SELECTED ARTICLES FROM THE SOMBILLA NEWSLETTER
(in chronological order)


The Way We Were: Revisiting the Trading and Loan Scandal  (8/11)Originally snail mailed hard copy 1996
SOMBILLA policy on steroids (8/18/02)
For managers and players
It's Friday, I'm bored and I need a drink (7/28/02)
The guy is nuts.
Manila Folders press release (2/28/02)
?
Manatee press release (1/28/02)
Trade announcement and rebuttal
North Dakota press release (12/28/99) Trade announcement
Manila Folder press release (10/21/99) Ballpark description
Rantings from Eric (4/1/99) A humorous set of proposals
TOP TEN REASONS WHY LAND IS ALWAYS LATE (2/9/94) At least he wasn't late for his wedding
HOW LEAGUE MEMBERS REACT TO RECEIVING SHIT (7/23/93) (To the tune of Bob Dylan) Everyone must get shit
Commissioner reeling from continued bias charges; rumored to be resigning in disgrace! (1/26/93) A listimg of famous diatribes
GREAT MOMENTS IN SOMBILLA HISTORY As it says..
Team songs '92-93 (10/25/92) "Centerfield" is not one of them
Field of Strat-O With thanks to Ray Kinsella
Franchise news - 7/27/92 North Dakota's strange odyssey
Thoughts on ex-pensions - TWITS Notes 2/9/92 Origin of the league's One-game playoff
Freedonia - October 27, 1991
Rebuttal 4/4/92
A letter from Eric
TWITS Notes 1/23/91 "Jed's words hit me like a frozen slushball." 
How to trade your team into last place - VOL. VIII No. 10 (1/16/91) Commissioner blasts himself
Twits Notes 11/13/90 A letter from Tsuan
League uncovers "Raines-gate": Commissioner to be burned at the stake, beheaded, and face firing squad; retains 1st place Even the Commissioner makes errors
Hefty killers If Rosanne Rosannadanna were in the SOMBILLA
Tsuan Guruism Why Tsuan is the SOMBILLA's Guru
VOL V. No. 1: October 23, 1987 One of the better pre-season picks
Quiz - Are You a SOMBILLA Junkie? The famous SOMBILLA Quiz
TWITS Notes - 3/10/87 End of season ravings
The new cards are coming! The new cards are coming! Analyses of how league members react to new cards
Editorial: Violence in the SOMBILLA (March 30, 1986) Violence, racism...what kind of league is this??
VOL IV No 5 The amazing 1000 to 1 Folders
VOL IV No. 1 (November 1986) The first pre-season picks
League investigates Learned Hands - widespread corruption suspected (March 2, 1986) Yitz screws up
Gamer introduces future wife to S-O-M Baseball on first date (as published in the Strat-O-Matic Review December 1985) The title says it all
Gary Redus??? A most questionable draft pick
VOL III, No.1: November 8, 1985 The first SOMBILLA Quiz
The SOMBILLA at six The league at a crossroads: should we go to a permanent league?
ERIC LOST THE SCORESHEETS - May 5, 1985 For someone who was as anal about the stats as me, you can tell I was pissed.
Tsuan attempts to pull draft coup - November 19, 1984 The first blasting
VOL. II, No. 1: October, 1984 Pre-season humor


THE WAY WE WERE
        1. Revisiting the SOMBILLA Trading and Loan Scandal

        The website describes Game 6 of the 1996 SOMBILLA World Series:

        Randy can't decide between Pedro Martinez and Dennis Martinez to start the 6th game, and finally chooses Dennis Martinez. Two years earlier, in '93-94, North Dakota was battling Future Wax for first place and acquired Roger Clemens at the trading deadline from Eric for 2 first round picks (after attempting to acquire him via loan, precipitating the Trading and Loan Scandal). Upon discovery of the Clemens trade, Andrew called Robin, the North Dakota manager's wife, to pursue a trade. At the time of receipt of Andrew's call, Robin had played 38 games, 2 fewer than the trading limit. Two nights before, a scheduled 4-game series with Dave that would have put Robin over the trading deadline was postponed when Dave simply forgot to show up, luckily for Future Wax. Dennis Martinez was Robin's best pitcher that year, and one of the best starters in the league. Robin traded Dennis Martinez (and a 6th round pick) to her husband's nemesis, Andrew, for a second round pick (which became Sean Berry). Martinez went on to win two games against North Dakota in the World Series, including a 2-1, 5-hitter against Saberhagen in a crucial Game 5 showdown. For the two years after that, the trading of Martinez to Future Wax and Martinez's World Series success against North Dakota caused a small amount of marital friction.

        After beating D. Martinez to win its first World Series, the North Dakota manager absolved the Bay City manager of all issues surrounding the trade two years prior.

        But what really happened in 1994? The original documents surrounding the Trading and Loan Scandal existed only in our memories (and in my attic) until now, thanks to the existence of our new scanner. And now, transport yourself back to February 1994, before the Internet, when newsletters were printed and handed out (or mailed) weekly to the league and if you wanted to contact someone you had to call them on their land line.

        From the February 3, 1994 SOMBILLA Newsletter:


        Two weeks later, the February 2, 1994 newsletter had the following headline:

        Inside:

        Eric packs it in;

        Commissioner leveled by blast from west coast.


        Tsuan’s letter was published in its entirety, annotated by me so I could rebut his letter point by point:

        My point by point rebuttal (was it snide?):


        Good times, good times.



Funny e-mails
(11/4) Date: Sat, 04 Nov 2006
From: Eric

land, it's great to hear from you. i honestly didn't think you existed anymore, other than as a phantom on our email lists, a name we were too attached to to delete, part of the honored...well, not the honored dead, exactly, but something like it: them that no longer met to partake in libations and leafy stuff and dice-rolling and, if you're arnie, paying your yearly dues, because it all comes down to that--principled bookkeeping--which probably explains his $elective memory...
but i'm glad to know you receive our missives, and observe us in silence, until some urge overcomes you and, like some rare, nordic bird, you suddenly light upon an e-branch and ruffle some words before rising up and vanishing once again into the ethernet....
but what i want to know is: who the fuck is this matt phelps dude? some high and mighty chess-playing bobby-fisher-mofo-wannabe most likely.....
Land wrote:
Me? I'm the founder and co-GM of the two-time reigning world champs. Who's asking?
Arnie wrote:
And you are?
-----Original Message-----
From: Land
Sent: Friday, November 03, 2006 3:08 PM

Subject: Re: SOMBILLA Standings November 1, 2006

I bet the computer didn't recognize that clump of tar on his hand either. So you've got a stoned smudged 40-year old Smoltz pitching lights out into the late innings. Who says strat-o isn't fantasy baseball?
Jed wrote:
I prefer "The Smoltz-pot Dome Scandal." Although I am denying any allegations that pot was involved.

On Thu, 2 Nov 2006 Arnie writes:
I believe the game summary and details was in Tom's write-up of the series, sent on Monday. It was basically my fault as I gave Tom incorrect computer setting information ("SADV fatigue rules") so that when Smoltz became tired, the computer didn't recognize it.
-----Original Message-----
From: Eric 
Subject: Re: SOMBILLA Standings November 1, 2006

did i miss something? what the fuck is "smoltz-gate?" what happened? is somebody feeling guilty?

(11/1) Arnie wrote:
The delay in providing updated standings was due to the protracted negotiation over "Smoltz-gate". In the end, Tom and Jed finally invoked the memory of the Matt Phelps and the SOMBILLA philosophy that we play Strat-O for fun and are not all cutthroat "win at all costs" managers. In other words, they said "fuck it".

SOMBILLA policy on steroids (8/8/02)

To the League:

Just to be clear, I have no problem with any league members taking
steroids....

My concern is whether it is ethical to allow the use of cards for players
who are taking steroids.  For example, Barry Bonds.  How else could one
explain his suddenly hitting 73 HRs last year when his previous high was
49 (which suspiciously enough came the year before he hit 73)?  His
overzealous manhandling of Torii Hunter during the All Star game was
obviously a side effect of steroid abuse, which can cause violent mood
swings.

I think that Future Wax has an unfair advantage in that Tsuan, being a
doctor, can supply Bonds with high-quality steroids.  (Another highly
suspicious circumstance - Tsuan living in San Francisco).

My feeling is, if we can't ensure that all players have access to the
best steroids, we need to selectively ban certain players.  I would be
happy to supply a list of players if the commissioner deems it proper to
delegate this task to me.


