Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Bad, Bad, Baltimore

Bad.. Bad... Baltimore is so bad, right now! Well.. in my 2K9 season at least...

In my APBA 2K9 Project, I have taken the best players of each of the 30 franchises from the years 2009-2011 -- Of course, the more successful those teams are, like the Texas Rangers (2 World Series appearances), the better.... which means the least successful... you get the idea.

The Baltimore Orioles by 2011, have yet to break out of their long depression... they would do so by winning 93 games in 2012, in which they have since been far more competitive. The unfortunate thing for my APBA 2K9 Project, their best team from 2009-2011, was their 2011 ball club that only won 69 games (2009 - 64 wins, 2010 - 66 wins).

They have everything going against them for the most part, their lineup & defense is probably their strongest elements, and the lineup for most part does not match up against most teams in the American League; Another problem with their lineup is that they have no .300 hitters, and in a league that are taking the best of the best from each franchise, which means stronger pitching rotations, those .300 batters will be missed.

The team also has no bench, when Felix Pie is your best option off the bench, you know you are in trouble.

Their rotation is easily the weakest in the entire MLB in this project. I don't think any other team sports a Grade D starting pitcher in their rotation, nor do I think any rotation has 4 pitchers with a Grade C or less, as well.

The team actually played above-and-beyond in two games against a tough Minnesota Twins team, only for their bullpen to blow the game, twice! One of those games, the Orioles led 6-0 entering the 8th Inning!

The Orioles are currently batting .180, while their pitching has a 9.00 ERA... Ouch! It gets worse, they have been outscored already by 26 runs... All this in 4 games! Their latest loss was being shutout by Tampa Bay's Jeremy Hellickson, in which the O's could only manage 2 hits.

Their center-fielder Adam Jones has been lousy, 2-for-17 with a single RBI, while striking out over half-the-time with 9 K's at the plate. Their best hitter at this point has been their #9 hitter, Melvin Mora (5-for-13, .385 BA).. only 3 other hitters have 4 hits & only two of those hitters are batting over .250 right now.

The Orioles have gone belly up, it's going to be really interesting to see how bad they will be as the season goes on, after watching them give up some possible wins early on, I have a feeling they may have a difficult time reaching 40 wins by season's end.

Friday, August 19, 2016

APBA 2K9 Action

Some interesting numbers from the young APBA 2K9 Baseball Season. The APBA 2K9 Project is the best players for each franchise from 2009, 2010 & 2011, using the 2016 MLB Schedule & the Houston Astros are in the American League West.

Morneau & Mauer would love to play Baltimore everyday.

The M&M boys (Joe Mauer & Justin Morneau) and the Minnesota Twins for that matter, love playing the Baltimore Orioles; Mauer is batting .643 (9-for-14) and Morneau is batting .545 (6-for-11) -- Morneau has 3 HR & 9 RBI in 3 games! To make matters worse, Baltimore had a chance in two of those games to pull off the win, and blown both games... Game 3, the Birds led 6-1 through 6 innings, then came the 7th Inning and the bullpen self-destructed allowing 8 runs in the last 3 innings! Game 2, the Orioles had a 3-2 lead, which closer Jim Johnson blown.

The Twins lead the A.L. Central, at 3-0 with a +12 scoring differential, while batting .295 as a team.

The rest of the A.L. Central have been winning as well, the Chicago White Sox had a chance to become MLB's first 4-0 team, but their closer Bobby Jenks blown the save against Oakland & their record stands at 3-1 (+9 scoring)... the Cleveland Indians took a surprising 2 games from the Boston Red Sox & are in third at 2-0. The Detroit Tigers, in typical Tigers fashion, would be 3-0, if their bullpen didn't blow the last two games against the Florida Marlins.

