw). But I now have two Strat-O-Matic baseball leagues and I enjoy those more than Roto these days.
I spend as much time on Strat as I do on any other format. Strat involves more than just picking your players and watching how they do. You actually get to play the games. And for a change, defense actually matters. And it is not just a matter of how many errors a player commits. Their range is just as important as their reliability. You also need to consider building a functional bullpen. You need to have a mix of righties and lefties and a LOOGY could be an important piece of your team unlike in Roto.
And you can play the games online over the internet in real-time against your human opponent. A three-game series takes about an hour. And if you bought Strat witht he card-image option you can actually see the dice being rolled and the results being taken directly off the cards. It is pretty cool. Let me give you a brief recap of my two teams and how they did.
This league was formed when Rany Jazayerli of Baseball Prospectus wrote an article on BP.com looking for two replacement owners for his strat league, NASA. Those who did not make the cut were encouraged to form their own league and so we did. I was bumped out of the playoffs last year in the first round. But I can take solace in my four World Series titles and six-straight playoff appearances in the six years that it has existed. This team is old, and I have already traded off most of the aging vets that I was using to contend. I am left with Albert Pujols, Russel Martin and Brad Penny. I have to hope that Vernon Wells, Jhonny Peralta and Jason Bay bounce back and that some of my younger players come through (Chuck Lofgren, Travis Snider, Josh Barfield).
I am the Rancho Cucamonga Quakes in RRBL.
I kept pestering Rany and eventually there was an opening in his original Strat league as well. I took over Joe Sheehan's team for a year or two and invited him to take control as GM while I focused on managing the games. After a couple of down years, Joe made some real shrewd pickups last year and we made it to the World Series! Unfortunately, I lost it in game 7 with Takashi Saito giving up a GW double to Albert Pujols. (Pujols giveth in the other league and taketh away here). We have enough talent to make another playoff run, but last year's team was better. This team's core includes: Brian McCann, Derek Jeter, David Wright, Bobby Abreu, Roy Halladay, Penny and Saito.
Los Angeles Landfills is the team I share with Joe
The drafts for each of these leagues take place in the next few weeks. So it is time to start studying those cards. I got a notification that the big brown truck is delivering the new version of the Strat computer game and the cards tomorrow. I may just have to head home from work and start checking out how my teams look in detail.