Sincerely,
Jed
GM, Manila Folders


Eric:
        Jed raises some important issues. I whole-heartedly endorse a
banning of any player suspected of steroid use. Since we have no conclusive
evidence, we must rely on anecdotal reporting in the press. Therefore any
story which hints at suspicion should be used by our league as evidence of
abuse. Hysteria, as I've witnessed time and time again, is good for the
social organism. I also think steroids help explain Jeff's burliness and
semi-bipolar behavior (at least when he plays me). And while Jed has no
objection to league members using steroids, I would suggest that if we
overlook this and focus only on the players we are doing the wives of the
league (and their husband's members) a great disservice. It is my
understanding that some of the side effects of steroid use is not only acne
(McGwire) and dingers (McGwire, Bonds, Sosa...) but diminished sexual drive
and Shaker-like impotence. The heirs of Sombilla, if there are to be any,
are looking to us to act, and we should not turn from their gaze.....

From: Eric  (7/12/02)
Subject: It's Friday, I'm bored and I need a drink...


        and since I don't go to Fenway too often these days (the last game
was in '00, and before that was probably '98), if the players go out on
strike, I'm quitting the Sombilla. I know this probably sounds like my
annual threat, so no one will take it seriously. And what possible impact
can it have on the flesh and blood of the player's union, anyway? None. I do
not even stand on principle. I'm just sick of the greed, the lies, Tim
McCarver, and John Henry Williams. I can foresee only one chance to turn my
sentiment: If there's a strike, freeze me till it's over, and thaw me just
before the draft.... 

Manila Folders press release: (2/28/02)


MANILA - (AP) Days after hiring GM Jed "Lou" Gorman, and finishing
the season 12 - 2 to make the playoffs after posting the worst
ever SOMBILLA record, the Manila Folders announced they have fired
Dan Duquette. "I know he's not employed by the Folders, but what
the hell...", said Sal Manila, VP of Baseball Operations and Catering.
Manila Manager Gary Redus said, "I'm just glad my ass is still around."
Rumors are flying about the eventual disposition of pitching coach
Bruce Hurst, and Hitting Coach Devon "Over .200" White.

Manatee press release

Tom:

Dateline:  1/26/2002 early in the morning

The Manilla Folders were detained in customs at the Constantinople airport
under questionable circumstances.  This reporter's sources report that 4
kilos of coke changed hands, before the Folders were allowed to leave for
Manilla after a 16 hour delay.  No charges were filed and the custom house
is not talking.  It is a little known fact that Land's third cousin heads
the security forces in the revamped airport.

The Manatees released this information the next morning:

        The Manatees and Folders have agreed on a trade, sending Jeff Nelson
to the Manatees for a 2nd round pick.
        The second round pick could be in this years draft if Land, Tom and
Matt agree at the time of the pick.
        If this mutual option is not exercised, the Folders will get the
Manatee 2nd round pick a year from now.  (2002 cards)
        The Manatees state that they are excited to pick up a start up man
of Nelson's caliber.

As many of you readers already know, Jeff Nelson has been disgruntled with
Manilla management since he was left off of the 2000 All Star Team.  It was
questionable that they would be able to sign him next season.  The Manatees
gave up too much to get him when they could have just ponied up the cash
next year according to the man in the street.  (Who obviously does not
understand the old boy network which is the Sombilla.)
 

MANILA - In response to the recent Constantinople Mantees press release
concerning the recent trade of Jeff Nelson, Manila Folder General Manager
Sal Manila was heard muttering between bites of raw chicken at the team
buffet table, "Good riddence. The bum has an ERA of 13.00 and he looks
too much like Clint [the G. M. of the happless BiG DiG -ed.] with
a f--king moustache!"


Manila Manger Gary Redus told reporters, "I'm exited. This team has a
long history of great second-round picks. Names like Ledee, Listach,
Stocker, and of course me."  His comments were then cut short when
several of the media around him began coughing and choking on food and
drink. None was seriously injured.



  North Dakota press release (12/28/99)

(AP) Gackle, ND - SOMBILLA Defending champion North Dakota has announced
the acquisition of Mo Vaughn from 'Fire Sale' Shithead today.
The trade contains the most complicated contingency ever consummated by the
20-year old league.  In exhange for Mo (currently batting .355 with 10
homers and 28 rbi's for the Quahogs), North Dakota gives up a 2nd round
pick in the 2000 draft and a 2001 draft pick that could be anywhere from
1st-10th:

1st: If ND wins championship this year AND next year AND Mo hits 45+ homers
or bats .330+ vs. righties in 2000.
2nd: If ND wins the championship this year AND Mo hits 45+ homers or bats
.330+ vs. righties its a 2nd rounder.
3rd: If ND wins the championship this year AND Mo hits 40+ homers or bats
.320+ vs. righties.
4th: If Mo (hits .300+ versus righties or 35 HR) AND has 350+ plate
appearances
5th: If Mo (hits .300+ versus righties or 25 HR) AND has 300 - 349 plate
appearances
6th: If Mo (hits .300+ versus righties or 20 HR) AND has 250 - 299 plate
appearances
7th: If Mo hits below .300 versus righties AND has fewer than 35 HR, but
has a card
8th: If Mo has fewer than 40 plate appearances (or no card), but plans to
return in 2001.
9th: If Mo has no card because he retires or has a career-ending injury.
10th: If ND misses the playoffs this year, AND Mo has no card because he
retires or has a career threatening injury (or dies).

Unconfirmed rumors from anonymous witnesses claim that the North Dakota GM
was seen at Red Sox games this past summer booing Mo vociferously and
yelling financial epitaphs at the Calfiornia 1st baseman.  When confronted
with these allegations, the North Dakota GM replied "I don't know what
you're talking about. Mo Vaughn is a fine hitter.  And besides, you can't
prove anything".



 

Manila Folder Press Release (10/21/99)


Manila plays in the Douglas A. McArthur Memorial Dome with the
immortal words "I shall return." emblazoned over the main entrance.
Despite it being a dome, the team could not afford air conditioning.
Temperatures routinely reach 140-150 degrees Fahrenheit on the playing
surface. Our next home game features "Gatorade Machete Day"; fans 15
and younger receive a free full-sized machete on arrival. Look for
further promotions including "Bank of Manila AK-47 Day" and "Philipine
Pharmaceutical Rhesus Monkey Day."


Rantings from Eric (4/1/99)

A flurry of e-mails containing proposals for expansion, a draft lottery, and other rule changes, prompted this response from Eric:

I resign.  My team is dissolved.  Except for my first round pick,
which I've traded to Jeff, Clint, Harold, and Robin.  Rafael Palmeiro says
he won't play for any other coach but me, so he, too, is retiring.  Jay
Buhner says he will not speak English anymore, so anyone who drafts him will
have to hire an interpretor to read his card.  However, no one knows what
language he speaks, since he's also taken a vow of silence.  His card is a
blank slate.  In leaving, I propose the following:  All games must now be
played in Jeff's hot-tub, so everyone's going to have to get their teams
laminated like Tom's.  Laminations costs will be determined by Arnie, who is
himself sort of covered in plastic after years of commisioning.  Bi-coastal
GMing is now against the law.  Anyone caught GMing from California will be
arrested if they ever again enter the state of Massachussetts.  Randy is now
allowed to keep the plaque forever since he lives in Somerville, even if
someone else wins the championship.  If he moves out of Somerville, then Tom
gets the plaque.  If Tom moves out of Somerville, then Matt gets the plaque,
even though he lives in Arlington, which doesn't really exist anyway, except
in Matt's mind, which is why we always get lost going to his house.  Jed
will no longer be called Jed, but Yoda, since he is smarter than anyone we
know, though not entirely human. All teams will now have the same name.  I
vote for Shithead, since that's the best team name of all-time, and not
suprisingly a creation of the smartest semi-human being we've ever known.
So it'll be Shithead vs. Shithead, at Shithead Stadium, every game.  This
way, when the weekly standings come out, no one will know who's who.  This
means there will be no incentive to lose OR win, since no one will know who
they are, where they stand, or who they play next, except some other
shithead team.  I guess that's about it.


Top Ten Reasons Why Land is Always Late (2/9/94)

10. Long line at D'Angelo's
9. Accidentally dropped Frank Castillo out the window on the expressway.
8. Was daydreaming of having a team with a winning record.
7. Was giving interview to 'Constantinople Today.'
6. Has to get permission to play from his girlfriend.
5. Likes to see his name in Twits Notes
4. Was busy doing stats and didn't notice the time.
3. Goes by Oklahoma Standard Time.
2. Thought we lived in Medford, Oregon.
1. Gets the runs at the thought of playing one of us. 

