I am beyond excited to be a part of the latest fictionalized baseball replay project from Jeff Polman, a murder mystery wrapped inside the 1958 season. In fact, his first replayed season, 1924 and You Are There!, has recently been published into a book that I highly recommend, and not just because the primary narrator is 17-year-old Phillies fan Vinny Spanelli. It’s also the fantastic story of several characters – Spanelli, best friend Benny Zepp, Brooklyn fan Rachel Stone, Tigers beat writer Calvin Butterworth, and, of course, the great players of the era – only complimented by the games. Anyway, back to the slightly less-distant past, based on the line-ups and rotations provided to him by the manager of each team, Jeff uses the cards and dice in Strat-o-Matic to replay each of the 1,232 games – 154 games for all 16 teams. He also does a great job of getting a feel for the time period, with 50s-era language and mannerisms, plenty of film noir, a Jimmy Stewart avatar, and even a live-tweeting of the 1958 Academy Awards last night in conjunction with the present-day show.
Jeff set me up with a co-manager, Paul Dylan, a Strat veteran, who knows the ins and outs of the best strategies and writes about his own games at One for Five. This is very good for me, as Mysteryball is my first foray into Strat-o-Matic, although it’s been something I’ve wanted to try myself ever since I first heard about Jeff’s projects. I’d like to say that this partnership also benefits Paul because of my something-or-other, but I’d certainly be worse off without an intimate knowledge of the gameplay.