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Baseball reality games before electronic games


Many of you youngsters grew up playing baseball reality games on your TV or computer. EA Sports, Wii and all the others that I don't know the names of; are staples of my nephew and his friends. Their football counterpart, Madden __, is a world on to itself. Tournaments of these games get national coverage and their own ESPN specials. That is now. In my day as a youngster (the early 70's), there were board games with dice and individual player playing cards.

The game my friends and I played was Strat-O-Matic baseball. (we also played Strat-O-Matic football and basketball) It is a dice game where you toss three dice for each at bat. The outcome of one of the die would determine whether you referred to the batter's card or the opposing pitcher's card. The other two die would determine the outcome of that at bat. Games could usually be finished in 15-20 minutes, once you got the hang of the game. We played for hours.

We would play in my friends camper, my neighbors tree house, the screened in porch at my house and anywhere else we wanted. Sleepovers in the backyards usually involved a game or two. And since each players' card were calibrated to each season, we could play the 1927 Yankees against the 1961 Yankees. We replayed the 1965 World Series many times. In our world, the Twins almost always won! (wink, wink) The 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers and the 1971 Pirates were two of my favorite teams. You can just imagine what our All-Star games were like.

Last month I bought the current version of the board game at a local store. I then sent off for some "old-timer" teams. My 1965 Twins beat my 2009 Twins two games to one. Mauer was hot, but Tony Oliva was the series MVP. I purchased my beloved 1953 Dodgers. Roy Campanella homered twice against my 1961 Yankees. And all this is done without electronics and the incessant noise that comes with them. It is a very relaxing trip down memory lane and a fun way to pass time while watching the Twins on TV today. (I turn the sound down on the TV)

My nephew and I played a few games out on my patio last week. He was amazed that we could play a sports reality game where there were no outlets! And rather than his face glued to a TV screen, we talked to each other as we played! My old school game may not be better, but it is different. My planned game tonight is the 1962 Giants vs. the 1961 Reds. Go Willie Mays and Frank Robinson!

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