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From the Desk of the Commissioner:

Here are some issues I would like for our voting members to weigh in on for the 1999 season. If you are not sure whether or not you are a voting member, please check the Constitution. Voting members *are* required to vote; abstention is not allowed.

1) Eliminate usage of the closer rules.

I do not mean our league's closer rule, but the closer rule itself as created by Strat-O-Matic. That rule is designed to accurately reconstruct bullpen usage *in the 1980's and 1990's*. As we are familiar, historically, teams did not have one "closer" but rather had any of a number of pitchers "close" out games over the course of the season, including starting pitchers. The motivation of this is to both, first and most importantly, better reflect pitching in the Major Leagues over its history, not its recent trends. Second, and of less significance, is that it will allows us to "simplify" our rules a bit more. As a side note, the new version of SOM is advertised as coming with "Super Hal" bullpen setup that will allow us to more individually tailor our pitching staffs. Teams who want to assign a single closer, of course, still can. Teams that want to utilize a different historical model will now be able to do that, as well. We will not be constrained by a rule the company created to handle an anomalous period in the history of the sport.

The only negative of this that I can conceive of presently is that it will adversely effect one or two pitchers that teams would exercise the OOSL closer rule on. For example, if Ed Mortimer had exercised the closer rule on Willie Hernandez again this year, his relief rating would move up from a "1" to a "2." There are only perhaps three pitchers who might enjoy this benefit in the league for 1999 specifically, but I am sensitive to the potential serious ramifications the team owners may perceive this would have on their club. If you are effected by this in a way that you think is competitively unfair, please LMK and we will try to implement a work-around.

Vote either "Yes" to eliminate our use of the SOM closer rule or "No" to continue to use it.

2) Cease changing injuries on SOM cards.

Before the very first season, I essentially made the decision that:

a) SOM's blanket policy of putting the injury chance for everyone who can play catcher on 3 or 11 as opposed to 2 or 12 was unfair, given that a catcher and an outfielder with the same amount of at-bats should have the same chance to reach their at-bat total. Before each season, I have manually moved everyone's injuries to 2 or 12, to "even it out."

b) Lou Gehrig and Cal Ripken should have the injury taken completely off of their cards, in deference to their real life "Iron Man" streaks. Every year their cards have not had an injury on them.

I think that both of these decisions should be reversed, for the following reasons:

a) More catchers have led their league in games played than any other position in OOSL history. That is silly. The way SOM distributes injuries will better replicate the reality that a catcher, unlike other position players, cannot go out and play every day, all year long. Keeping the injuries as SOM intended will capture this effect.

b) Gehrig and Ripken *did* get injured in real life. They have even been knocked out of games (especially Gehrig). The key is, they were able to come back the next day. But allowing the team that has these players the guarantee that they will finish every game they start is both unrealistic and an unfair advantage. Well, I guess in Ripken's case, that might not be so! ;-)

I do have two caveats, one for each of these two changes:

a) Players who are *rated to play catcher* but are not/have not/would not be used as a catcher by their team continue to have their injury changed to 2 or 12. What is the point of penalizing Jimmie Foxx, among others, for a position they will not play.

b) Gehrig and Ripken, while keeping the injury on their card, cannot be hurt beyond the present game. If/when they do get hurt, after the game, the injury is taken off manually so they can appear in the subsequent game.

Thus, this is a vote to keep the injury rolls on Strat-O-Matic cards as they are issued, with the exception of players who are rated to play but would not play it. (Roughly speaking, this covers all players who are rated for a position other than catcher and are so poor at catcher that they would only be used in our league in an emergency capacity). Along with this, Cal Ripken and Lou Gehrig cannot sustain an injury longer than the current game, excepting the special "Long-Term Injury" rules our league has voted into force.

Vote "Yes" to change the OOSL policy toward injury ratings on cards or "No" to remain with the status quo.

Thanks for your quick voting and Happy New Year!

Both of these Proposals have PASSED!

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