The New York Yankees are loaded on offense, their starting pitching will be their achilles' heel.. they currently lead the A.L. East. The Toronto Blue Jays tore apart the Tampa Bay Rays in their first 2 match-ups, but ended up with a 2-2 series split (Toronto still outscored them by 7 runs in the series); Aaron Hill & Lyle Overbay each lead Toronto with 2 home runs each. Boston & Baltimore remain winless.

The Texas Rangers will likely be an American League favorite (2 World Series appearances in this 3-year period), Nelson Cruz currently has 3 HR & 5 RBI... The team has yet to get rolling on offense, hitting only .215 collectively at the moment, while their starting pitchers have been great, allowing only 4 earned runs in 21 innings -- being a huge part in their 2-1 record.

Now to the National League, the Philadelphia Phillies have been great as expected, the team has it all -- the lineup, rotation & bullpen... It's easy to see why they are the preseason N.L. favorites, standing at 3-0, despite the fact that they didn't play great against Cincinnati; Ryan Howard leads the team with 2 HR & 6 RBI already... Chase Utley in a bizarre game struck out 5 times!

The Pittsburgh Pirates currently lead the N.L. Central at 2-0, with two big victories over the St. Louis Cardinals -- remember this is before the Pirates returned to their winning ways, you can see a little of the potential to come in this team, but their current success may eventually be short-lived.

The N.L. Central should be a fun division to watch with no clear dominant team, with the edge going out to St.Louis for their two Grade A starting pitchers in a rotation in Adam Wainwright & Chris Carpenter -- There is only one other team in the entire league that has two A starters and that is the Philadelphia Phillies (Roy Halladay & Cliff Lee). The Cincinnati Reds have plenty of power in their lineup & will be an exciting bunch, but their starting pitching (outside of Johnny Cueto) is suspect at best.

Ian Kennedy & their rotation have been lights out, early on.

The Arizona Diamondbacks are a surprising 3-1.. but are they legit? Blowing their last game, plus their scoring differential at a leveled zero, there is some visible cracks, like 16 combined hits in their 4 games, while their lineup has struck out 42 times already; Their starting pitching has been a huge surprise in their first four games -- 2 ER's allowed in 30.2 innings! Those starters' names? Ian Kennedy, Daniel Hudson, Josh Collmenter & Joe Saunders... I know, right?!

The N.L. West will likely see the San Diego Padres & Colorado Rockies struggle, while the San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers (with Manny Ramirez, by the way) and possibly Arizona will be fighting for the division.

This format by the way will feature two wild cards per league, like in Major League Baseball.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

BoS Season Update: Burnett's No-No & A.L. Playoff Race

A.J. Burnett tips his hat off to the crowd.

A few things from the Boys of Summer APBA Baseball League [Computer]...

The league's 10th No-Hitter has taken place, this time it was by the Louisville Sluggers' A.J. Burnett, against the San Diego Heroes. This is the second time the Heroes were no-hit this season, the previous game was on May 16th against the Fairgrove Tigers' Marco Estrada.

The Heroes become the 3rd team in league history be no-hit in league history & the 2nd team to ever be no-hit in the same season (South Shore Fighting Imps were no-hit twice, last year in 2015).

A.J. Burnett did it in typical Burnett fashion with 9 K's, yet 5 walks.

Meanwhile, on a separate note, the American League playoff race got more tight, as the Chicago Nine lost 5 straight games to the South Side Spartans -- in which the Fairgrove Tigers only trail in the A.L. West by a single game...

In the A.L. East, things got more complicated as 3 teams are only separated by three games... Both the Spartans and Corktown Tamales have winning streaks going. In the very end, only 3 of these 5 contending teams will move onto the playoffs in the American League, who will they be? 

We'll have to see how it all plays out.

Monday, August 15, 2016

2001 'WHAT IF' World Series - Arizona at Oakland (Game 5)

Not to be forgotten by the recent 1975 World Series 'WHAT IF' Series... We still have another series to report... The 2001 'WHAT IF' World Series, if Oakland got past the Yankees (Minus miraculous Derek Jeter play) to face Arizona.

