Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Dipping My Toes

So I decided to dip my toes in new APBA waters, with the newly announced APBA Online, hoping to hear from the league commissioner for the league I just applied for. It's really cool, of the few little things I have already witnessed. Plus if you start a league, you can purchase seasons & teams, and have them used for whatever particular format you choose your league to be -- ahhhh.... the possibilities!


Does this mean, I'm putting down the dice? No, not one bit, I'm an APBA fan that loves all the things that APBA has to offer, I just experienced my first tournament against other APBA fanatics at the 2nd Chicagoland APBA World Series Tournament, I have been in a APBA BBW league from 1997-2008 with my friends from the military, I have had a high school board-game league back in the day, I have my own blog that I'm personally proud of, and am in the middle of a couple projects, my Crazy 48's League, my 2007 Detroit Tigers Season Replay, and my Tournament of Champions tourney (that has been on pause, until I pick up GTOP Vol.III). Down the road I plan to start a board game league here in Traverse City, MI; also we may make plans for a Computer League, involving my friends from the BBW league, and the new friends I have met via Facebook & at Chicagoland.

Looking forward to the endless APBA possibilities!

Shawn

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

My Chicagoland Results (Game #4)

My 4th game in this tournament, the 2nd against Doug Schuyler's 1998 Yankees was easily the most memorable game of the my tournament play, and possibly for Doug as well. Like I mentioned before, all four of us were in a tough division, and I could see no one doing better than 4-2 going into this thing; I really would have not been surprised to see it go 3-3 all 4 teams (coming down to tie-breakers), the odds were pretty good. It nearly ended as that, Doug would go on to 4-2, Tom Johnson & I would go 3-3 (Tom gets the edge for 2nd place, I was 3rd place), and Gary from Long Grove was 2-4.

My Game 4 starter would be Christy Mathewson, he got rocked in the very first game of the tournament, allowing 8 runs in the first 3 innings! He would go on to pitch a much better game in Game 4, even if the box score at the end of the game doesn't quite express that -- kept us in this tough match-up as long as possible, until he finally lost his control; Then again, it could have been the ghosts of old Yankee Stadium taking over.

GAME #4 - 1912 Giants at 1998 Yankees
at Old Yankee Stadium

Starting Pitchers
NYG - Christy Mathewson (A-YZZ) (23-12, 2.12 ERA, 134 K's in 310 IP)
NYY - David Cone (B-XZ) (20-7, 3.55 ERA, 209 K's in 207.2 IP)

Bottom of the 1st
The Yankees follow a 1-2-3 inning by the Giants, with Derek Jeter starting this one off in the lead-off with a slightly different lineup (especially at the top). Jeter smacks a single to right, he was hitless in the first game, actually logging a hat-trick by striking out three times. Darryl Strawberry steps up to the plate, he hit a big HR in the first game of this series, he grounds out moving the base runner Jeter to second. Bernie Williams, once again in the 3rd slot, pops it up in the infield, this will be two away with one on. In many ways, Bernie was the most dangerous man in this lineup, and plays stellar defense; he had the team's highest OPS with .997, and actually was the only player on that 1998 team with an OPS over .900 -- Seven of the regular starters had an OPS over .800! Stepping up to the plate is Paul O'Neill, the Yankees' crowd starts chanting "PAU-LIE... PAU-LIE", finds his pitch, and loops a single to right, Jeter is going to score easy. Tino Martinez, who hit a HR in the first game, strikes out for the third time this series.
Yankees 1, Giants 0
Bernie Williams played a pivotal part in Game 4.

Top of the 2nd
David Cone takes the mound for the Yankees, he led the league with 20 wins, and had 200+ strikeouts for the fifth time in his impressive career. Fred Merkle is once again batting cleanup for the 1912 Giants, Cone sends him down looking, one out. This brings up Chief Meyers (4-for-9 this tournament), he batted .358 during the 1912 season (.918 OPS) -- definitely a plus at the Catcher position. Cone delivers, this one is going to the short porch in right, a Home Run for Meyers! He keeps on clicking, and this one is all knotted up 1-1, with one out. Josh Devore, the Designated Hitter, finally got his bat going last game with two doubles, but does nothing here as he flies to left. Cone ends up walking Red Murray, bringing up Art Fletcher who leads the Giants with 5 RBI's this tournament while batting in the 8th slot of the lineup. Fletcher does nothing though, as Cone allows only the solo shot by Meyers. Yankees 1, Giants 1

Bottom of the 2nd
Scott Brosius leads off the inning by grounding out to third, bringing up Chuck Knoblauch, the former Twins star. Knoblauch grounds it to short, in which Art Fletcher boots the grounder, he's not going to be able to do anything with Knoblauch's speed -- a routine grounder turned into a golden opportunity for the Yankees; E-6. Mathewson delivers the pitch, and Knoblauch is off-and-running, steals second. Mathewson delivers a wild pitch by Chief Meyers, and Knoblauch has now reached 3rd base, with only one out. Christy Mathewson eventually loses the battle at the plate with Jorge Posada, by giving him a free pass; Runners on 1st & 3rd. Chad Curtis steps up to the plate, batting ninth after leading off the last game, he ends up popping it up behind the plate -- two outs. Derek Jeter comes up to the plate, and the runners are going, Jeter doesn't offer at the pitch, and Knoblauch is a sitting duck at home plate -- OUT! The Giants get out of this one, untouched -- Someone must have missed a sign, double-steal failed. Yankees fans suddenly go quiet in disbelief. Yankees 1, Giants 1

Bottom of the 3rd
The Yankees' David Cone got the Giants' Beals Becker to hit into a inning-ending double play in the top of the 3rd, now it's the Yankees' turn to see if they can break this 1-1 tie. Stepping up is Derek Jeter, he got a single that lead to a run in the first inning; Mathewson delivers and Jeter laces another single to right. Darryl Strawberry shows he's no match for Mathewson, as Christy sends him down swinging, one out. Bernie Williams fights off a tough pitch and sends this one into the right field corner, bounces off the carom, as the Giants' Fred Snodgrass finally gets to the ball & guns it to the cut-off man, but Williams is going to reach third safely, as Jeter scores the go-ahead run; RBI triple for Bernie Williams. Still one out, and this brings up Paul O'Neill, who had an RBI single earlier -- but he won't do no damage this time, as Mathewson sends him packing to the bench, 3rd K for Mathewson. Tino Martinez comes to the plate, with two outs, drives this pitch into the right center gap, Williams will score easily, Snodgrass chases it down, throws the ball to the cut-off man Larry Doyle, Martinez is trying for third, Doyle guns the relay down to Buck Herzog, he applies the tag and he's OUT! Yankees' aggressiveness gets them once again, but not before they scored two runs off of Mathewson. Yankees 3, Giants 1

4th Inning through Top of the 5th
David Cone keeps pitching a stellar game, he has allowed only one hit through five innings (the solo HR to Chief Meyers in the 2nd Inning), with 3 K's & 2 walks -- 3 base runners total for the Giants.

