Published on Jan 26, 2016
MANAGING TO WIN is an hour-long documentary film that tells the story of Hal Richman and his life’s journey in creating and sustaining the Strat-O-Matic Game Company, a fixture in the sports world for over 50 years. The documentary focuses both on Hal’s upbringing as well as the history of the Company, giving viewers an inside look at both the Company’s and Hal’s struggles, how Strat-O-Matic turned the corner to become a huge success, and what goes on behind the scenes to create the games each year.
Trailer produced by Netta-Lee Lax
Music by Ronald Bacardi
No word yet on an official release date, nor how the film will be distributed. Let’s hope it will be available via streaming channels like Netflix, Amazon Video, Vudu, Google Play, and/or YouTube.
Strat’s documentary comes about twenty years later than the documentary film on the topic of their biggest competitor: APBA Baseball. Though it’s broken up into a bunch of sections – which isn’t ideal for viewing – Of Dice and Men is available in it’s entirety to stream for free online. CLICK HERE to watch the APBA documentary at the Zack Handbook site, where volunteers are doing a commendable job at preserving the rich history of the APBA Game Co.
Cover painting by JC Leyendecker (1915)
In case you missed it, on Sunday January 17th (via an article in the New York Times) Strat-O-Matic Games unveiled a new product called “Baseball Daily.” Not a standalone product, Baseball Daily is an add-on to Strat’s bread-and-butter offering, the Windows-based Strat-O-Matic Baseball 2016 for PC.
Here’s the product description, cut-and-pasted from Strat CEO/founder Hal Richman’s letter to fans on Monday, Jan 18th:
Dear Strat-O-Matic Gamers,
It is with great excitement that I announce the launch of Baseball Daily, a game that will revolutionize the Strat-O-Matic playing experience.
For the first time in the Company’s history, Strat-O-Matic will have digital cards that are updated daily, based on the current season’s real life player performance. Baseball Daily will be available for our newly rebranded Strat-O-Matic Baseball 365 online game and for our Windows baseball game as an optional add-on. Baseball Daily digital cards, which are composed the same way for both platforms, will reflect a combination of current season stats, recent performance, projected stats and Strat-O-Matic’s proprietary algorithms and ratings. Historical data will be factored into the cards at the start of the season, with current season stats having increased influence as the season progresses.
Based on Richman’s description, I am not aware of any analogous game in the market. It comes as no surprise then, that many loyal Strat fans had questions about this new product. Strat-O-Matic Director of Marketing Adam Rosen should be commended for going straight to the fans on Twitter today, to directly answer questions about Baseball Daily.
Here is your one-stop-shop for the entire Q&A. In your mind, what questions are still unanswered?
NOTE: The tweets below are not listed chronologically. Instead, I reordered them so that there is a more coherent flow to the presentation of the product. I also didn’t include redundant or tangential posts. To go to Strat-O-Matic’s complete Twitter feed directly CLICK HERE.
Tonight’s Powerball jackpot is up over 1.5 BILLION dollars, and if you’re in the USA then I’m sure you or someone/everyone you know has a ticket and dream. Let’s play a little game:
You just won the lottery! After taxes you have $750 million dollars. Your family and friends and future generations of family and friends are all taken care of. You have everything you could possibly want and need in this life. Until…
The phone rings. You answer. At first you don’t recognize the voice, but it doesn’t take long to get to the point. It’s the owner of your favorite sports simulation game company. Things have been tough these last few years and he’s finally decided to fold the company. It may or may not be profitable at this time, but either way, it’s just been too much work for him for too long and he’s ready to move on to new things.
You listen. You know where this is going. As soon as the media found out the name of the Powerball winner, you were all over the news. Being on TV was weird and exciting, and when asked what you were going to do first you nervously said, “I’m going to have a nice dinner with my wife tonight to celebrate and then I’m going to get back to my 1973 Baltimore Orioles replay. Al Bumbry is hitting .351 and Mike Cuellar just won his 20th game and it’s still only mid-August!!”
“Now that I won over a billion dollars I’m going to have a nice dinner with my wife tonight to celebrate and then I’m going to get back to my 1973 Baltimore Orioles replay. Al Bumbry is hitting .351 and Mike Cuellar just won his 20th game and it’s still only mid-August!!”
The owner of your favorite game company saw the interview, recognized you from the forums you frequent and decided to reach out to you. Maybe you would like to take over the company? Money is literally no object to you anymore. You have more zeros in your bank account than you could spend in a dozen lifetimes.
What do you do? Do you buy the company and run it yourself? If you do run it yourself, do you change everything or keep the status quo? Do you become an Angel Investor in the game company, funding its operations but letting someone else take over? Do you say “No, thanks. I already have all I need from the company. Thanks for all your good work, I wish you the best in your next venture.”? Or do you follow a different path entirely?
You just won the lottery and your favorite game company closes its doors if you don’t step in to help. What do you do?
If you’ve spent any amount of time with the hobby of sports simulation games, you’ve probably developed affection for players from the past that you otherwise never would have had any connection to. Maybe for you it’s a second-tier pitcher who threw your first tabletop no-hitter. Maybe it’s a guy you drafted in a late round who had an unexpectedly huge season in a replay league.
I keep a list of guys like this that I refer to as my personal Hall of Fame. The first member of this esteemed list was Wally Moon, as a result of this game. There are about a dozen other players in my Hall. One of my favorites is and always will be Major League Hall of Famer Monte Irvin.
Irvin passed away today at the age of 96.
From the wayback machine: Here is a post discussing (and improving upon) Monte Irvin’s Hall of Fame card from the Strat-O-Matic Hall of Fame 2010 set.