How League Members React to Receiving Shit (7/23/93)

The first time I did a summer quiz, ARE YOU A SOMBILLA JUNKIE? - (Summer 1987) , after '0', I put "Your name is Joel'. Apparently, Jed, Joel's roommate at the time, read the quiz aloud to Joel. At the end, Joel, who had been keeping track of his score, proudly said '0', whereupon Jed read the answer 'your name is Joel'. An incredulous Joel checked it with his own eyes, burst out laughing hysterically, and called me immediately, with both Jed & him giggling uncontrollably.

Something has changed since then, and now of course I expect to be vilified for even daring to write about such things. In light of my long history of giving everyone shit, I was thinking about how different people, including myself, react to getting shit.

Therefore, the following is a brief summary of my perceptions as to how various league members, past and present, would respond to seeing their name at the end of a summer quiz scoring results showing '0 - Your name is _______."

Joel - would laugh uncontrollably and call up the author, laughing
Harold - would laugh and do another shot
Eric - would also laugh and do another shot
Robin - would notice a grammatical error and notify the author
Land - would wonder what he had done wrong and would try to change it
Arni - would write a scathing rebuttal
Matt - would make a mental note to trash the author when they play next season
Dave - would make a mental note to draft a player he knows the author covets
Durga - would phone the author and propose a trade
Andrew - would phone the author immediately to argue the point
Tsuan - would phone the author at 3 AM to argue the point
Jed - would phone the author and thoughtfully and rationally discuss why the reference was inappropriate
Clint - would machine gun the author


Commissioner reeling from continued bias charges; rumored to be resigning in disgrace! (1/26/93)

Despite issuing both a public and private apology to having over-reacted and to over-zealousness, the Commissioner continues to come under fire from all for possessing bias against league members. In a new development, recent unconfirmed reports state that the Commissioner's office is employing illegal aliens.

The beleaguered Commissioner's resignation is now reported to be imminent. Sources indicate that the succeeding league leadership would be controlled by a committee called the Board of Reporting Innocuous Non-controversial Gaffes (BORING). The Commissioner has reportedly entered into negotiations with the Board in a last ditch effort to save Twits Notes and the Commissioner's job. Reportedly, the following examples of actual headlines and excerpts of actual Twits Notes would be banned under the New Twits Notes:

11/10/92 - "Land's bullpen is a potential catastrophe.”
11/19/91 - "Just like old times - Bay City in last."
1/23/91 - "Jed's words hit me like a frozen slushball."
1/16/91 - "This team's talent, abilities, depth, attitude, self-esteem and morals have been systematically destroyed by its spineless, incompetent, inept, useless, douche-bag of a GM. That is why North Dakota is in last place."
1/2/91 - "North Dakota's pitiful total of 11 homers . . . "
11/13/90 - "Another bad start for Jed"
1/21/90 - "'89-90 Bay City 11-33 .250
                      '62 Mets     40-120 .250
12/10/89 - "League uncovers "Raines-gate"; Commissioner to be burned at the stake, beheaded and face firing squad; retains 1st place"
12/1/89 - "Matt: you're getting pounded. Folderball is silly and pointless in Fenway. Joel: Do you seriously think your staff can win by forcing them to pitch in Fenway?"
10/27/89 - "By moving out to live near Tsuan, Matt has forced Tsuan into his desertion, for which the league is grateful."
11/20/88 - "Future Wax hits a farcical 20 homers - is this twisted team ruining the league?"
11/10/88 - "This year's sleazebag loophole-finder award goes to Dave".
10/23/88 - "Joel's legacy of decay and apathy has taken its toll.”
Summer, 1988 - "The league's most troubled franchise, the Pinto Hatchbacks, is troubling......Still, I shudder to think what might have happened if Joel were at the helm."
2/15/88 - "More reasons to hate Future Wax:....."
1/14/88 - "Do we really want 8 Tsuan & Andy's? One Tsuan & Andy is enough"
3/24/87 - "It's possible that Matt has not noticed any of his tired pitchers all season. . . we should keep a closer eye on his games next year."
3/10/87 - "Commissioner's awards: Most likely to not show up - Yitz"
2/2/87 - "For the 8th week in a row, the same team is in last place.” [Ed note: Joel]
12/21/86 - "What's wrong with Bubba?"
12/3/86 - "The consensus around the league among those who have actually faced Matt is that he has been incredibly lucky...Can a truly bad team go on a 56-game luck streak?
3/2/86 - "League investigates Learned Hands - widespread corruption suspected.”
11/25/85 - "Gary Redus??? Is this 29-year-old outfielder with no arm who is useless against right-handed pitching in '84 and who batted .252 in '85 the 9th best player in the major leagues????"
5/5/85 - "...with a carelessly misguided and warped sense of intelligence, ERIC LOST THE SCORESHEETS of his last six games."
2/2/5/85 "If Tsuan reads this without anyone pointing it out to him, I will give him $1." Note - the offer expired in '85, Tsuan.
1/27/85 - "Bad luck or error prone? Shithead had 43% of the league's unearned runs.”
11/19/84 - "Tsuan attempts to pull draft coup. Quote of the week: "I'll kill if I have to" - Tsuan upon learning his draft scheme had been voted down 4-1." And last, but not least, from Vol. I., No. 1:
11/20/83 - "This season welcomes the absence of Tsuan..."

Under the Board's take it or leave it settlement offer, all inflammatory comments such as these, would be banned from Twits Notes. The Commissioner, job on the line, is considering. While pondering whether to sign the ultimatum or resign in disgrace, the Commissioner read the following item in a recent issue of the Hockey News:

The Commissioner has contacted both Bruce Firestone and the Ottawa Citizen for advice.

2/27/93 Harold points out that last week's list of classic diatribes did not reference him & Durga. To rectify this, we proudly present this classic from the '88-89 pre-season issue (10/23/88).

"6. Durga & Harold - From the first day they entered the league, The Team That Hated Ryan was determined to rid themselves of the heinous, odious Ryan. They had offered him to everyone in the league by draft day, and talks continued throughout the summer. They planted false stories about his patriotism. They questioned his manhood. Finally, The Team That Hated Ryan unloaded the slimy, puss-filled closet queen to an unsuspecting Matt. The first goal of The Team That Hated Ryan had been accomplished..."


GREAT MOMENTS IN SOMBILLA HISTORY

Early June 1979 Tsuan calls Arnie with the idea to form a summer Strat-O league.
August 1979 Just before game #6 of the first World Series, Arnie says "Some didn't think it would go this far, others said 'it's going seven.' " (You had to be there.) 
January 1982 Don Sutton (Tsuan) no-hits Lou.
November 1982  Vol. I No. 1 of the SOMBILLA newsletter.
Dec. '82 - Jan. '83 North Dakota loses 13 straight and 24 of 26.
November 1983  Joel wins 11 in a row to start the season.
May 5, 1985 "Eric Lost the Scoresheets" 
October 6, 1985  League votes to expand/go to permanent league/elects first Commissioner.
Nov. 17, 1985  Matt drafts Gary Redus 9th overall in permanent league dispersal draft.
December 1985 SOMBILLA featured in Strat-O-Matic Review.
February 1986  Arnie accidentally breaks chair at Jed and Joel's after missing game-winning homer. 
December 1987 Tom Henke pitches 12 innings in relief as last pitcher for Robin in 20-inning, 10-7 win over Future Wax. 
January 1988  Mike Scott (Jed) no-hits Joel. 
March 1988 Strawberry homers off Eichhorn in bottom of 11th inning of 7th game of World Series for Andrew against Yitz and Dave. 
December 1988 Arnie accidentally breaks chandelier at Jed and Joel's after 9th inning game-winning hit. 
March 1989 Mark McGwire wins triple crown for Matt. 
Nov-Dec 1989 North Dakota starts the season 20-4.
January 2, 1990  Danny Jackson, Tim Belcher & Randy Myers pitch a combined no-hitter for Harold vs. Future Wax .
March 1990 Eric finishes the season 44-12. 
March 1990 Eric beats Jed 4 games to 3 in the World Series on Sax's sac fly in bottom of the 11th. Two days later, Eric discovers error in playing game 6, but games are not played over.
February 1992  Andrew wins 11 in a row to tie Joel's record.
March 1992  League votes to expand to nine teams.
January 1993 Clint loses 44 of first 61 games as manager to break North Dakota losing percentage mark.
January 1993 Commissioner nearly resigns following allegations of bias against Clint.
February 1994 The SOMBILLA Trading and Loan Scandal.
November 1994  Robin, in first place by 2 1/2 games at 20-8, gives birth to Jinny Ryann Pollinger.
February 1995 Eric wins league's first ever one-game playoff, and goes on to defeat Matt in the World Series in 7 games. 
March 1995 Arnie resigns as Commissioner. Dave elected as the SOMBILLA's second Commissioner. 
March 1997 Dave resigns as Commissioner. Arnie re-elected Commissioner. Matt named league’s first Vice-Commissioner. 