Bottom of the 5th
Derek Jeter leads off with a double, Mathewson is lucky Jeter really didn't take full advantage of this mistake pitch, none the less, it's another scoring opportunity for the Yankees. Christy Mathewson then loses his focus against Darryl Strawberry, as he walks him, two men on (1st & 2nd) with no outs. Yankees fans are starting to get excited again, they are up 3-1 and are hoping to add to their lead. Stepping up to the plate is Bernie Williams, who snapped the 1-1 tie with an RBI triple last time up -- the pitch, and OH! He's plunked by a pitch from Mathewson, John McGraw is in the dugout shaking his head, never in his life has he ever seen his prized pitcher look so sloppy likes he's pitching in this tournament. Bases loaded, no outs, and no one warming up in the bullpen -- McGraw knows he's got no one better in that pen, so he's going with what he's got. Stepping up to the plate is Paul O'Neill, he has 3 RBI already in this series against the Giants, the pitch, and it's grounded to Fletcher, Fletcher flips it to Doyle, Doyle leaps over the sliding Williams and throws it over to Merkle at first, bang-bang double play! -- but the Yankees will get another run, as Jeter crosses the plate & while Strawberry advances to third. The Giants needed that double play badly -- Two outs, runner on 3rd, and maybe they can escape this inning allowing only a run, but first they need to get pass Tino Martinez. Martinez tried to stretch a double into a triple during the bottom of the third, last time up; Mathewson goes to the plate, and Martinez connects, but slams his bat down as he knows that this ball will be no problem for the right fielder Snodgrass -- third out.
Yankees 4, Giants 1

Top of the 6th
Yankees fans are getting louder, as the Yankees have pretty much been in control through five full innings, they are looking forward to getting their 3rd win of the tournament and possibly sitting pretty in the Bill Veeck Division standings after this one. They are ahead 4-1 in this one, and the man on the mound, David Cone is a big reason why, he has only allowed one hit up to this point.

The Giants' Buck Herzog steps up to the plate, just like many of his Giants' lineup mates, he has plenty of speed and is just hoping to get the opportunity to get on base to try to wreak some havoc on the base paths. Cone delivers, and Herzog goes down swinging. Fred Snodgrass steps into the batter's box, he's been struggling (1-for-9) so far; Cone delivers a nasty pitch, and Snodgrass could only stand there and watch -- 5 strikeouts for Cone! Two outs, and Beals Becker steps up to face Cone, he's doing even worse than Snodgrass, looking for his first hit, as he is hitless through 8 at-bats. Becker fouls off his second strike; fans on their feet, Cone delivers, and Becker sends this ball into the right center gap, as he's on second base standing -- only the second hit allowed by Cone. Giants hoping to get something going here, it's certainly progress, which brings up Larry Doyle. Doyle has no hits yet, but has had a hit in each of the last three tournament games, including a solo HR off of the 1976 Reds during Game #2. David Cone looks back at the runner on 2nd, goes home with the pitch, and Doyle sends a single to right, a liner over Knoblauch's head, Becker will score from second, Giants now trail by two runs. Fred Merkle will be the next batter, he's not been doing his job, with only one hit in 14 at-bats; Cone delivers the pitch, and Merkle scoots one past Knoblauch at second, O'Neill is quickly there to get the ball back into the infield & the runner Doyle will have to hold third.

Runners on 1st & 3rd, and Cone is now visibly frustrated, the catcher Jorge Posada will walk up to the mound & so will the Yankees' pitching coach Mel Stottlemyre, in an attempt to settle down the All-Star veteran right-hander. It also appears that a couple of arms in the bullpen are at least stretching & getting ready to warm up in Ramiro Mendoza and Graeme Lloyd. Cone was cruising through 5 2/3 innings, and appears to have suddenly hit some sort of wall, while the dangerous Chief Meyers (.455, 5-for-11) steps up to the plate. Two outs, with the tying run on first, Cone delivers, Meyers grounds it to the shortstop Jeter, who will throw it across to the first baseman Martinez; third out. The Giants could have done more, while Cone stops a potential big inning. Yankees 4, Giants 2
David Cone pitched a great game overall during Game 4.

Bottom of the 6th
Christy Mathewson does his job, by probably pitching his most effective inning this game, by only allowing a walk to Chuck Knoblauch; while the others in the bottom part of the lineup, all grounded out in the infield.

Top of the 7th
David Cone is still in the game for the Yankees, he will face off against Josh Devore. Devore swings at the pitch and smacks it into left field. Runner on first, no outs, this is Cone's 4th hit allowed in 5 batters -- after he was in complete control through the first 5 2/3 innings. This brings up Red Murray, Cone throws it outside, ball & Devore is trying to steal second, the throw from Posada, and Devore's safe! Runner on 2nd, no outs, Cone brings it home, and Murray grounds it to deep second, Knoblauch only has a play at first; one out as the runner advances to 3rd.