Oakland won the first two games of the series on the road, in which Arizona turned around and done the same deal to Oakland in Games 3 & 4, by winning on the road -- tying up the series, 2-2.

Oakland Colliseum may not be taking any beauty pageant awards home soon, but it is home-field advantage none the less & they can try and break this visitors-winning mode, by winning the pivotal Game 5.

GAME 5 (at Oakland)

Arizona sends out Brian Anderson, saving Curt Schilling for Game 6 & Randy Johnson for Game 7 (if necessary) -- Miguel Batista pitched recently in Game 3 & Randy pitched Game 4. The only problem is Anderson is a APBA Grade D-RZ & will have his work cut out for him; While Arizona is basically a 1-2 punch in "Schill" & the "Big Unit" -- Oakland supports a full Grade B rotation, and sends out Cory Lidle (Grade B-YZ).

The game starts off with Craig Counsell hitting a fly to center, but Johnny Damon suddenly misjudges the fly, and the ball drops out of his glove... Counsell is aboard first, on the Damon error. Jay Bell would advance the runner to second on a ground out, while big Luis Gonzalez, with 4 homer runs already in the World Series, strikes out for out number two. Reggie Sanders follows through with an RBI single to right; Erubiel Durazo flies to left for third out. D-Backs strike first with 1-0 lead.

Oakland doesn't stay silent for long, as they answer with a Miguel Tejada game-tying, one-out solo homer in the bottom of the 1st. Jason Giambi draws a walk, followed by a Eric Chavez double, to give Oakland runners on 2nd & 3rd -- setting up a RBI single in which Jason is knocked in by his brother Jeremy Giambi (DH), to give Oakland a 2-1 lead.

Damian Miller for Arizona.
Oakland would add to their lead in the 2nd Inning with RBI singles by both Jason Giambi & Eric Chavez -- making it a early, 4-1 lead for the Athletics.

Top of the 4th -- Cory Lidle would get himself into some trouble... Erubiel Durazo draws a one-out walk, followed by a Mark Grace single. Matt Williams, batting 7th, hits a RBI single to right to score in Durazo; Steve Finley flies to right for second out. Damian Miller entered the game, batting ninth, and was only hitting .133 in the series (2-for-15), singled earlier in the 2nd Inning & would smack a two-run double into the right-center gap, tying the game at 4-4. Craig Counsell would follow play with a single to right, but Miller would force his way to home, to get thrown out by Jermaine Dye's throw for final out of the inning.

The game would remain scoreless for the next 4 full innings. the Diamonbacks have successfully been rolling out relievers with successful results after Brian Anderson's short 2 innings of work (7 hits, 4 ER's allowed) --  in Greg Swindell (3.1 innings), Mike Morgan (1.1 innings) & Troy Brohawn (.1 Innings).

Top of the 9th, Mark Grace would lead off by reaching second on a throwing error by Oakland reliever Mike Magnante, but the next three batters Matt Williams, Steve Finley & Damian Miller would fail to get him home.

Bottom of the 9th, Arizona rookie reliever Bret Prinz on the mound, gets the lead-off man Miguel Tejada to ground out to short to start the inning. The dangerous Jason Giambi would step to the plate, after reaching base all four times tonight (two walks, two singles & an RBI); Giambi hits a double. Eric Chavez, hitting cleanup & 2-for-4 with a double & RBI steps into the box... He entered the game, 3-for-16... Prinz hangs one, and Chavez sends this one to deep center -- GONE!! A Walk-off homer run for "Chavvy"!

Oakland wins a close game, despite having twice as many hits as Arizona (14 to 7), they left many men on base & hit into a few double plays in the process... but they battled through and won the pivotal Game 5; Chavez doubled his series hits totals to a grand total of 6 now, lifting that batting average from .188 to .286 -- he also has 2 HR & 6 RBI now as well.

