Statis Pro Baseball Online

Statis Pro Baseball Online is on the horizon.  that’s the word from John Goecken, creator of Statis Pro the Pennant game from the late 90’s. dare i say, “a game from last century”?  recently i had the opportunity to ask a few questions and probe the shadowy recesses of his mind.  i found only bright and hopeful answers.  enjoy the read.

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StatisProBaseball: tell us a little about yourself, please.  i’m assuming you don’t work on statis pro baseball stuff as a career (i.e. you have a regular job and this is a hobby).

John: I live in St. Louis and work an IT job for a large corporate company. I wear a lot of different hats, but the majority of it is working with databases. I’m an American League fan (Rangers) but I usually go to a few Cardinals games a year. I’m not a huge Cardinals fan but I have to admit they have great fans.

SPB: how long have you been playing Statis Pro Baseball?  what or who got you into the game?

John: I’ve been playing Statis Pro for about 25 years. One of my baseball coaches first brought the game over to my house so my brother and I learned it. This coach was in a league about 10 miles away that played once a week. He got busy and didn’t want to play anymore so he gave his team to my brother. My brother left for college and gave his team to me. They played a National League league and then after that was over they would play an American one. I was a Rangers fan so I always played with the Rangers (which were awful back then). In the National league I made the playoffs once with the Pirates in ’86. I had a whole team of H&R guys and just murdered 2-9’s with the H&R rule. From then I taught other guys and had my own leagues. The most I played was in college but after that I moved a few times, had no one to play against and other things become more important.

SPB: i know you used to make Statis Pro the Pennant.  could you provide a little history about that game and how it varied from the original Statis Pro?

John: I was already playing Statis Pro but saw an ad (in a magazine I think) for Pursue the Pennant. I remember thinking it was cool because it had the stadium backgrounds. I got the game for Christmas I think and played it quite a few times. There were alot of things I liked about it but it took a little longer than Statis Pro. I decided to take a few things from Pursue the Pennant and incorporate them into Statis Pro and just came up with the not so clever Statis Pro the Pennant (SPTP). The most notable update was the right and lefty numbers for each batter. Another thing I liked was the deep fly ball which came into play anytime the number was 86-88. So each batters last out number was 85. I was playing SPTP with friends in college 3 years before I even got it all on paper and it was available for download. I still have a full Pursue the Pennant game to this day in a garage with cards from 88 and 90 I believe.

SPB: i saw in a post recently that you had been away from the game for a while, what happened?

John: I just moved a lot and got busy with work and other hobbies. I really never played Statis Pro by myself. I preferred playing others and when you move a lot it’s hard to find people to play.

SPB: in our emailings, you’ve mentioned of a computer version in the works.  will this be a computer version of SPtP?  or another variation?  could you tell us some of the ‘bells-n’whistles’ that this game will have?

John: I’ve created a pc game called Statis Pro Baseball Online, it’s a working title but will probably stick because I really did create the game for online play. I must’ve started working on different iterations of the game about 5 different times in the past 8 years and each time I just got burnout because I was trying to make it too elaborate and it just took up too much time. I was having the game read the cards, and calculate the outcomes from random numbers and fill in the scoresheet which really turned the game into click a button and do nothing. It kind of took away from it being Statis Pro. This time I scaled it back and I finally completed a working version of the game. The game was created to promote online leagues of the game. Knowing that no two Statis Pro leagues are alike I made the game as customizable as I could. There are still a few things that need to be done but they are just addons that aren’t needed to play. The game was designed so people can play online over Skype. If you haven’t heard of Skype or haven’t used it, it is a pretty slick program to talk over the web…and it’s free! Some of the highlights to the game are….

1) Customizable team names, logos, rosters, and player data – You really can customize a league to your liking. If you want to call your team the New York Empire and have all of the AL all-stars on it, you can. You can create your own team logo and put it in the game too. I’ll have a website that will have templates for people to use and tutorials on how to customize the game. It should be really easy for people who create cards every year to insert them into the game (as long as they have Excel).

2) Playing over Skype – You can create a Team Sheet (a sheet of 15 batters and 15 pitchers), and a custom roster to send to the opposing team over Skype. You can talk to the other owner, send and receive custom game files then share your screen so he can see the game. Just like Statis Pro you’re looking at the same game board, the same cards, one keeps score and the other tells him when he wants to swing, steal, bunt, etc…

3) Keeping statistics – You can print the game score sheet, export your stats and import the game stats into the game to keep track of league standings and stats that can be sorted.

Some of the things I want to add in the future are a player creator that will calculate players from the stats you enter and add that player to the player database. Another thing I’d like to add is exporting league stats and standings. And yet another is saving the game and importing a game incase one of the players can’t finish. The last two should not be too difficult so hopefully I can get them in quick.

The website will be for players to meet other players, find leagues and upload and download custom data and tutorials. I really would like people to contribute because I don’t have enough time to run the whole thing myself.

SPB: when this is ready, what seasons will you be providing?  do you have any idea of costs (what you may charge for the game and/or seasons/teams)?

John: When it’s ready I will provide my version of last years cards/player data with it. That doesn’t mean that you have to use mine. Templates will be provided so people can use their own card data (providing they make their own cards). Or people can email files to the website for others to use. After this season I may or may not create another player set. If somebody else makes better player files than mine (which is highly possible) then they can send them to the website and maybe it could be the gold standard. I will have a playable demo to download for free. It contains all the functionality of the full version but is limited to 2 teams and 3 innings of play. Since I had to purchase web space to house all the game files and future custom files I’ve decided that people who make a donation of $10 or more to the site will receive a download link to the full version which includes all teams and 9 inning games. The money will be used towards keeping the site alive.

SPB: do you have a time-table for it’s release?

John: I’m hoping to have a working version for people to download in a few weeks. Definitely before the end of the baseball regular season. [editor’s note: 2010 baseball season]

SPB: lastly, you may have seen that i always request this during interviews:  please describe yourself in four words or less without using the word jello.

John: Statis Pro Baseball Fan :)

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Posted 08/22/2010 by rick

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