Here comes Joe Torre, he signals toward the bullpen, and that's it for David Cone -- he'll go 6 1/3 and is responsible for the runner (Devore) at third. The Yankees bring in the right-hander Ramiro Mendoza to face Art Fletcher who has so far been hitless in this game through two at-bats. Mendoza delivers, Fletcher singles to left, Devore will score easily; the Yankees' faithful are starting to get nervous as the Giants keep chipping away at the Yankee's lead. The Giants' John McGraw goes to the bench, and sends in Tillie Shafer to bat for Buck Herzog, while Shafer approaches home, Torre comes back out of the Yankees' dugout, he has seen enough from Mendoza in only one batter faced, he will go to the pen this time for Jeff Nelson. This is Nelson's first appearance in the series, as he will face off against Shafer. Nelson pitches a strike & Fletcher will steal second base. One out, Nelson delivers and sends Shafer to the bench with a huge K hanging around his neck! Two outs, and Torre's wheels are still turning, as he'll take the ball from Nelson after one batter, and go with Graeme Lloyd. An interesting move, Lloyd was responsible for Game 3's loss, allowing the clutch RBI double to Devore in the bottom of the 8th; Lloyd will face off against Fred Snodgrass. The pitch to Snodgrass, and it's a routine grounder to short, and this one will get the Yankees out of the inning, but the Giants take another bite out of that lead.
Yankees 4, Giants 3

Bottom of the 7th
Christy Mathewson still in the ballgame, keeps the Giants in this one, with an easy 1-2-3 inning, by striking out both Chad Curtis & Darryl Strawberry. He has struck out 3 of the last 4 hitters he faced, and has now logged 6 K's throughout the night.


Top of the 8th
The Yankees keep Lloyd out on the mound, as Beals Becker laces a lead-off single to left. Lloyd delivers a pitch outside, it's called a ball & Becker is off & running for second, the throw from Posada, and he's... SAFE! Runner on 2nd, no outs, and Larry Doyle steps up to the plate. Doyle delivers a looper in front of the center fielder Bernie Williams, Becker is rounding third, Williams guns it towards home, and they nail him at the plate! What a gamble by the Giants, but they were no match for Bernie's arm, as Doyle advanced to second on the throw to home, Yankees fans are going crazy, and the Giants' manager John McGraw has come out of the dugout, and is discussing the tag with the home plate umpire, no argument from McGraw this time as he just nods and walks back towards the dugout. The tying run is still at 2nd, with one out; Lloyd will have to face Fred Merkle. The pitch to Merkle, swing and miss, and Doyle has stolen third, caught Posada napping, as Posada had a late reaction throwing it to 3rd-- that is McGraw baseball right there, always scheming -- small dead-ball at it's best! Doyle is quite a few feet off third base, trying to get in Lloyd's head. Lloyd sets and delivers the pitch to Merkle, and boy he's going to want that one back as this one keeps going.. GOING... GONE! Home Run by Merkle, a two-run blast into the left field stands here at Yankee Stadium and the fans are just stunned right now -- The Giants now lead, what a strange change in events as this game is starting to have a feel for an instant classic! The Yankees have Mariano Rivera is the bullpen warming up, but they would like to keep him for a save situation if possible, so Graeme Lloyd remains in the game for now -- but he's on the hook for a possible back-to-back loss, if the Yankees don't answer back in this one. Lloyd to face Chief Meyers, and Meyers swings at a pitch he wished he did more with, a grounder to deep second, to first, two outs. Lloyd just needs one more out to end this nightmare, and he will get that out as Josh Devore grounds out to Brosius at third.
Giants 5, Yankees 4

Bottom of the 8th
Christy Mathewson has retired the last eight batters, and will try to keep the Yankees off the score board the next two innings. Stepping up to the plate is Bernie Williams, he had the RBI triple in the bottom of the 3rd Inning -- that seems like so long ago, as this game has taken plenty of twists & turns since. Mathewson sets, and Bernie really got a hold of this one as it easily clears the right field fence, we are once again all tied up, just when you thought Mathewson found his groove. Paul O'Neill comes to bat, he has two RBI today, but this time he won't do anything as he strikes out. Tino Martinez, with one out and nobody on, flies out to left -- two outs. The Yankees' Joe Torre goes to the bench, and Shane Spencer heads towards the batter's box; John McGraw wants nothing to do with Spencer, and has Mathewson intentionally walk Spencer. Spencer had 10 HR's in 60 at-bats, and a 1.370 OPS in his short & impressive stint. Torre decides to have Knoblauch sit down for Homer Bush. Bush batted .380 with 1 HR in 71 at-bats during the 1998 MLB Season. Runner on 1st, with two outs, and Mathewson just needs to get past Bush; Mathewson delivers the pitch, you're kidding me? Bush sends this one deep, it may, it carries.. it's GONE! The ball made it out of reach, just over the left field wall -- a two-run homer by the unlikeliest hitter! The Yankees take back the lead, and stepping up is Jorge Posada -- Posada will hit this one deep, but it's nothing but a loud out. The fans are going nuts, and now are three outs away from winning this one.
Yankees 7, Giants 5
Homer Bush: The unlikely hero.

Top of the 9th
The fans are stomping as the tune "Enter Sandman" plays loud for the one & only Mariano Rivera. The Giants are going to need a miracle to pull this one out. Red Murray comes to the plate for the Giants, he has gone hitless, and will continue to do so as he flies out to left, one away. Art Fletcher grounds out to second, and now the Yankees are one out away. Tillie Shafer, who came in earlier for Buck Herzog, is the Giants' last hope. Rivera delivers, it's a single to left for Shafer. The Giants are still alive, Rivera will have to face George Burns, who is in pinch-hitting for Fred Snodgrass. The pitch to Burns & it's a strike, Shafer is stealing second, Posada throws it to second, the tag -- SAFE! Tying run at the plate, Rivera delivers.. ball. Rivera sets again, and he strikes out Burns for the final out! What a ballgame, and what a huge 8th inning! Yankees will split this series 1-1, and go to 3-1, while the Giants fall to 1-3.

                                    R   H   E
1912 GIANTS             5   10   1
1998 YANKEES         7    8    0    F
WP - Lloyd (NYY) / LP - Mathewson (NYG)

POST-GAME:

  • Homer Bush (NYY) - Clutch pinch-hit two-run homer in bottom of the 8th.
  • Bernie Williams (NYY) - 2-for-3, 3B, HR, 2 RBI & HBP.
  • Derek Jeter (NYY) - 3-for-4, 2B, 3 runs.
  • David Cone (NYY) - 6.1 IP, 5 H, 2 ER / 2 R with 5 K's & BB.
  • Fred Merkle (NYG) - 2-for-4, 2-run HR.
  • Chief Meyers (NYG) - Solo HR.
  • N.Y. Giants - 5 stolen bases during last 4 innings.