Chavez watches the ball sail over the center field wall.
This series now goes back to Arizona for Game 6 with the Oakland Athletics leading this 'WHAT IF' 2001 World Series, 3 games-to-2... Arizona will call on Curt Schilling for Game 6 & hope he can make the relay to Randy Johnson for a possible Game 7; Oakland will send Mark Mulder to the mound.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

The WHAT IF World Series (1975) - Red Sox vs Reds (A Few Tweaks)

Starting a "WHAT IF" World Series with my custom-made 1975 Boston Red Sox & a healthy Jim Rice for the series -- plus the DH rule is in effect (which back in 1975, despite the fact that the American League had DH's -- both teams had pitchers bat in the Fall Classic).

GAME 1 (at Fenway Park)

Don Gullet (CIN) and Luis Tiant (BOS) on the mound & the game started the same way as the actual Game 1, with 6 scoreless innings. Heading into the 7th, Tiant only allowed one hit, while Gullet only allowed two hits.
Bench Mark: Bench points the way for his teammates.

This time, the scoring was reversed with Cincinnati having a big 7th Inning with 4 runs (in real-life, Boston scored 6 runs in the bottom of the 7th). Johnny Bench kicked things off with a solo home run to right, followed by a Tony Perez double... George Foster would smack in Perez, as Cincinnati takes a 2-0 lead. Dan Driessen would hit a single to right-center, then steal second, Dave Conception would reach first on a Rick Burleson error, bases loaded. Boston would go to the pen & call on Jim Burton to face only the next batter Griffey.

Boston would finally record two outs, on back-to-back plays with Ken Griffey flying out to left, and (with Roger Moret now on the mound) Cesar Geronimo striking out. The Reds were not done though, as Pete Rose would score in two runners on a single... Joe Morgan would follow by drawing bases on balls... all coming back to the man who led of the inning, in Mr. Bench -- with bases loaded & a chance to really break this game open -- against Boston's third reliever of the inning in Jim Willoughby... Bench would strike out.

The damage was done, and the Reds are up, 4-0 & have knocked Luis Tiant out of the game. Tiant who was pitching a beauty, ended up with a messy box score line of 6 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 4 runs, 2 K's & 2 walks.

Lynn, was simply the man in 1975.
Willoughby would keep the Reds off the board, pitching a scoreless 8th Inning. The bottom of the 8th, Carl Yastrzemski would draw a walk, while Don Gullet would follow that, by plunking Carlton Fisk with a pitch, runners on 1st & 2nd... Fred Lynn, who would go on to win both the American League Rookie-of-the-Year Award & American League Most Valuable Player Award in 1975 -- hits a two-run double, to cut the lead in half; Sparky Anderson seen enough, calls on Rawly Eastwick from the Reds' bullpen... striking out Jim Rice & getting Dwight Evans to fly to left for the final outs of the 8th Inning.

Boston down 4-2, they call on Dick Drago to take the mound, to face Griffey, Geronimo & Rose. Griffey would do nothing but fly to right... Cesar Geronimo would single to right, but the lead runner would have to remain at first, as Pete Rose hit into a fielder's choice (getting Geronimo out at second)... Joe Morgan draws his second walk of the game, setting the tables with runners on 1st & 2nd for Johnny Bench... Bench would not be able to add some insurance runs for Cincy though.

Sparky Anderson selects Will McEnaney to close the game out for the Reds. Boston goes to the bench and calls on Juan Beniquez to pinch-hit for Rico Petrocelli, he is likely to take over at third if Boston can tie this up & move on to extras; Beniquez hits a lead-off single off of McEnaney. The Red Sox' wheels are still turning, and Boston skipper Darrell Johnson calls on Bernie Carbo to step up to bat in place of Rick Burleson, who is 0-for-3... Carbo would ground out, but advances Beniquez to second. One out, with a runner on second, it's back to the top of the Boston batting order with Cecil Cooper at the plate, 1-for-his previous 4 at-bats... he likes his pitch, 66-1... Gone! The game is all knotted up at 2-2; Denny Doyle and Carl Yastrzemski would be retired to finish the inning.

