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Super Mario Plays Ball
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Baseball season has finally started and I can report that Sandy Koufax hurled a no-hitter against Class D Brunswick but future New York Governor Mario Cuomo at least got wood on the ball, grounding out twice before being removed for a pinch hitter.

In the alternate reality of SBS Baseball that is.

D.B. Schmidt's Strategic Baseball Simulator is a small, freeware text-based game, which recreates baseball history using player's actual statistics. Although it might not have the depth of some modern, commercial simulations, it is plenty good -- superior, for instance, to the then state of the art Strat-O-Matic card games I was addicted to as a kid. Heck, the newest version even knows whether you've warmed up your relief pitcher long enough.

Better yet, it is easy to make any team you want. Just plug the statistics into an appropriately formatted text file. SBS fans have already made available practically every team from every baseball season ever played. In fact, some are now working on the minors and Japan. Mischa Gelman has created whole leagues and seasons simply because of some interesting quirk they featured.

In the case of the 1952 Georgia-Florida League (class D) that was a single player. M. Matthew (Mario) Cuomo, a twenty-year old center fielder for Brunswick who would reach the major leagues in politics. In the fascinating essay about the league that comes with the team files, (all well worth perusing in their own right for those interested in baseball history) Mischa quotes a scouting report on Cuomo: "Potentially the best prospect on the club in my opinion...He is aggressive and plays hard. He is intelligent and is a straight A student at St. John's University."

The times I heard him speak, Mario Cuomo struck me as a rarity, a thoughtful politician. He impressed me most in losing the governorship, when he refused to back down on his moral stand against the death penalty, notwithstanding the obvious fact that the position had become political hemlock in our era of rule by opportunistic thugs like George Pataki.

Needless to say I welcomed the opportunity to have Mario play against Sandy Koufax. (A classy politician aginst a classy baseball player) One irrefutable fact I learned from the game was that Mario Cuomo is not, regardless of what anyone might say, a lefty. Clearly, he bats from the right side. As Casey Stengel said -- you could look it up.

SBS Seasons and Team Library Index Page

Check out the selection of teams here . Even if you don't want to play, you can download the tiny files just for the essays.

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