I'm not going to lie, this one stung a bit, it was such an amazing experience to play such a one-on-one classic such as this game, this game was definitely the highlight of the tournament for me -- and this one as far back as I can remember may be the best game I played against someone... ever! I can barely remember high school, so the high school APBA league, we had some no-hitters & etc... but I can't recall a time, that a game went back & forth like the one between Doug & I -- I will always remember this particular game. Just like the Boston fans cursing Bucky Dent's name, I will be thinking in the same way when it comes to Homer Bush.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

My Chicagoland Results (Game #3)

So my Giants are coming off of a 0-2 sweep against the 1976 Reds, and now I have to face off against the 1998 Yankees, the team that I was most worried about facing out of the three. Sure they have no Grade A starters -- they don't need them with a lineup, bench and a pretty good bullpen; solid team all around, that is why I consider this team possibly the 2nd best-team of all-time. 2nd best-APBA team of all-time? That's more of a debate actually, they can certainly be as tough as any of the best -- Entering this tourney, hoping I can get a split with this team, I felt I could sweep the two against the 31' A's & at least get a split with the 76' Reds (failed there).

It was really fun when I found out that I would be playing my friend Doug Schuyler, he's a guy I knew that we would hit it off right away, we already done so via facebook. If I was a local Chicagoan, we probably find numerous ways to get together and roll sixty-sixes. When the divisions were announced with only the team names, I had no clue who I was playing, once the APBA Player's names were attached to the team names, I was pleased to see Doug's name there, I know for awhile he was thinking of the 68' Tigers (or at least mentioned them a few times), so I thought he may be playing them. So it brought much joy, that we would get to face one another, and let me tell you that series (even being only two games) had a bit of everything you want in a short series.

The cool thing with this tournament, it was really cool to see how people go about their teams, how they roll (do they use a roller? Just hand? Box and roller?), how they write down their stats, how they manage their teams, do they use their bench a lot? Do they stay with one pitcher? So many different styles, even the way they have their rolling boards, or their hit & run booklets. I know Doug had a binder with pages in sleeves for his boards & etc, while other players like Clark Eichman, who would go on to the championship game with the 1971 Pittsburgh Pirates had his APBA Cards in plastic or laminated. I label my corners of all my APBA Card sets, in case I play a combined players league, so I remember what set the cards go to, for Hall of Fame players, I place Gold Star stickers to the right of their name.

I will have to go do a post in the future with what I like to do in APBA, and how I keep score & etc in the near future, but for now let's get on to the action shall we.

GAME #3 - 1998 Yankees at 1912 Giants
at the Polo Grounds

Starting Pitchers:
NYY - Orlando Hernandez (B-X) (12-4, 3.13 ERA, 131 K's in 141 IP)
NYG - Jeff Tesreau (A-YW) (17-7, 1.96 ERA, 119 K's & 106 BB's in 243 IP).

First 3 Innings
The game at first appeared to be in a complete pitcher's duel between Orlando Hernandez (Yankees) & Jeff Tessreau (Giants), no runs for either team, Yankees had two base runners (one hit), while the Giants had four on with four hits.
It's Jeff Tesreau's turn for the Giants.

Top of the 4th
Fred Snodgrass misplays a fly ball hit by the Yankees' Bernie Williams, Williams is on first. Paul O'Neill steps up to the plate, this guy never batted over .276 with the Reds in the National League, but he has been a solid leader & hitter for the Yankees, has yet to bat below .300 while playing in pinstripes. He was traded from Cincinnati with a minor leaguer in exchange for Roberto Kelly, what a steal! Tessreau delivers, wrong part of the plate, and O'Neill makes him pay with a blast to the left field stands. The Yankees draw first blood, and it doesn't get easier with Tino Martinez stepping up to the plate. Martinez had a career year the previous season with 44 HR's & 141 RBI, another great 90's pickup by the Bombers. Tessreau winds up & delivers, OH! He didn't?! This one is going to right, Snodgrass is racing towards the wall, but he'll need a ladder to try and catch this one, back-to-back homers for the 98' Yankees & the Giants' troubles of allowing the long-ball continue, that's already 7 HR's allowed by their Grade A starters in 21 innings! The Yankees would get another base runner on eventually with Jorge Posada drawing his 2nd walk of the ballgame, but Knoblauch would get the Giants out of the inning by hitting into a double-play.
Yankees 3, Giants 0

Bottom of the 4th
Fred Merkle leads off by grounding out. Chief Meyers steps up to the plate, he had a single in the 2nd inning, and is already starting to put together good numbers for the Chicagoland Tournament. El Duque's pitch gets away from him and plunks Meyers, just below the shoulder -- Meyers takes first, Meyers has now been on base six times in this tourney. Stepping up is the Designated Hitter, Josh Devore who is thrilled about playing full time, but has yet to deliver (0-for-6); Devore gets a good pitch, he sends this one into the left-center gap (a double for Devore), Meyers will have to hold third. Runners on 2nd & 3rd, one out, and the batter is Red Murray -- and what's this? The Yankees have elected to intentionally walk him, Murray & some of the home town faithful are a bit surprised by this, then again he did lead the league during the 1909 campaign with 7 HR's. Bases loaded, the Yankees are playing for the double-play to get them out of the possible threat. Batting 8th, is the Giants' Art Fletcher, not the same threat as some of the other men in this lineup, but here's an interesting stat for ya, he led the league by getting Hit by a Pitch 15 times (in fact he would go on to lead the league 4 more times in the next 5 years in that category). Fletcher smacks a double, driving in two runs, Murray will hold up on 3rd base -- Fletcher now has 5 RBI in a little more than 2 games. Runners on 2nd & 3rd, still only one out, Buck Herzog laces a single to center, Murray scores, Fletcher moves down to 3rd. The game is now knotted up three apiece, and Fred Snodgrass steps up to the plate, the pitch is high & Herzog is off-and-running, steals second easily; Runners on 2nd & 3rd, once again still one out, deep fly this will be out number two, but this will be deep enough to score in Fletcher. Beals Becker steps up with two outs, but he will do nothing as he flies out to right. Big bounce-back inning by the 1912 Giants in this "Battle of the Bronx". Giants 4, Yankees 3

The "Straw Man" delivers in the 5th.