This game goes to extras...
Cooper, before his Brewer days.

Dick Drago after a successful, scoreless 9th Inning, would pitch the top of the 10th, and would only allow a two-out single to George Foster... Cincinnati keeps Will McEnaney in the ballgame, and he would pitch a scoreless bottom-of-the-10th -- only allowing a two-out double to Jim Rice, but successfully getting Dwight Evans to ground out to short for the third out.

I want to take this brief moment to let my readers know that I have been playing APBA lately with Optional Fielding, all thanks to James Welch. I have had the privilege of meeting Welch at the Chicago Fantasy World Series, we may have talked briefly at the my first Chicago tourney experience, this time I really got to know him more, since he was in my division at the recent Chicago tournament. We played only once against each other, since we were both eliminated & we felt playing the last two would be senseless we can socialize with other people... In that game, he further explained how Optional Fielding works, now I have been playing with that all the time & it does make a nice difference -- he called it "fine-tuning", which is the best way of putting it. 

Before we move on, here is an example of Optional Fielding... Recently in my APBA 2K9 Project (Best of the players from 2009-2011 for each of the 30 franchises), a team playing against the Cincinnati Reds.... The batter rolled a play result of #15, I believe the Cincinnati Reds were a fielding 2, but with play results of 15's, you go to that position player which is LF... Jonny Gomes, who is only a (1), is a fielding 3 in this case, and the result was 1st & 2nd on a error -- If I was playing in regular, straight-up basic mode, against a team fielding two it would have been a single, against a team fielding 1, that would have Fly-out... Now if there was a fielder in left, with 3 fielding points, in Optional Fielding it would have been a fly-out. I have seen this Optional Fielding work well, with third baseman, makes a whole difference if you have a 3B with 5 or 6 points, making them a fielding one, getting that double-play, where a fielding 2 third baseman would get the force instead. 

Okay, after this brief intermission, let's get back to the ballgame, shall we? Dick Drago still in the game for Boston would allow back-to-back lead-off walks to Ken Griffey & Cesar Geronimo, but Pete Rose would hit into a double-play... Joe Morgan, with a runner on third, would strike out.

I have specific rules that I use when I play, a reliever can go 3 innings or more, but once he hits 3 innings, he will have to sit the next game out, each additional inning, would be one more game. Dick Drago will not be able to pitch in Game 2, which could be really good for Cincy with Boston not having much of a bullpen anyways.

Bottom of the 11th, with Will McEnaney still on the mound for the Reds... Juan Beniquez would get his second hit off the bench... Doug Griffin (in for Burleson) puts down a sacrifice bunt, out at first, but successfully moves Beniquez over to second base, leading up to Cecil Cooper. Cooper tied the game earlier in the bottom of the 9th off of McEnaney, with a two-run homer. McEnaney delivers, it's a hit to the right-center gap, Beniquez will come around & score the winning run -- The board result was a double, but likely Beniquez (Fast) would score winning run before Cooper makes it to second -- so walk-off single by Cooper! Red Sox win!

Player of the Game: Cecil Cooper.
The Red Sox came back from a 4-0 deficit, scoring their first run in the 8th inning. Cecil Cooper ends the game, 3-for-6, with a HR & 3 RBI.. Will McEnaney records the loss, with 2.1 innings in relief... while Dick Drago goes 3 scoreless innings in relief, to notch the victory.

Game 2 will see the Reds' Jack Billingham face Boston's Bill "The Spaceman" Lee.

* * *       * * *      * * * 

Friday, July 29, 2016

Fantasies Do Come True! (Chicago Tournament News - Part I)

There is not enough I can say about Doug Schuyler, not only is he a good friend of mine, but he always throws one heck of a tournament -- So when Doug announced (back in November?) a new spin to his tournament.... that people could select a team & then pick any player, one player, as long as that player is from that same franchise, people signed up...