Team songs '92-93 (10/25/92)
(as listed in pre-season predictions)

1. Andrew - "We are the Champions"
2. Robin - "I Love a Man in a Uniform"
3. Dave - "Anticipation"
4. Harold - "I'm a Believer"
5. Matt - "Instant Karma"
6. Eric - "Pick up the Pieces"
7. Arnie - "Someday Never Comes"
8. Clint and Jed - "The Way We Were"
9. Land - "It Feels Like the First Time" and "Help!"


Field of Strat-O - 7/27/92

It was a boring, cold January night and I had finished typing in the SOMBILLA stats and was working on TWITS notes when I heard the voice: I looked around. The cat was an appendageless, sleeping lump on the bed. "Honey, did you call me?" I shouted downstairs. "No", said Robin, entranced with the Bruins game. "Who said that?" I looked outside, wildly. "What do you mean?" But there was no answer.

I stopped writing TWITS notes, where I had been blasting Tsuan and Andrew for something or other, and thought. What could it mean? I went downstairs, arriving just in time to see Ruzicka's goal on instant replay.

"I'm hearing voices".
"What do they say?"
"It said, 'if you've willed it, you'll have won.' What do you think it means?"
"Were you doing Strat-O stuff?"
"Yes."
"Maybe it's trying to help you win".
"Hah! What benign spirit wants to help North Dakota?" Still, she had a point. It did choose my head to play with.

That Sunday, I was playing Eric. At this point of the season, we were both middle of the pack, fighting for the playoffs. I had won 2 of the first 3 games and none of the games had been close. In the last game, it was 3-3 and my last beer had its effect. While standing at the toilet, I heard it again.

I opened the bathroom door in a flash, surprising Matt, who was standing there, looking down at my hand. "Did you say something?" I asked intently. Startled, he said "No, but even so, couldn't you have waited before asking me?" gesturing at my unfinished business at hand. Embarrassed, I closed the door.

John Kruk was up in the bottom of the 9th. "3-6", I willed. "3-6". I closed by eyes. Eric rolled his. The dice showed '3-6' and Kruk's homer won the game.

The next day when I got home from work, Robin said, 'you'd better go upstairs to the study". I ran upstairs into the room and stopped cold. Bob Horner was in the room, looking through my team! He looked at me and said, "there are others, you know".

Two weeks later, and my team was on a roll, solidly in 2nd place. There were now a lot of my former players hanging out in the study on a regular basis and playing Strat-O; Horner, Jim Sundberg, Ken Phelps, Frank White, Leon Durham, Shane Rawley, John Cangelosi, Pat Perry, Ernie Whitt, Mel Hall, Roy Lee Jackson and others. It was getting crowded in there and hard to concentrate on doing the stats with the cacophony of Strat-O noises.

While writing TWITS notes, blasting Tsuan & Andrew, the words suddenly appeared on my screen:

"Huh?, I said. "Hey, what does this mean?" Sundberg came over and looked. The room got quiet. Mel Hall spoke up. "Who are you playing this week?" "Uh, Robin, I guess." We all looked at each other and nodded.

Robin was hanging on to slim playoff hopes. That Sunday, feeling secure in my season, I figured I'd go easy on her. However, as it turned out, nothing I did mattered. She trashed me, winning all four games. Some appeasement; I was pissed. As usual, when one of us has swept the other, the ride home was silent. Then she said it.
"I have something to tell you". We had been trying to conceive for a year.
"You mean.....??!!"
"Yup.....Karen's coming next weekend". Oh no! Robin's sister! And she'd have to sleep in the study where the computer was and all my old Strat-O players...
"But, the study....the extra bed...."
"Honey....,” she said and I knew better than to argue. Appeasement.

I couldn't bring myself to tell the guys. They always seemed to have so much fun, and I felt guilty about kicking them out since they seemed to disappear (to where?) whenever they left the room.

Friday night, on my way home from work, I decided to tell them to go. I came home, and Karen was already there! She was talking to Robin, and obviously hadn't been upstairs....yet. Before I could say or do anything, she started walking up the stairs, toward the study, where I could hear the usual guffaws and raucous dice-rolling! She walked into the study, right through F. White's and Ernie Whitt's game and calmly put her suitcase down. I though Ernie was going to pound her, but Leon Durham held him off.

"Listen, Karen, I'm sorry about all this".
"About all what?"
"About...wait a minute. Can't you see them?"
"See who? What are you talking about?" I looked at Robin, astounded.
"This is so interesting," she said.

It was March, and for only the 2nd time ever, North Dakota was in the World Series. And just like 1985, I was playing Jed. It was your basic epic series, 3 games to 3, and I went with my best, Saberhagen, in game 7. The score was 2-2 in the 5th, when I heard the voice again.

"Honey?", I shouted. "Was that you?" "Are you hearing voices again?" Jed looked impatient. "No!"

I left Saberhagen in and took a 4-2 lead into the 9th. He had pitched a great game to this point, but when he walked HoJo, I looked through my bullpen cards.

"But..." I left Saberhagen in and Will Clark singled. I reached for Lee Smith's card. "Why? It's time for Smith. Let me bring him in.” "I really want to bring him in, Please let me bring him in. Its a better matchup with Smith. Who the hell are you, anyway?" I let Saberhagen stay in. Puckett hit a 3-run homer. "Fuck you, voice.”

Franchise news - North Dakota

7/27/92. North Dakota's home field is unsettled at presstime. A state-of-the art park in Gackle, ND to replace Gackle Park, also to be called Gackle Park (capacity will be more than ever - 400) will not be ready until fall 1993. The team was set to lease its minor league park at Frobisher Bay in the Arctic Circle, but the stadium (and the iceberg it was built on) has broken away from the mainland and is floating free in the Arctic Sea, making travel to and from the park difficult. The team hopes to make an announcement soon.

10/25/92. Good news and bad news on the stadium front: While the team has been able to lease a parking lot in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, for the first seventeen games, work on the state of the art (400 capacity) stadium in Gackle has been stopped by a group of picketers calling themselves "Gacklonians for an end to mediocrity.”

11/22/92. Moose Jaw's 17-game lease for the parking lot has expired and the owner of the lot has decided not to renew the lease. Desperate for a field, the team has accepted an offer to sell roses to prostitutes in Holland and will be known as 'Amsterdam' indefinitely.

1/10/93 Nomadic North Dakota, after a league record 13 years in one place, has been unceremoniously booted out of Amsterdam in a drug scandal and was forced to find its 3rd home this season on short notice. The only available field was in Greenland, hence the new name.


Thoughts on ex-pensions - TWITS Notes 2/9/92

What's all this fuss I've been hearing about ex-pensions in the SOMBILLA? First of all, the league doesn't even have a pension, so I don't see how we can have an ex-pension. Second...what's that? Oh. Never mind.

Seriously, though, is this the year for the one-game playoff? To remind everyone, if we have a one-game playoff for 4th place, (or even a 2-game round robin with a 3-way tie), it's treated as regular season game #57 (and #58). This means that all pitcher’s innings and limited players' plate appearances still must be watched and count toward season totals. Also since it's game 57 with no days rest, you must follow your regular season rotation and start an eligible starting pitcher.

The origin of these rules comes from League Guru and Official Historian for Obscure SOMBILLA Rules, Tsuan. The rule was devised by Tsuan during the SOMBILLA's first year, the summer of 1979. Back then, the horrible memory of the 1978 Bucky Dent playoff was still fresh in our minds, and, like real baseball, Tsuan decreed that all stats in a 1-game playoff counted and that it would be played as though it were the next day. While it's true that what we do isn't real baseball, we try to emulate the major leagues more than you think. Hence, for our real playoffs, we start fresh with new limits and rotations, but not for a 1-game playoff.

Sunday, February 9 at Matt's - 1:00. Be there or vomit.


Freedonia - October 27, 1991

Last week I received a phone call from the Gaping Orifice of the Commissioner. he wanted to remind me that Opening Day was upcoming, and my enthusiasm became gushy and ebullient as the words "next Sunday" reached my ears. Next Sunday! How could it be so soon? Though I knew the season would begin at the end of the World Series, wasn't that sometime next month? No. My sense of time was playing tricks on me. It was sooner than I thought. No matter. I was psyched: I love this game.

"Hey Arni", I crooned. "When are the newsletters coming out?"