Top of the 5th
Darryl Strawberry will lead it off for the Yankees, what a story Strawberry had been for the Yankees this season, everyone knows the story of how this once promising career has took so many twists and turns, his problems with drugs & injuries that derailed a career that once had a trajectory that tilted at a possible future induction to Cooperstown. Strawberry hit 24 HR's this season in only 295 at-bats, he had a pretty good bounce-back year during the Yankees' 1996 championship season as well, but he missed almost all of 1997. Jeff Tessreau knows he has to be careful, and careful he was not, as this one is flying towards right and into the stands, this one is tied up once again! There is some Yankees fans here chanting "DAR-RRRYL... DAR-RRRYL" as Strawberry rounds the bases. High fives by Chad Curtis & Derek Jeter as Strawberry approaches the dugout. Tessreau answers back by fanning both Curtis & Jeter. The dangerous Bernie Williams steps up to the plate, but ends up grounding out. Yankees 4, Giants 4

Top of the 7th
Chuck Knoblauch leads off the inning by flying out to right. This brings up Darryl Strawberry, he came up big in the 5th for the Bombers, but Tessreau will get him to pop-up this time. Two outs, and Chad Curtis steps up to the plate, he may be the weakest link to this deadly lineup, but he brings speed to the top of this lineup, and he does his job by smacking a double off of Tessreau. Tessreau settled down after Strawberry's bomb, only walking one runner in the next nine batters, while retiring the rest. Curtis on 2nd (the go-ahead run) with 2 outs, and stepping up to the plate is the Derek Jeter, if your an opponent, this is the last guy you want to see coming to the plate. Tessreau focuses, and he fans him, what a huge strikeout!

Bottom of the 7th
Buck Herzog leads off with a single, and then steals 2nd. Fred Snodgrass still up at the plate, and it's another ball, as Herzog now steals 3rd base! Runner on 3rd, no outs. Giants fans are back on their feet, and our making some noise -- Snodgrass swings and connects, this one could be some trouble, Derek Jeter is running into shallow outfield for this pop-blooper and makes the catch! Herzog decides to tag, Jeter with the throw, Posada swings his body around as Herzog tries to avoid the tag, is he in?! NO!! He's OUT! What a play by Derek Jeter! Is there anything, this guy can't do? Not only he's clutch with his bat, he's clutch with his glove [which we would all find out -- especially the Oakland Atheltics, in 2001]. We'll see if this play will hold up as a potential twist in this one, but one thing's for sure, it silenced the Polo Grounds once again, and  now bases are empty for Beals Becker. Becker is 1-for-9 this tournament, and ends up grounding to Brosius, the throw to first -- Yankees escape unscathed thanks to Jeter.
Score remains: Yankees 4, Giants 4

Top of the 8th
Jeff Tessreau who has settled down, sends the Yankees down 1-2-3, finishing off the third batter in Tino Martinez with a strikeout.
Devore: 2 key doubles in Game 3.

Bottom of the 8th
Graeme Lloyd is now on the mound for the Yankees, he gets the lead-off man Larry Doyle to fly out. With on out, Fred Merkle delivers a single to left, and then steals second base. Chief Meyers continues to find ways to get on base, by drawing a walk. Runners on 1st & 2nd, one out, and Josh Devore sends another one to the gap, Merkle scores easily, Meyers is rounding 3rd, the throw from Chad Curtis, and he's... OUT! The Giants love the fact that they took the lead, but they should have held Meyers at third, that could be an insurance run spoiled there. Lloyd would get out of the inning, by getting Red Murray to ground out.
Giants 5, Yankees 4

Top of the 9th
Most teams usually bring in a closer, but this is the difference between two teams from two different eras, and Jeff Tesreau, just like Rube Marquard in the previous game (against Cincinnati) has settled down nicely. Stepping up is Scott Brosius, who like many of the Yankees from this dynasty have a flair for the dramatics, but not this time as he grounds out. Jorge Posada follows up by grounding out as well, it's all up to Chuck Knoblauch, who is 0-for-3 (also hitting into a double-play earlier). The pitch, this one will do nothing, as he flies to left, and the Giants get this one in the books. 

                                 R   H   E
1998 YANKEES      4    5    0
1912 GIANTS          5    9    1    F
WP - Tesreau (NYG) / LP - Lloyd (NYY)

POST-GAME:
  • 1998 Yankees - 3 HR's total, two-run HR for Paul O'Neill, with solo HR's by Tino Martinez and Darryl Strawberry.
  • Josh Devore (NYG) - 2-for-4, 2 2B's & RBI.
  • Art Fletcher (NYG) - Two-Run double; Tournament: 5 RBI.
  • Buck Herzog (NYG) - 2-for-3, two singles, RBI & 3 stolen bases.
  • Jeff Tesreau (NYG) - CG, 5 H, 3 ER, 4 R, with 8 K's & 3 BB's; scoreless last 4 innings.
Game 4 goes on to have so many twists that I needed to do these games of the series against the 1998 Yankees in separate posts, so stay tuned to check out what we (both Doug Schuyler & I) considered a classic game. I will remember this next one for as long as I live.



Friday, November 22, 2013

My Chicagoland Results (Games #1 & #2)

       I knew ahead of time that I would have my work cut out for me, when I read the three teams I would have to face against in my division. I would have to play the 1931 Philadelphia Athletics1976 Cincinnnati Reds & the 1998 New York Yankees -- three dynasties. All three teams have a huge place in history, and all three teams have some of the biggest names, the game has ever seen. I knew it would be no picnic, while at the same time I knew that my team I was bringing (1912 New York Giants) were no slouch either.

Just like the other three teams, the Giants had a great manager, this one in John McGraw; All four teams will be led by Hall of Fame Managers (Just waiting on Joe Torre of the Yankees to join the bunch). The Giants unfortunately had a blunder in "Merkle's Boner", and would fall short of a World Championship. The A's are the other team in this division who fell short of a World Title, falling to the 1931 Cardinals (before they were labeled the "Gas House Gang").