... and people signed up quickly!
Doug in full concentration mode, managing 2015 Royals.

24 people signed up within the first 24 hours, so quick that Doug had to make a cap of 32 & make a separate, secret Facebook page -- He knew this was a special tournament and truly wanted to be around a special group of guys, we long have wanted to meet some of these guys for some time.... and when I saw some of the names that would be making tournament debuts, who I have known in the APBA Facebook Group for quite some time, I knew that this was a "Can't Miss" Tournament event.

I personally don't think you could have surrounded yourself with a better set of 32 guys, of course.. there was some notable faces that did not make it to Chicago & we all missed those guys, and would have loved to have them there.

There was many upon many reasons for me wanting to go to this event, I had not met some of these guys before... Joel & Matthew Pike, Dan Velderrain, Howie & Reese Mooney, Bradd Romant, Craig Christian, Mike Miller & others; At the time, when I signed up for this event I had not met Rob Spatz in person, but would have the privilege to do so in Jackson, Michigan, this past march.

Some of the fun prior to Saturday -- Some of the gang in Milwaukee before seeing the Brewers.
I flirted with having Denny McLain on the 1987 Detroit Tigers, it turned out for the better when McLain could not be selected due to the 1968 Detroit Tigers being retired from the tournament... So I selected the "card that never fails" for me in Magglio Ordonez's 2007 season in which he won the American League Batting Title (.363) & led the league with 54 doubles, while collecting 28 homers, 139 RBI & 216 hits for the Tigers.

There was so many talented players selected for talented teams, this is how the divisions appeared... (The eventual division champs in gold)

Sandy Koufax Division
1930 St. Louis Cardinals + Mark McGwire (Thomas Nelshoppen)
1933 New York Giants + Orlando Cepeda (Larry Eichman)
1939 New York Yankees + Lou Gehrig (Gary Lindley)
1941 Brooklyn Dodgers + Sandy Koufax (Mike Miller)

Gary Lindley (39' Yankees/Koufax Div) vs Bob Eller (2015 Cubs/DiMaggio Div) during Round 1 of playoffs
Joe DiMaggio Division
2006 Minnesota Twins + Rod Carew (Eric Berg)
2009 New York Yankees + Joe DiMaggio (Dave Rueck)
2015 Chicago Cubs + Hack Wilson (Bob Eller)
2015 Kansas City Royals + George Brett (Doug Schuyler)

Don Drysdale Division
1953 Brooklyn Dodgers + Don Drysdale (Don Smith)
1961 Detroit Tigers + Alan Trammell (Bill Lilley)
1961 New York Yankees + Ron Guidry (Shawn Witt)
2005 Chicago White Sox + Albert Belle (Bob Spatz)

L to R: Romant, Mooney, Berg, D.Smith & Velderrain -- during 1st Round battle between 92' Jays & 53' Dodgers.
Cal Ripken Division
1970 Baltimore Orioles + Cal Ripken, Jr. (Kevin Burghardt)
1970 Cincinnati Reds + Dolf Luque (Joel Pike)
1981 Los Angeles Dodgers + Mike Piazza (Dan Velderrain)
1992 Toronto Blue Jays + Jose Bautista (Howie Mooney)

(Opposite Side of the bracket)

Ernie Banks Division
1972 Detroit Tigers + Mark Fidrych (Kurt Bergland)
1977 Philadelphia Phillies + Roy Halladay (Andy Bartel)
1979 Milwaukee Brewers + Ryan Braun (Craig Christian)
1984 Chicago Cubs + Ernie Banks (Scott Fennessey)

1st Round  - Craig Christian (79' Brewers) vs Matthew Pike (a.k.a. "Yankee Boy" with 98' Yanks).
Babe Ruth Division
1977 Los Angeles Dodgers + Duke Snider (James Welch)
1987 Detroit Tigers + Magglio Ordonez (Shawn Baier)
1998 New York Yankees + Babe Ruth (Matthew Pike)
2001 Seattle Mariners + Felix Hernandez (Reese Mooney)