"Oh, they've already gone out", the Omissioner replied; however, you will not be receiving one since you've been banned from the mailing list for failing to pay your dues." Wow.

This was what twenty-odd years of friendship boiled down to. Sixteen dollars and seventy-three cents. I was stunned.

"You asshole!" I screamed into the phone, turning the heads of those around me. "You little shit! You mean to tell me I don't get a newsletter because I didn't pay you a measly thirteen dollars?"

"Sixteen dollars."

"Jesus! I don't believe this."

"I'm sorry Eric, but those are the rules."

The rules? How could I have neglected the rules? What a sleaze-bag I am. How could I have failed to realize that the money would bring Arni as much pleasure as I receive from being a part of the league?

"I sent you notices in the mail,” he said. "You were warned this would happen." He's right. He did send me a notice. A bill. It had all the visceral charm of a shut-off notice from a utility company. He said "This is the only way I can get you to pay."

"Well shit! Do you have one now? How 'bout I crawl over to your office for a whipping, and then I can give you a check with a bloodied hand? Wait! Do you accept checks?

"Checks, cash, or credit cards. But...I don't have yours with me. I left it at home." Oh, great.

"Fuck it, Arni. Bring it tomorrow and I'll come by."

"Well, if you want, you could come to the [new] house tonight and get it." Oh yeah. I could do that couldn't I? I mean, it really wouldn't be too much of an inconvenience, to change my plans for the night, and squeeze in an hour, and go to Ground Zero for the SOMBILLA. And hey! While I'm there, I could give him my car, and walk the seven miles back to my rented apartment. O rapture! O Forth Coming Season! My wretched soul anticipates!

"Fuck it, Arni. Bring it tomorrow."

Well, I did get the newsletter the following day. I handed him a check, with tremendous malice, and he...tore it up! (Just kidding). He handed me the newsletter and said "Look Eric, as a friend, I'm sorry I had to do this, and I feel incredibly guilty. But, as the Commissioner, I felt I had no other choice." Yeah, yeah. Just give me the fucking thing. "Remember, I did it to Tsuan a couple of years ago."

Oh, that's right. I forgot. A gaseous pain bore through my intestines at the thought that Tsuan and I had this in common, and I felt, somehow, unfulfilled. I relieved myself and left. That night, at home, I read the newsletter. Arni has picked me seventh. Not that I blame him for that. The team is clearly not as good as it has been in recent years. But did he have to malign me like he did? "--this once proud franchise..." and "--years of wasteful neglect..." and "--[a team] littered with the like of ..."

I ask myself: would I put myself through this again? Arni said I was "banned.” Banned! What a horrible word. But I'd have to say yes. Why? Because I love making Arni feel guilty. He's so easy on that one. And he knows his power is tenuous, and that an assassin's bullet could come from anywhere. Freedonia lives.

And the beauty of all this is that Arni and I play each other tonight. Heh-heh.

Rebuttal 4/4/92

Some people (no names) think that the time and effort I put into newsletters is not enough. They expect me to front the league over a hundred dollars, and to not bat an eyelash over dues delinquency. Then, when I have the audacity to not mail something I write and I pay postage for, they distribute memos about 'the gaping orifice of the Commissioner and fart in my office. If this sort of insurgency continues, I will have no choice but to blow you up. You have been warned.

TWITS Notes 1/23/91

Jed's words hit me like a frozen slushball. "I've never had a losing season." The force of the blow sent me reeling. I lunged out at the window shade to keep my balance, but the shade came down, enveloping my body. "I've never had a losing season." I struggled to free myself, crashing down on the bed, which collapsed on top of me. "I've never had a losing season." Crawling away from the chaotic mass of springs, still blinded by the shade, the full force of my knee landed on the cat's tail. He shrieked, lashing out his claws on the soft flesh of my thigh. "I've never had a losing season." Dazed, semi-conscious and clawed-up, I decided to investigate Jed's words.

Much to my relief, the records prove this wrong (barely). Back in '85-86, the first year of the permanent league, Jed, then known as the Tazmanian Devils, finished tied with Joel for 5th at 27-29, 8 games back. 2 other seasons, '82-83 and '83-84, he finished at 25-25. To those who disparage such 'pre-permanent league' season records, may I point out that we took those games just as seriously as we do now, and you know it.


How to trade your team into last place - VOL. VIII No. 10 (1/16/91)

All right, forget the 12 team home runs in 36 games (only 1 behind G. Davis and V. Hayes). Forget the league leading 40 errors (on pace to break the team's two year old SOMBILLA record of 60 errors). What has this once proud franchise done to deserve to become the league's toilet tissue?

1. Rickey Henderson for G. Bell, Seitzer, and Shelby. Henderson is happily cruising along at .342, while leading the league in stolen bases and on-base percentage. And don't even think about what his 1990 card will look like. George Bell? Last week, while getting a few more of the 15 at bats he's now had in two seasons on the North Dakota roster, he yielded a triple and committed an error on the same play in left field. Shelby was cut last April, and Seitzer was traded to Eric last fall.

2. Julio Franco for Juan Samuel. Franco batted .286 with 5 homers and 22 rbis for Dave last year, and is (in an off-year) hitting .242 in full-time duty for Dave this year. Franco batted .296 in 1990. Samuel has yet to play an inning for North Dakota and probably never will.

3. Andre Dawson for Ron Darling. Dawson has 9 homers (75% of the ND total) and 24 rbi's for Harold this year, and batted .310 with 27 homers in 1990. Darling has yet to play for North Dakota and probably never will.

4. John Farrell and a 4th round pick for Ed Whitson. Farrell is 3-3 with a 3.02 ERA for Matt. Whitson is 1-4 with a 5.64 ERA for North Dakota.

This team's talent, abilities, depth, attitude, self-esteem and morals have been systematically destroyed by its spineless, incompetent, inept, useless, douche-bag of a GM (me). That is why North Dakota is in last place. Wanna trade?


Twits Notes 11/13/90

After a two month holdout, Tsuan has decided to pay his league dues, and accordingly, his suspension has been lifted. Tsuan writes: Tsuan raises an interesting point. The duties and authority of the Commissioner have never been spelled out, except as they apply to disputes. The Commissioner takes the view that his powers are omnipotent, except to the extent that certain powers have been specifically excluded by the league(e.g., disputes). Anyone who disagrees will be suspended.



League uncovers "Raines-gate": Commissioner to be burned at the stake, beheaded, and face firing squad; retains 1st place (12/10/89)

Last week, Tsuan discovered that Tim Raines, who I had been assuming was a '1' in left field was actually a '2'. As Commissioner,. I felt that this embarrassing revelation must be investigated. I'm always the first to accuse others of screwing up - 'four-out gate', the great tired-factor caper', 'inadvertent roster shuffling' - (the names are missing to protect the innocent) - therefore, it is my duty to see how and if Raines-gate has affected any of my games.

I decided to go back and look at all my games and where Raines was in left field to change all opposing '7's (flies to left) into homers. Lest anyone charge me of fixing this study, I checked with both Robin and Matt before doing this study, and they both thought it was reasonable.

Of course, no FLY (lf)X can be a homerun, and the difference between a '1' and a '2' is minimal (the only hits are on a roll of 1,2, or 3). Furthermore, a '7' on the scoresheet could have been a normal fly (lf)(A), (B) or (C), a missed ballpark homer, or an actual catch off the X chart (even for a '2'). On the other hand, if the 15% chance for a hit on the LF(X) chart came to pass, there is a chance that my opponent could have gone on to score more runs in a big inning. By calling it a homerun, I'm being very conservative to see what games might possibly have been affected by Raines-gate.

Three games are affected. In game #4, where I beat Jed, 4-3, W. Clark hits a '2-run homer' in the 8th to win 5-4. In game #6, where I beat Matt 4-3, Evans hits a '2-run homer' in the 10th to win 5-4. In game #13, where I beat Robin 6-5, G. Davis hits a 3-run homer' in the 8th to win 8-6. The question is, what do we do? Replay all three games from the point of possible Lf(X)? Replay only if they affect any playoff positions? Fuck it? I want to be a credible commissioner (as well as manager), so your feedback on this is requested.

(Note:  The league decided to 'fuck it') 


Hefty killers - 11/20/88

What's all this fuss I hear about 'hefty killers?' Since when do only obese people become murderers? And what does it all have to do with Strat-O anyway? Let's have no more of this kind of talk.