My first match-up would be against APBA player, Tom Johnson. He brought the 76' Reds to the tourney, someone else happened to bring the other championship counterpart of the "Big Red Machine", the 75' team as well. There is really not too many differences between the two championship teams; Ken GriffeyCesar Geronimo & Dave Conception had better seasons in 76', while Johnny Bench & Tony Perez went backwards from their 75' numbers. 1975 Reds had better pitching overall, Will McEnaney was off in 76', didn't have the year he had in 75', while Rawly Eastwick had a better year in 76'. I guess it would be the same argument with what team is better between the 1992 & 1993 Blue Jays? Although, those two teams had plenty of differences with personnel, the Reds were basically the same bunch. Plus did I mention Joe Morgan was a beast at second base?!

GAME #1 - 1912 Giants at 1976 Reds
at Riverfront Stadium

Starting Pitchers:
NYG - Christy Mathewson  (A-YZZ) (23-12, 2.12 ERA & 134 K's in 310 IP)
CIN - Pat Zachry (B-X) (14-7, 2.74 ERA & 143 K's in 204 IP)

Bottom of the 1st
After Rose grounded out, Ken Griffey laced a single to left. Griffey would go on and steal second base. Mathewson would lose Joe Morgan, taking first on a walk. Runners on 1st & 2nd, one out -- George Foster crushes the ball, sending the ball into the right field stands at Riverfront; Mathewson seemed shocked that Foster got hold of that one, a three-run homer.
Zachry pitches game of his life.

Johnny Bench follows with a single, while Tony Perez strikes out. Dave Conception steps up to the plate & delivers, sending this one over the left field fence, two-run homer for Conception. The Giants bench is stunned, while McGraw is in disbelief. Cesar Geronimo smacks a single to left, while Dan Driessen, the DH, gets a single, moving the base runner to 3rd Base, which Driessen then followed with a stolen base. The Reds look to add to their big lead, but Mathewson gets Rose (the 10th batter in the inning) to pop up.
Reds 5, Giants 0

Top of the 3rd
Both teams would go 1-2-3 in the second inning, now onto the 3rd.

Pat Zachry would walk the lead-off hitter Beals Becker, Becker would then steal second on Bench's arm. Art Fletcher (shortstop) would put the Giants on the board with a single over second. Buck Herzog grounds out, moving the runner to second, one out. Zachry walks Fred Snodgrass, runners now on first & second -- but the Giants would strand the runners with back-to-back fly-outs without advancing the runners.
Reds 5, Giants 1

Bottom of the 3rd
Johnny Bench leads off the inning with a double. The very next play, Tony Perez smacks a deep grounder up the middle, in which the second baseman Larry Doyle gets to it, but sends it air mail over Fred Merkle's glove at first, Bench comes around third to score from second, while Tony Perez trucks into second. Error on Doyle, while Cincy adds another run. Dave Conception hits a fly to right, to move the runner to third, one out. Cesar Geronimo also flies out, no advancement by Perez. Dan Driessen gets his pitch, and sends it over Beals Becker's head out in left field. Pete Rose would end up grounding out, making that the third out, but the damage was done. Reds 8, Giants 1



Driessen delivers in the DH role.

Between the 3rd & 6th Innings
The Reds' Pat Zachry would retire 10 consecutive players, until Larry Doyle's two-out single in the top of the 6th Inning.

The 7th Inning
Both teams would tack on a run, with an RBI single by the Giants' Art Fletcher (his 2nd RBI) and a RBI single for Cesar GeronimoReds 9, Giants 2

Top of the 9th
Pete Rose bobbles the grounder by Fred Merkle, Merkle is safe on first, count that a error by Rose. The Giants put the Hit & Run into effect, and it's a success as Chief Meyers drives Merkle to third, Meyers on first. 1st & 3rd, no outs, down 9-2, the Giants are trying to get something cookin' with the DH - Josh Devore stepping up to the plate, but he would hit into a double-play which would at least drive in Merkle. Beals Becker would fly out to finish the game.

                                   R   H   E
1912 GIANTS            3    4    1
1976 REDS                9    15   1     F
WP - Zachry (CIN) / LP - Mathewson (NYG)

POST-GAME:

  • Pat Zachry (CIN) - 9 IP, 4 H, 2 ER, 3 R, with 9 K's & 3 walks.
  • Johnny Bench (CIN) - 3-for-5, 2B, 3 runs.
  • Ken Griffey (CIN) - 3-for-5, 2 SB's & run.
  • Dave Conception (CIN) - 2-for-4, 2-run HR, SB
  • Dan Driessen (CIN) - 2-for-4, 2-run HR, SB
  • Art Fletcher (NYG) - 2-for-3, 2 RBI.
  • Christy Mathewson (NYG) - 8 IP, 14 H, 8 ER, 9 R, 4 K & 2 BB's, 3 HR's allowed.

GAME #2 - 1976 Reds at 1912 Giants
at the Polo Grounds

Starting Pitchers:
CIN - Fred Norman (B-X) (12-7, 3.09 ERA & 126 K's in 180.1 IP)
NYG - Rube Marquard (A-XZ) (26-11, 2.57 ERA, 175 K's in 294.2 IP)

The Giants' Rube Marquard.

Top of the 1st
The Reds picked up where they left off, as Pete Rose hits a solo HR to right, off of Rube Marquard -- Rose & Perez were the only two Reds to not get involved in Game 1's hit parade. Ken Griffey steps up to the plate, he had three hits in the opener in Cincy, he gets hold of this one which won't take long to send it into the right field stands at the Polo Grounds; Back-to-Back home runs for the Reds, their 5th long-ball in 9 innings of at-bats, against two pitchers who had a combined 49 wins in 1912!

Marquard walks the next batter in dangerous Joe Morgan, Morgan steals on Chief Meyers, and now there is a man on second with no outs, down early 2-0. George Foster smacks this one, but it will die at the warning track in right, which Morgan easily tags up & moves to third base. Johnny Bench would hit a deep fly to center, Morgan will tag up & score easily. Bench goes back to the dugout, high-fives a-plenty with his sac fly. Reds 3, Giants 0

Top of the 3rd
Ken Griffey leads off with a single to right, making it his 5th hit in 7 at-bats, the Giants simply have had no answer for Griffey, or for most of the Reds for that matter. Joe Morgan steps up to the plate, he was walked last time up -- he smacks a double, Griffey scores easily. George Foster tacks on another run by hitting a double of his own, the Reds are off to another early big lead. Johnny Bench pops up behind the plate, and Tony Perez flies out. Two runs in this inning, and two outs, Dave Conception steps up to the plate, and smacks his 3rd hit of the two-game series, scoring in Foster. Cesar Geronimo racks up another single, his 4th hit in 6 at-bats, as Conception moves to 3rd. Dan Driessen flies out, as Rube Marquard momentarily stops the bleeding. Reds 6, Giants 0

Griffey had 5 hits against the Giants.