Frank Thomas Division
1919 Chicago White Sox + Frank Thomas (Rob Spatz)
1927 Pittsburgh Pirates + John Candelaria (Curt Bartel)
1932 Brooklyn Dodgers + Bill Singer (Craig Eichman)
1954 New York Giants + Barry Bonds (Ken Schulz)

"Big Hurt" Division Action - L to R -- C.Bartel, K.Schulz, R.Spatz (clowning around) & C.Eichman.
Hank Greenberg Division
1927 New York Yankees + Derek Jeter (John Roels)
1984 Detroit Tigers + Hank Greenberg (Dick Butler)
2003 Chicago Cubs + Gabby Hartnett (Chris Witt)
2003 New York Yankees + Mickey Mantle (Bradd Romant)

Greenberg Division in play: L to R - Roels (with NYY hat), Romant, Butler & C.Witt.

The Division Champs were the only ones to move onto the playoffs, which was absolutely fine, not to mention some divisions ran long as they did  -- plus in a field of 32 teams, 8 division winners/playoff
teams is all you really need, adding more teams would have complicated things.

Grayslake action on Saturday.
During lunch break, everyone departed for some of the restaurant choices at Grayslake, some went to Twisted Burger, while others went to Amos. I had the privilege of having lunch with Bradd Romant (while eating at Amos) in which we got to discuss our love for APBA and reflecting back on our childhoods that brought us into this game. Bradd spoke of the first time, he saw his first APBA set in a cardboard box hanging from the mailbox, and the joy he felt; I spoke about my father's APBA keepers league among friends, and how his three best friends in the league were like uncles to me, while growing up.

Reese Mooney (in Expos uniform) having grand time at All-Star Game & Tournament.
While everyone started filing back in the Grayslake Historical Society building, the All-Star Game was being put together; which is a two-inning affair, which both teams get to put in two separate lineups 1-9, in which all 9 get to bat. Each attendee gets to pick an All-Star to represent, and gets to roll for that player... I picked Magglio Ordonez at the time, but should have had Matt Nokes represent instead. It was a lot of fun, National League won 5-3, Rick Monday for Dan Velderrain's 1981 Dodgers was the game's MVP with a two-run homer. 

Dan Velderrain takes picture of Rick Monday's card & dice after his All-Star heroics.

My team didn't fare well overall, we went 2-5 over the afternoon; James Welch (1977 Dodgers) and I, decided to not play our last 2 games & finish 2-5 at the bottom; The division play took some time to play & we wanted to socialize more. 

The Tigers didn't do as bad as I first thought, once I was tallying up the stats last night. Even though we only batted .235, but our suspect pitching actually held it's own, only getting rocked for 6 runs in Game #5 against the 1998 New York Yankees -- finishing with a 3.55 ERA, a team with no A pitchers on entire staff, no bullpen & a B-B-B-C rotation... They over-achieved, so big props to them. My offense also had my best OPS (.753 OPS) of any of my 4 tournament teams, even better than my 1993 Atlanta Braves that went on to win the Greater Michigan APBA Baseball Tournament II in Jackson (this past March). Our scoring differential was -1, which reflects that our 2-5 record could have been better, and with my team losing 4 games by 2 runs or less... we could have done better, if I was rolling a little better. 

That's how it goes though, whoever is rolling the hot dice...

Joel Pike and Dan Velderrain playing a game, with Matthew Pike explaining his playoff potential.