Tsuan Guruism - Vol V. No. 15, Summer 1988

I think the best way to define Tsuan Guruism is by the example of the evolution of the groundball A+ while holding a runner rule. For the first five years or so of the league, we had been treating it as a hit and run. Then, someone, I think it was Jed, discovered the actual rule on the chart was a long single. The next year I incorporated the discovery into the rules. I distinctly remember some good-natured ribbing from both Tsuan & Andy about the new rule, especially when it cost them. At the following draft, Tsuan presented his written rule change proposals, and I quote:

"GB A+ becomes a hit-and-run play instead of a long single if the runner is being held. This rule, which was one of the first improvements we made over the Strat-O rules (that's right, Arni - an improvement), makes holding a baserunner much less of a defensive liability than having the infield in. For those of you who are confused by this (need I mention names?), consider the defensive difference between a) having the first and third basemen charging the plate while second basemen and the shortstop cover their bases, and b) the first basemen 15 feet in and closer to the line while the rest of the infield blithely sets up at double play depth."

As usual, Tsuan's argument was persuasive. Despite my bitter opposition, the rule was changed back because of Tsuan. Last season, a logical compromise was struck, allowing the long single only on those rare occasions of a GB 1B A+. Suddenly, without any warning, Tsuan showed up at this year's meeting declaring that the Strat-O rule was right all along and that we should change it back. Like mindless sheep, despite my bitter opposition ('immature' Eric called it), the league followed Tsuan. I've thought long and hard about this phenomenon. Back in the early days of the SOMBILLA, before Commissioners, Tsuan was the unofficial Commissioner. In fact, it was his idea to start the league. Whenever a dispute or a rule clarification was needed, we turned to Tsuan. On the field he was always a step ahead. Off the field, we asked for guidance. A guru was born. Even now, despite my title, my newsletters, my verbal lobbying, we see who has the true Strat-O persuasiveness. Oh, I've had a few rule change victories, but there is no denying who the SOMBILLA Guru is. I hereby propose that we vote Tsuan as the official SOMBILLA Guru.


VOL. V. No. 1 (10/23/87)

To the league:

Welcome, Strat-O-philes! As the league rolls into (pun intended) its eighth season, we find SOMBILLA interest at an all-time high. (Maybe not, but it sounds good.) The league is in fine shape fiscally and labor relations are improving (with no strike threats this year). We welcome a new half-member, with piles of franchise applications cluttering the Commissioner's desk (one xeroxed 100 times). It is with this warped enthusiasm that I proudly present the annual SOMBILLA preview. (Those of you who scoffed at my last year's preview for picking 3rd place Matt for last, note that I was on the money with T&A as the champion, which is the only thing the odds predications are for.) You may notice a theme to these predictions. But in fact, I'm not upset that Robin virtually gave Kirby Puckett to Jed for nothing. I AM REALLY NOT UPSET!

1. Andy & Tsuan** - The defending champs are even stronger than last year. While 'Gooden and Witt and two days of shit' can still be applied, it doesn't matter since the bullpen is the league's best. In addition, this odious team has the league's best defense - a literal all one infield, and a -10 outfield. This team pisses me off. With Strawberry, Barfield, Schmidt, and E. Davis, to name a few, playing in Seattle, Future Wax is once again the league favorite. Can you imagine this team with Kirby Puckett? Odds: 5-2

2. Robin - If she hadn't traded Kirby Puckett, she'd be the favorite. It's still a formidable lineup with G. Davis, Bass, Grubb, and the dreaded Lance Parrish. Her lefty oriented staff is solid with Tudor, Sid. F., Dravecky, Candelaria (all can start), Horton and Orosco. And she has Henke. Odds: 4-1

3. Jed - It's a typical Jed team. Platoons everywhere and relief depth. He has Kirby Puckett. Talent-wise it’s probably about 5th best, but with the guilt factor he's right in the thick of it. Mike Scott won't hurt either. Odds: 5-1

4. Yitz & Dave - If they'd traded for Kirby Puckett they'd be picked second. The talent here is very good, but on the basis of managerial experience (I have a felling Dave may be doing more managing than Yitz), they're picked fourth. Valenzuela, Darling, Ojeda and Ryan are the league's best starting four; Eichhorn backs them up. This team has two -3 catchers (J. Davis and Boone). Mattingly, Brooks and Winfield are most of the lineup, however. Still, this team could finish anywhere from first to sixth. Odds: 6-1

5. Eric - Offseason raving by Eric has not persuaded me to place him higher. His lineup has tremendous on-base, but at great peril to his defense. He's considering platooning a 4e48 at shortstop. Clemens and Reuschel are an awesome 1-2, but the pen is weak. He's looking forward to finally getting a number one pick next year. Had he traded for Kirby Puckett, there'd be no question he'd make the playoffs. Odds: 10-1

6. Arni - Its not a bad team really, its just that there are five teams that are better. Raines and Henderson are fun, and there's decent on-base, but not a lot of power. The pitching is average, or just below. (Tom Candiotti and Mike Mason are actually on the staff). The defense is good, but there's just not as much talent as what's above. With Matt's last year's luck and Kirby Puckett this team would be the favorite. Odds: 15-1

7. Joel - This franchise needs a complete overhaul of its scouting department. A solid core lineup of stars is one year older, and though Canseco can step right in, there is no one waiting in the wings (unless recent young draft phenoms Burleson, Sutton and Rick Leach can blossom in the next few years). George Foster is still on the roster. It will be intriguing to see who will be starting. In fairness, Joel has looked at his team a few times, but there is such a dearth of pitching that he may end up last again. If he had Kirby Puckett, I still don't think he'd make the playoffs. Odds: 30-1

8. Matt- That Matt thinks this team is better than last year's team is the best evidence to be found of his luck last year. Even if Matt had Kirby Puckett, he'd still be battling Joel for Mark McGwire. Bruce Hurst is a great pitcher. Last year I had Matt at an outrageous 1000-1. After his season, I estimate that, in Strat-O where 60% is luck, the longest shot that someone could realistically be is about 40-1. Therefore, Odds: 40-1.

** Abbreviation is still T&A, however.

Trophy Committee Report
In July, I gave Eric a brochure of placques. He didn't like them. 


QUIZ - ARE YOU A SOMBILLA JUNKIE? - (Summer 1987)

1. Do you religiously read the daily box scores for your players?
2. Do you watch the evening news (or call "sportsphone") looking for the score of the game your pitcher was going in?
3. Do you daydream at work about Strat-O fantasies?
4. Do you scout potential rookies at the positions(s) you'll need?
5. Do you care less how the Red Sox (Mets for Andy. Cards for Yitz) did and more how your player did against them?
6. Do you go temporarily insane when your batter is facing your pitcher?
7. Do you look at your next year's team's cards at least once a week?
8. Do you rationalize a player getting sent to the minors by saying "At least I'll have someone to cut."?
9. Do you actually use 'AHWG' in normal conversations?
10. Do you truly believe that the only purpose for real baseball is to supply Strat-O-Matic with the statistics to make the cards?

SCORE
10 - Congratulations! Excellent!
7-9 - Normal
4-6 - Not bad, but room for improvement
1-3 - You probably drafted Gary Redus
0 - Your name is Joel


TWITS Notes - 3/10/87

How do you spell choke? After 24 games, North Dakota was 15-9, tied for first, and leading the league in pitching by a wide margin. Since then the "Red Sox of the SOMBILLA" have gone 8-20. The pitching has dropped steadily over time and now rests in 5th place. Since being tied with Bubba for fourth at 21-19, North Dakota has gone 2-10 over that crucial stretch, being outscored 67-23. On a bright note, Tim Raines stole home last week for the first intentional steal of home in league history (that is, it wasn't a botched squeeze play). It didn't prevent the team from being swept, however. Neither did spending a week in the freezer. The players have been humiliated, praised, pounded on, ignored, and used as bird cage lining. Nothing has worked.

Bubba is a sizzling 19-9 over the last 28. Last week against the Express, Bubba pounded out 45 hits, raising the team average to an outrageous .280. This is almost 40 points above the league average and 37 points above the second highest team.

The Marlborough St. household was 0-8 last week for the first time in history...Future Wax hit 10 home runs last week in their sweep over beleaguered North Dakota...The SOMBILA Statistician awards: Easiest stats to do - for the seventh year in a row - Joel. Most difficulty stats to do - for the seventh year in a row - Jed...Commissioner's awards: Most likely not to be able to play - Yitz... Best able to handle blowing huge lead in the 9th inning - Yitz...Best 1000 to 1 team - Matt...Biggest disappointment - to be announced - Mars Express and North Dakota are tied going into last week...Hard luck award - John Tudor, Bay City 5-6 2.91 and Orel Hershiser, Mars Express 2-7 3.59...Now that it appears Tsuan & Andy will finish first, with a decent shot at winning it all, is anyone else still pissed off that they have three first rounders?


