Strat-O-Matic, the Glen Head-based simulated sports game company, is going to begin playing out the 2020 baseball season starting Thursday with what would have been a full slate of 15 Opening Day games.
For those who remember playing the Strat-O-Matic cards, dice and board game as a youth, it’s a chance to follow along — and even participate — in a virtual day-to-day rendition of what the 2020 season might have been if not for the coronavirus pandemic.
At 2 p.m. each day until baseball returns, Strat-O-Matic will release the results, standings, statistics and key game highlights from that day’s scheduled contests through its website and social media channels.
So if you’re wondering how Gerrit Cole will perform in a virtual Yankees debut against the Orioles, check at 2 p.m. on Thursday. If you’re wondering what Pete Alonso will do for an encore after his NL Rookie of the Year season, results from the Mets’ would-be opener against the World Series champion Nationals at Citi Field will be online at that time as well.
Hey, in these difficult times, it’s something.
"What’s going on is just so, so unfortunate,” said Adam Richman, whose father, Hal, created Strat-O-Matic as an 11-year-old in his Great Neck bedroom. “It’s just so horrible. If we can provide a little bit of relief at home, if we can bring a little bit of entertainment while people are hunkered down at home, that’s what we want to do.”
Fans can get involved by helping to pick the rosters and lineups, a process that already has begun on social media. Interested fans can email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
"We actually started that already,” said Len Schwartz, head of operations and director of research at the company. “We have run some Twitter polls where we went out and tagged some of the fan bases, asking them who they want to be the starting pitcher of the game. We’re also going to be tagging people for projected lineups. We’re trying to create not only sim results to fill the baseball fans’ need, but we’re also trying to get some more fan interaction into this. Get the fans on board.”
The player cards and rosters won’t stay static for as long as real baseball is sidelined. Injured players such as Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton of the Yankees will not be available for Opening Day, for example, but they would be able to return after a properly simulated interval. And player cards will update as the virtual season goes along.
"One of the features we’ve taken to the next level with the computer games is a product called ‘Baseball Daily,’ ” Schwartz said. “[That] allows us to — unlike our traditional games where our cards are based on a completed season — Baseball Daily allows us to merge other factors into that, including projections, recent performance and things like that into an algorithm that lets us create a new player card every day. So it’s as close to a live version of Strat-O-Matic as you can get."