Matthew Pike didn't get the memo, when I mentioned both online and at the hotel the night before to take it easy on my 1987 Detroit Tigers... I would lose two really close games, 4-2 & 4-3 in extras (10 innings), then he completed the three-game sweep by defeating me in the 5th game (6-3). My pitching kept his 1921 Babe Ruth in check for most part, 1-for-8 with a HR & RBI, while he walked 5 times... unfortunately, Shane Spencer killed me off the bench with 3 HR's (2 key HR's in 2nd game that pretty much decided that game). Pike's series with me, put his team back in the running for the division after a 1-2 start against the 77' Dodgers.

The Mooneys (Howie & Reese) with myself on right.
The Babe Ruth Division came down between Reese Mooney & Matthew Pike. Mooney entered with 5-1 record, Pike at 4-2 -- Reese wins first game, only needing another victory to advance, but blows late lead in 2nd game,  Pike wins that game & pulls off the finale as well, to move on.

Ken Schulz (left, Sox cap) is all smiles with 1954 Giants + Barry Bonds.

Bob Eller is channeling Joe Maddon as his 2015 Cubs keep rolling.

Another view of the action.
Playoff action
  • 2015 Chicago Cubs + Hack Wilson defeat 1939 New York Yankees + Lou Gehrig.
  • 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers + Don Drysdale defeat 1992 Toronto Blue Jays + Jose Bautista.
  • 1979 Milwaukee Brewers + Ryan Braun defeat 1998 New York Yankees + Babe Ruth.
  • 1927 New York Yankees + Derek Jeter defeat 1954 New York Giants + Barry Bonds.
Bob Eller (left) and Don Smith (right) in quarter-final championship.

  • 2015 Chicago Cubs + Hack Wilson defeat 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers + Don Drysdale.
  • 1979 Milwaukee Brewers + Ryan Braun defeat 1927 New York Yankees + Derek Jeter.
The APBA Chicago World Series Championship Trophy.

The 2016 APBA Chicago Fantasy World Series is underway, between Bob Eller (Cubs) & Craig Christian (Brewers).

CUBS WIN! CUBS WIN! Bob Eller leads 2015 Cubs to glory!
Afterwards, a group of had a celebration dinner at the Tavern of Libertyville -- an amazing place, that makes you feel like you are one of the Rat Pack. 

Once again, congrats to Bob Eller & his 2015 Chicago Cubs + Hack Wilson 
as 2016's APBA Chicago Fantasy World Series Champion!

* * * Still more to come, more coverage of this tournament * * * 

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Meanwhile.. Some Milestones for Site

As I am putting together a multi-post blog piece on the amazing Chicago Fantasy World Series APBA Tournament that took place this past weekend...

Here is a short post to keep you busy about this site's recent milestones...

  • A few weeks back (last month, I believe), The Boys of Summer hit 50,000 lifetime views... which I feel is pretty solid for just being over 3 years; June 2013 marked the first time, the site had a 1,000 views for a month, which now hits that regularly.
  • This month, with a few days to go, plus waiting on the Chicago tournament piece (which usually generates tons of hits), my site already set it's month record (currently at the time of typing... 2,593 hits) breaking old record of 2,526 set in November 2015. The buzz had a lot to do with the Pittsburgh tournament weeks back & people getting together in Chicago early, before the tournament (Golfing, ballgames, etc).
  • My most popular visited post "APBA Replays" has just hit the 1,000 mark on its own; This post has 4 times the amount of visits than any other post on this entire site -- out of 586 published posts. Personally, it's a good post at best, but I enjoyed my pieces on the Hall of Fame debates, which you can find on the right side -- under the Roberto Clemente picture, in the 'Labels' section -- Check those out, my debates why players such as Alan Trammell, Lou Whitaker, Tim Raines, Ted Simmons, Jeff Bagwell, Albert Belle, Edgar Martinez, Harold Baines & Jack Morris deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.
Of course, this all would not be possible without the amazing support I get from my readers. I also want to thank Thomas Nelshoppen, Kenneth Heard & Doug Przymierski for inspiring me in my writing for this blog... your support has been reamarkable!

Also big love to the wife, Becky, who is the true writer & blogger in the house!

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