The new cards are coming! The new cards are coming!



 

TWITS Notes, Vol IV., No. 5 (12/31/86)

The shocking Manilla Folders continue their rampage, with every week bringing dozens of new franchise records. The consensus around the league among those who have actually faced Matt is that he has been incredibly lucky. Though much of Strat-O is luck and karma, can a truly bad team go on a 56 game luck streak? Will Vince Coleman and Ozzie Smith continue to go 1-2 in batting at .367 and .345? Will Dwight Evans finish in the homerun leaders? Will Leibrandt and Guidry continue to baffle lefty killers? Will Bill Campbell and the Quiz continue to not choke? We say no. Perhaps 1000-1 was a bit harsh, and they might not even finish last. But playoffs????!!!!

Injuries are up 250% over last year. The dice are not any more dangerous, nor are the cards flimsier or the players in worse condition. Rather, the increase is due solely to Tsuan's new injury rule. Every team has felt the impact, and the players are dropping like flies. In one game, both Matt's 2nd basemen were injured (not bad luck, because he still won), and other horrible stories abound. Though confusion reigns about maximum injury length (it’s all in the rules shown in issue no. 1, which should be posted in your bathroom by now), stupidity abounds where managers have forgotten to call up replacements. The moral is to be prepared for injuries, keep track of who's been injured, and yell at Tsuan when your best player gets hurt, causing you to miss the playoffs.


Vol IV, No. 1

The following official odds have been installed at Caesar's Place in Las Vegas:

T-A     3-1     Gooden and Witt, and two days of shit
Arni     4-1     Break a leg, Pedro!
Jed      4-1     Never discount the guilt factor
Eric     4-1     Last gasp for over the hill gang
Robin  10-1   Sure they hve great buns, but can they hit?
Yitz     20-1   Must impress the jury again.
Joel    100-1  Give me Pawtucket's staff
Matt  1000-1 Canseco or Joyner?

Annual SOMBILLA quiz

1. Which Gary Redus drafter will finish last again this year?
2. Which manager is least likely to know the score, the inning or the opponent?
3. Which manager's starting lineup averages over age 50?
4. Which manager is most likely to draft a player because he's cute, or trade one simply because he's a jerk?
5. Which commissioner is most likely to break furniture after missing a 1-19 home run to win a game?
6. Which managing lawyer will not win manager of the year again this year?
7. Which manager is most likely to make his opponent feel guily for scoring a run in the 9th inning to ruin a 10-0 shutout?
8. Which managing duet will win the "Richman Cup" this year?


EDITORIAL
"Violence in the SOMBILLA"

This has been an unprecedented year of turmoil in the SOMBILLA. Characterized by furniture breaking, governmental overthrows, and relationship ruining, violence in the SOMBILLA has reached a critical point. On Sunday, March 23, 1986, the SOMBILLA reached its peak and nadir simultaneously. While engaged in the closest, most nail biting, and first seven game playoff in history, Eric and Arni witness pure ugliness (in mood) across the table.

The facts: At approximately 9:30 PM EST, Tsuan, Andy and Yitz were playing the 6th game of their playoff series. After 2 scoreless innings, Andy got up to get a beer. At the same time, Yitz got up to answer the phone. When they returned (Yitz returning first) scorekeeper Tsuan announced "Templeton's up", whereupon Andy commenced hitting. After this scoreless 1/2 inning, Tsuan examined the scoresheets, and realized that he had fucked up, batting twice in a row.

At this point, accounts vary among the three witnesses (Eric, Arni & Robin) and among the three participants (Tsuan, Andy & Yitz) as to what happened next. According to court testimony, it has been determined that Arni was asked to rule on the situation at the time. He ruled that Yitz could bat 2 innings in a row, and that would settle it. After Yitz batted, (or perhaps just after the ruling, according to some) a major argument ensued. According to one unreliable, and anonymous witness, 3 windows were broken, Yitz's apartment was torched and all six people were carried away by ambulance.

Seriously, however, without getting involved in the issues of the argument (these will be dealt with during the draft meeting) it is apparent that all 3 participants are upset with their opponent and still left with "bad taste" in the mouth. Tsuan is upset that Yitz slammed the dice down in disgust and yelled at him, while Yitz is upset that Tsuan and Andy jumped down his throat, not letting him get a word in edgewise. Yitz is upset that Tsuan and Andy take it so seriously, and Tsuan is upset that Yitz lost his cool and became unfriendly. I am upset that once I made the ruling, I was challenged for the next 48 hours on it. Why was I elected Commissioner? Because I do the stats? I was asked to make a ruling, which I thought was fair and logical. Though we will attempt to clear up the specifics of the rules at the meeting, in the future there will be other instances where a ruling is needed. If my rulings (which I try to be fair and logical about) become starting points for arguments, I might as well resign.

Why do we play Strat-O-Matic? Answer that and then think about what happened March 23rd. There is no room in this league for animosity - so fuck all of you.

The Commissioner


League investigates Learned Hands - widespread corruption suspected

Twits Notes - March 2, 1986

Shady goings on in the Hands' organization - Honeycutt has pitched past his limit, and the offending game will be replayed from point of offense. In an unrelated matter, Yitz used his 26th man (Cedeno), though the attempt to prevent a loss proved futile. The league is now conducting an investigation of all L.H. internal procedures, including opening all books. Details published soon. And of course, as punishment, Yitz must now play the rest of his games naked.


Gamer introduces future wife to S-O-M Baseball on first date

(as published in the Strat-O-Matic review, December 1985)

Most young men, when they go courting, wine and dine their dates.

Not Arni Pollinger.

On his first date with Robin P. he invited her to a Boston Red Sox baseball game. And after the game he invited her back to his Boston apartment...and showed her how to play Strat-O-Matic Baseball!

That was three years ago and today Arni Pollinger and Robin P. are husband-and wife-...and both members of the Strat-O-Matic Baseball Ivy League League - Advanced (SOMBILLA), a six-manager face-to-face league that plays a 50-game schedule.

"Five of us grew up in Framingham, MA, and have known each other since elementary school," says Pollinger. "The sixth is my wife, Robin, who is, I'm sure, one of the most successful female gamers around." Robin, in fact, shared the championship her first year in the league. "At the wedding," continues Pollinger, "Jed, a league member, toasted us by explaining to all 130 people about our Strat-O-Matic league and how some day Robin and I would play in the World Series.

A touch of ivy

Pollinger, now 26, first started playing S-O-M Baseball in 1969 (He still has the complete sets of cards from 1968 and '69). He and another league member, Eric, bought the basketball game in 1973 and started a mini league.

And a year ago Pollinger with friends, started a S-O-M hockey league using the best players from six years of hockey cards.

As far as the SOMBILLA -the Ivy League refers to the time of the league's inception when all of the original members were going to Ivy League colleges - Cornell, Princeton, Harvard, Yale and Pennsylvania.

Pollinger's a grad of Pennsylvania and is employed as an actuary in Boston. His wife, Robin, 24, graduated from Boston University and is an assistant editor for a Cambridge publishing company.

She manages Bay City and he North Dakota. Also in the current SOMBILLA lineup are:

* Tsuan - Lives in Framingham...26...graduate of Yale; works for computer support service in Boston...has won two and one-half league championships...team: Shellshock III Nazgul.
* Jed - Another Framinghamite...26...graduate of Harvard; works for same computer company as Tsuan...has won two league championships...team: Ack.
* Eric - Another Framinghamite...26...graduate of New York University; works for a Boston law firm...best man at Pollinger's wedding...team Marakesh Express.
* Joel - Another Framinghamite...26...graduate of Penn; works for engineering firm...team: Sardukar.
* Andy - Not a Framinghamite...24...used to work with Tsuan and Jed, though, and thus recruited for league...team Shellshock III.

Six members are active at all times, with the seventh sharing a franchise or sitting out a season. All the members currently reside in Boston or nearby. The league meets one night a week, and plays four games, for 12 weeks.

“Though we may not be as hard core as some of the other leagues. I'll bet ours is the closest and has had the longest friendships of any league, " says Pollinger, "And that includes a marriage!"

The most recent SOMBILLA season was won by the Marakesh Express (29-21), although in the playoffs it was Ack defeating North Dakota in four straight games.


