It was computer Strat tutorial day. Rene drove down from Portland, Maine to meet me just East of Manchester, New Hampshire for our jaunt Northward into Canada. During the 4 1/2 hour drive, we remembered many Strat-o moments from our childhood. The infamous disappearing act of 1978 Cincinnati Reds. The controversial 1st Super Bowl played under the lights in the Boys Club library when my older brother protested the outcome after I had kicked a 52-yard field goal to win. His complaint was that I had taken outside advise on the last play. There were the all night leagues or the old draft out of  brown bag leagues.  

 We laughed the entire way to Montreal. Once we navigated entrance into the city, our directions had us looking for the Jacques Cartier Tunnel yet we found the  Jacques Cartier Bridge, it was a matter of deciphering our map and circling the neighborhood a few times but eventually we found Auberge De Fontaine, a quaint little B&B in the heart of the city. We unpacked, called our Super Hal tutor (Daniel) and prepared for a night out in Montreal, "the coolest city in North America"[1].

 We decided to get to know each other over some gourmet pizza and a few drinks. Daniel explained to us the history of baseball in Montreal and gave us some interesting insights into the Exposí franchise that are not covered in the American Press. We swapped Strat-o stories and talked about life in general. The Canadian perspective is much closer to our own (American) than we had previously thought. As it was very late, we decided to call it a night and begin the tutorial the next morning.

Rene and I woke to Strat fever. "It's time for the Southern Maine League's first international series,"[2] he proclaimed. After breakfast and a shower, we set up shop on the little desk in our room and my Greenheads pounded Rene's Reds in 4 straight games. Carlos Beltran was the hero leading off a remarkable 3 consecutive games with Homers. Then, it was off to Daniel's pad for some espresso and lessons from the Professor. 

Daniel greeted us with bright eyes and the java I so sorely lacked. He patiently took us through every aspect of HAL and the resulting effects the settings would have on our games. I scribbled notes as quickly as I could. Later to find that deciphering them wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. We broke for lunch. More top quality Canadian Pizza and a bizarre, local delicacy of French fries, barbecue sauce and cheese curds referred to as "poutine". The lessons continued throughout the afternoon. Sadly we had to leave that night because of some school obligations of Rene's but the plan is to return this summer and visit the "Big O", Olympic Stadium.

So any of you that lose a close home game to either Rene or I can thank your Draft Coordinator Daniel Valois for his teaching excellence.  


[1] Daniel Valois

[2] Rene Custeau