Gary Redus???? (November 25, 1985)

The SOMBILLA conducted its historic 35-round permanent league dispersal draft on November 16, and with the 9th pick overall, Matt chose Gary Redus. GARY REDUS??? Is this 29 year old outfielder with no arm who is useless against right-handed pitching and who batted .252 in 1985 the 9th best major leaguer? If he turns into a Dale Murphy I'll permanently have my mouth stuffed with my big foot, but consider this all-star team of those picked after Redus (by no means all inclusive):

P - Valenzuela, Stieb, Tudor, Saberhagen, Soto, Quissenberry
C - Gedman, Carter, Parrish, Pena
1B - Murray, Hernandez
2B - Whitaker, Herr
SS - Trammell, Fernandez
3B - Brett, Schmidt
LF - Bell, Marshall, Cruz
CF - D. Murphy, Raines, McGee
RF - Winfield, Baines, Guerrero

(It's OK, Matt - I give everyone shit. See "Eric Lost the Scoresheets" or "Tsuan attempts to pull draft coup" issues.) 


VOL III, No. 1

QUIZ

1. Which manager is least likely to know the score, the player at bat, or the opponent?
2. Which manager is most likely to draft the Red Sox?
3. Which manager is most likely to trade a player simply because he's a jerk, for another simply because he's cute?
4. Which manager is most likely to make his opponent feel guilty for scoring a run in the 9th inning to ruin a 9-0 shutout?
5. Which manage is most likely to break the league's (his own) 13-game consecutive losing streak, the league's (his own) 24 out of 26 game losing streak and finish 20 games out of first?
6. Which managing duet will win the championship this year?


The SOMBILLA at six - September 16, 1985

- Bay City cleans up awards, but Evil Bunnies sweep the series. Story inside.
- "The SOMBILLA at six" - First of a two part series. Includes poll.

To the league:

The SOMBILLA at age six is at a crossroads. Some members have expressed concern that each year is meaningless since every team is strong, and it is almost luck as to who comes out on top. Though that thinking has some valid and some not so valid points, the league at six is experiencing some growing pains and restlessness (although some members, remaining nameless, are continually apathetic). There has been talk of a permanent league, player by player draft, and even the status quo.

With this confused state of affairs, the league is asked to complete the following poll by ranking the scenarios 1 through 4. There will be a runoff in the next issue of the top two scenarios.

___Scenario #1: Status Quo. A team by team, one year league. It's been fun, hasn't it?
___Scenario #2: Player by player draft with a nonpermanent (i.e., one year) league. This is an interesting variation of what we've been doing - for someone wary of a permanent league, this scenario could lead to a permanent league the second year with the first year a "practice league"
___Scenario #3: Team by team draft. Permanent league. This is a compromise for those who don't want to compete with those types who memorize all 520 cards. Under this scenario, of course, the second and subsequent years would be player by player.
___Scenario #4: Player by player draft. Permanent league. The whole cahuna. Think about who knows all the cards, year after year and trying (or not trying) to compete while considering 2 past seasons ('84 and '85) and potential future seasons. Sure, everyone knows the Goodens and Bretts, but what about the 22nd round, when you want a backup infielder. How old is Rance Mullinicks? How did Glenn Hubbard do in '85? Tsuan will know - he knows everything.

In conclusion, a permanent league is indeed an intriguing idea, but being stuck with a 14-36 type team forever is a scary thought. With a one-year league, all the past is forgotten and each year begins anew. Contrary to the viewpoints presented here, I, in fact, am still undecided.


ERIC LOST THE SCORESHEETS - May 5, 1985

This was to be the regular season final statistics issue. What is presented in this issue are the final stats as complete as they will ever be, because, though inadvertently, yet with a carelessly misguided and warped sense of intelligence, ERIC LOST THE SCORESHEETS of his last six games. Luckily, Andy also scored two of the games (the league now encourages all of Eric's opponents to score games next year), and through an absurd Ericonian twist, Eric compiled his team's final individual stats before LOSING THE SCORESHEETS. The net effect of this catastrophic event is that individual stats for Sardukar and Ack! are through 48 gamers, and team totals (i.e. this page) are 48 games for Sardukar and Ack! and 46 for M. Express.

(satire and Eric-bashing filled the rest of the Final Statistics newsletter):
Page 2 - 'Final' Batting Leaders
Page 3 - 'Final' Pitching Leaders
Page 4 - TWITS Notes: ERIC LOST THE SCORESHEETS
Page 5 - The Official "ERIC LOST THE SCORESHEETS" MVP and Cy Young Ballot (footnote on page: *pro-rations based on incomplete stats through 48 games [see page 1 or call Eric at 555-7792 for an explanation)
Page 6 - Marakash Express Stats * (* - The manager of this team lost the scoresheets)
Page 7 - Ack!* stats (* Based on 48 games [call Eric 555-7792])
Page 8 - Bay City* stats (*Unaffected by the scoresheet snafu)
Page 9 - North Dakota* stats (*Unaffected by the scroesheet snafu)
Page 10 - Sardukar* stats (*Based on 48 games [call Eric 555-7792])
Page 11 - Shellshock III Nazgul* stats (*Unaffected by the scoresheet snafu)



November 19, 1984
Tsuan attempts to pull draft coup.  Quote of the week: "I'll kill if I have to" - Tsuan upon learning his draft scheme had been voted down 4-1.

During the past week, a monumental and dangerous event took place. As you know, three-time defending champion Tsuan formed a coalition of successful franchise owners and attempted an upheaval of all SOMBILLA values, as well as the draft. It is important that we clearly see through this charade.

Back in the carefree days of May and June when we could all wear shorts and softballs filled the air, Tsuan put forth his "proposition". Since he hadn't been in the league last year, he reasoned, he should get the first choice in the draft, like an expansion team. When it became clear that this ludicrous idea would obviously not work, he plotted his next course of action. Although we have no proof, it is obvious that he thought of his last scheme at some point during July and August. Summer waned. The leaves turned, and yet he waited. Finally, two weeks before the draft (and not so coincidentally, while his scouts were looking at all the teams), he decided to spring upon an unsuspecting league. (In retrospect, apparently, he waited until his co-manager could examine all the teams closely, and thus decide which draft pick would be most advantageous). Tsuan's idea: Draft in reverse order of regular season finish, and totally ignore any post-season play. Their reasoning is that post-season play means nothing, is completely based on luck, and that winning in the playoffs has no bearing on reality. They would have us believe that winning 3 championships was all luck. That Jed has appeared in every single SOMBILLA World Series (yes 4 for 4), but came in first place only once shows that, to Jed, the most important part of the SOMBILLA is the post-season. Everyone but Tsuan agrees (we feel Andy is being manipulated).

Another point - let's examine the types of franchises on each side of the issue:
FOR THE CHANGE                                  AGAINST
Tsuan (3 championships)                               Joel (2 playoffs in 4)
Jed* (1 champ, 4 WS appearances)              Eric (1 playoff in 3)
Andy (2 playoffs, 1 WS appearance)             Arni (1 playoff in 4)
                                                                     Robin (1** playoff in 3)

TOTALS:
9 seasons                                                       13 seasons
9 playoffs                                                         5 playoffs
4 championships                                               1 championship **
4 World Series                                                 1 World Series **

* To his credit, although morally aligned with the pro-change group, Jed has decided to abstain.
** Shared a team with you know who

This is clearly a case of the haves vs. the have-nots. The rich wanting to get richer. Good Strat-O-Matic players not only win games, but also don't have warped senses of winning. I urge the pro-change group to repent.

One final point. Both Andy and Tsuan wish to change the draft. However, since they are sharing the same team, their votes count only as one. If they were to get two votes, then in every league policy decision, that franchise would have twice as much voting power as any other franchise. That is a dangerous proposition. In this league, all franchises are treated equally and all have equal say in any decision.

In conclusion, it is apparent that the votes are clearly not there for Tsuan. With 4 against, 1 for and 1 abstaining, Tsuan gets 20% of the vote. Walter Mondale received 39% of the vote. George McGovern got 38%. therefore it is clear that Tsuan is truly in the minority.

The preceding was a paid political announcement.



VOL. II, No. 1: October, 1984

As you know, the teams have arrived. They are currently residing in Marakesh while the Express management continues to scout them. The scouting departments of both North Dakota and Bay City finished their assignments a month ago, but Eric accidentally left the National League in Bill S.'s car, and it (the league) was marooned in Milford for three weeks. When the Express are through, the teams will be shipped COD to Shithead. Finally, although pointlessly, Sardukar will be given the cards. The league remembers a slight protest by Sardukar during the draft last year for not having enough time to scout, and we wish to avoid a similar scene this year.

Issues to be discussed include a possible trophy to present to future champions, and loopholes in starter-reliever rules. A non-issue is the draft position of Nazgul-Shellshock - 5th. Tentative draft date: November 26



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