Bottom of the 4th
Larry Doyle finally gives the fans at the Polo Grounds something to cheer about, a solo blast to right field off of Fred Norman, only the second hit of the ballgame for the Giants. Fred Merkle follows the at-bat up with a ground out. Chief Meyers draws a bases-on-balls, as the DH Josh Devore pops up for the second out. Two outs, Red Murray delivers an RBI double (scoring in slow Meyers). Trailing by four, the Giants continue to slowly chip away as Art Fletcher, not known for his bat (even in dead-ball standards) drives in his 3rd RBI of the series, by smacking a double to left center (Murray scores). Two outs, trailing by three, Buck Herzog up at the plate, and what's this?! Fletcher tries to steal third, Bench fires a missile to third, Rose applies the tag -- OUT! Not before the Giants get three runs back -- Reds 6, Giants 3

From the 3rd through the 6th Inning
The Giants' Rube Marquard suddenly has silenced "The Big Red Machine" with retiring 10 consecutive batters, including three strikeouts in this stretch -- trying to give his team a chance. The Reds finally got a hit again in the top of the 7th, but couldn't get anything going.

Bottom of the 7th
Buck Herzog leads the game off with a single, following that up by swiping second base. Fred Snodgrass grounds out, runner advances to 3rd base. Beals Becker steps up & draws a walk, the Giants are in business to do something here -- runners on first & third. Larry Doyle grounds out, Herzog stays at third, while Becker moves to third; two outs, runners on 2nd & third. The Reds' starting pitcher Fred Norman is called for a balk, Sparky does not like the call, Herzog scores, Becker moves to third. The Giants suddenly have the tying run at the plate with Fred Merkle stepping up, big at-bat for the Giants, but nothing comes of it as Merkle grounds the ball to Conception, Conception to Perez, the threat is over.
Reds 6, Giants 4

Bottom of the 8th
Chief Meyers leads off the inning with a single. John McGraw looks down his bench, and decides to have Tillie Shafer pinch-run for the slow base runner Meyers. The move pays off as Shafer steals second base on Bench's arm. The Reds' Sparky Anderson comes out of the dugout, motions to the bullpen, Norman can't be too disappointed, usually Sparky pulls his starting pitchers out at the first sign of trouble, hence his nickname "Captain Hook". The Reds will bring in the rookie reliever Manny Sarmiento to deal with the DH Josh Devore, in which he gets Devore to pop it up in the infield. Red Murray follows by grounding out, but moves the runner over to third base. Two outs, tying run at the plate & runner on third again for the Giants, and the batter is Heinie Groh. Groh came into the game during the bottom of the 6th for Art Fletcher, he flew out against Norman, let's see how he holds up against Sarmiento -- Another grounder to Conception, this will be a ground out, and the Reds escape another scoring opportunity by the Giants.
Reds 6, Giants 4

Top of the 9th
Rube Marquard continues to stay in the zone, as he mows down Cincy's lineup 1-2-3, striking out the last batter (Pete Rose). It's been the story of two Marquard's in this one -- Counting the last out of the top of the 3rd, Marquard has retired 19 of the last 20 batters for the Reds; after allowing 6 runs in the first three innings. For you APBA nuts, he pitched better as a Grade B than when he was a Grade A!

Bottom of the 9th
Sparky Anderson goes to his closer Rawly Eastwick. Eastwick for the second season in a row, led the National League in Saves with 26 during the 1976 campaign (He was tied for the lead with 22 in 1975); sporting a 2.09 ERA. The first batter he will face is Buck Herzog, who is 1-for-6 during the series, he got on board last time & stole second, scoring on the balk -- he pops up, one away. Fred Snodgrass, who also has been quiet (batting 1-for-7) grounds out to second. It's all up to Beals Becker, who has drawn three walks already this series, but he will swing away & come up empty with a strikeout. Eastwick holds down the hatches, and the Reds sweep their two-game series with the 1912 Giants -- A good way for the Reds to start off the series.

                                  R   H   E
1976 REDS               6   10   0
1912 GIANTS           4    7    1    F
WP - Norman (CIN) / LP - Marquard (NYG) / SV - Eastwick (CIN)

POST-GAME:

  • Ken Griffey (CIN) - 2-for-4, solo HR, 2 runs (5-for-9, plus 2 SB's in series).
  • Pete Rose (CIN) - 2-for-4, solo HR.
  • Cesar Geronimo (CIN) - 2-for-4, 2B (4-for-9 during series)
  • Joe Morgan (CIN) - Series: 2-for-6, RBI double, with 3 BB's, 2 SB's & 3 runs. Silencing his bat overall, but he still found ways to contribute.
  • Giants' starting pitching: Allowed 5 HR's during series.
  • Chief Meyers (NYG) - 2-for-3, BB & run (3 hits in last 4 at-bats of series).
From the press box, while playing the 98' Yankees -- word is that the Reds' bats stayed cool, for at least their 3rd game, Tom Johnson's Reds ended up splitting with Gary's 1931 Athletics. I never seen the dice in a competitor go from red-hot (for 12 innings) to ice-cold (the last 6 innings, plus his match-up against the A's).

For me, I had my opportunities in Game 2 and could smell a possible comeback victory, but it wasn't in the cards. This game & my fourth game (2nd game vs. 98' Yankees) are good footnotes for me, for what could have been victories, and what could have sealed my fate to move on to the playoff round. I think each of us in the Bill Veeck Division could all sit back and say if this play or this game bounced this way, I could have moved on; that's the beauty of APBA & the game of baseball. The 1998 Yankees (Doug Schuyler) would move on to the playoffs from our division, and in my next post detailing our two-game series against each other -- you will see one of the big reasons, and big wins by him, that helped him accomplish the Division Title. I heard he pulled off a great victory in his fifth game (1st game vs. Reds) that was pivotal as well.


Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Halfway Point for 2007 Tigers

Durbin already has logged nine wins.
My 2007 Detroit Tigers Replay have officially entered the All-Star Break, I will return to the season in a few months as I prepare to return to my main project the "Crazy 48's League". The Tigers are ahead of pace so far, even if I'm not happy that Todd Jones blown the last two games (bailed out by Sean Casey's walk-off single in the 2nd to last one) -- The Tigers' last game before the break, was a blown 8-1 lead over the Boston Red Sox, in which they lost in extras 9-8! So two blown saves for Jones in as many games, allowing 6 ER's in 1.2 innings.

The Tigers are 5 games up on Cleveland, in real-life they were only one game ahead of Cleveland at the break, and the Tigers would collapse in the second-half. I'm hoping to avoid a repeat in history, and see if I can get this team into the playoffs. It certainly won't be easy.

Interesting Stats

  • Carlos Guillen's struggles, he was amazing the first month and has been slumping since, dropping his average down to .224! 
  • A healthy Gary Sheffield is on pace for a 40/40 season, not to mention he's on pace for 150 RBI!
  • Chad Durbin and his 9-1 record, he only went 8-7 in real-life, so he already broke his season total in wins, his ERA of 4.58 is more on par with his real-life 4.72 ERA.
  • Curtis Granderson already has 32 doubles & 86 runs for the season!
  • Magglio Ordonez won the batting title in 2007, he's leading the league, while flirting with .400 for the most part in the first-half, he's at .397 & has drawn 64 walks.
  • Justin Verlander & Jeremy Bonderman both have 10 wins each, and are on pace for 20 -- while Verlander is on pace for 200 K's (He only had 178 K's in 2007). Both also have respectable ERA's (Verlander 3.81, Bonderman 3.93).
  • Granderson, Polanco & Ordonez are easily on pace for 200+ hits, Ordonez (133 hits) & Granderson (131 hits) may flirt with Ichiro's single-season record.
  • I tried to keep the pitchers & batters to their innings & at-bats limits for the most part, for the relievers there is really little I could do, as all of them are well ahead of their paces. It appears I will have at least 4 relievers making at least 80 appearances this season, in which they will likely log around 90 innings.
  • Ryan Raburn has been the best player off the bench, batting .333, 4 HR & 17 RBI in 84 at-bats, with a .947 OPS.

2007 Tigers Replay Standings

2007 MLB REPLAY / ALL-STAR BREAK STANDINGS
A.L. EAST W L PCT GB
BOSTON 56 31 0.644 0
NEW YORK (A) 43 43 0.500 12.5
TORONTO 41 46 0.471 15
BALTIMORE 39 49 0.443 17.5
TAMPA BAY 33 54 0.379 23
A.L. CENTRAL W L PCT GB
DETROIT 53 33 0.616 0
CLEVELAND 49 39 0.557 5
MINNESOTA 44 44 0.500 10
KANSAS CITY 40 48 0.455 14
CHICAGO (A) 38 48 0.442 15
A.L. WEST W L PCT GB
LOS ANGELES (A) 53 35 0.602 0
SEATTLE 49 36 0.576 2.5
OAKLAND 44 44 0.500 9
TEXAS 36 52 0.409 17
N.L. EAST W L PCT GB
NEW YORK (N) 48 39 0.552 0
ATLANTA 49 40 0.551 0
PHILADELPHIA 44 44 0.500 4.5
FLORIDA 42 47 0.472 7
WASHINGTON 36 52 0.409 12.5
N.L. CENTRAL W L PCT GB
MILWAUKEE 48 40 0.545 0
CHICAGO (N) 44 43 0.506 3.5
ST. LOUIS 41 44 0.482 5.5
PITTSBURGH 40 48 0.455 8
HOUSTON 39 50 0.438 9.5
CINCINNATI 36 52 0.409 12
N.L. WEST W L PCT GB
SAN DIEGO 49 38 0.563 0
LOS ANGELES (N) 49 40 0.551 1
ARIZONA 47 43 0.522 3.5
COLORADO 44 44 0.500 5.5
SAN FRANCISCO 38 48 0.442 10.5

Brothers United

It's in the books, this past weekend's 2nd Chicagoland APBA Baseball Tournament was a complete success! 22 men & one woman competed in the 22 team APBA Tournament. 22 teams, the 5 Division Champs moved on, plenty of surprises, a no-hitter in one of the playoff games, and at the end of the day Scott Fennessy and his 1905 New York Giants stood victorious.

Like I mentioned in the previous, brief post about the day's events, for me it was really cool to finally meet these guys face to face for the very first time -- It felt like I was meeting my brothers that were separated at birth or something, a band of brothers that shared the same love for the game of baseball & APBA Baseball. It was great to see that I wasn't the only kid there, and that there was 22+ other kids there as well; to see that inner-child come out in everyone was something to behold -- or just to get caught in the moment, I looked to my side and Thomas Nelshoppen was suddenly shooting his camera at me, as if we were having a sundown shootout with pistols, and I drew my camera and we started snapping pics at each other -- good times!

It was really cool to see the teams everyone brought, some were your usual big & more famous MLB teams, some were for sentimental reasons, and plenty brought their teams for strategic reasons. Plus to hear why people loved those teams or the strategy they were thinking with those teams, were very interesting. We had three Cincinnati Reds & three Philadelphia Athletics teams, those two franchises alone was 27% of the tournament. We had the expansion Los Angeles Angels & a duck-call to go with it. We had dead-ball teams & we had teams with mammoth power such as the 1995 Indians & the two Big Red Machine repeat teams of the 70's. We had plenty of Christy Mathewson (a no-hitter against the 1959 Braves in the playoff round), both good cards, but two different results: Good for the eventual champ Fennessy & not so good for me, in which Mathewson sported a 8.44 ERA through 16 innings!

Clark Eichman (71' Pirates) facing off against Doug Schuyler (98' Yankees).

In a lot of ways, the 2nd Chicagoland APBA World Series Tournament was a celebration for a long year for me & my wife. Exactly a year ago, we were well over our heads financially -- in which we tried to find anyway possible to keep our heads above the water, and strategically in the end, we failed; Realistically, we should have filed for bankruptcy a good 3 to 4 years before -- in which we would decide in December 2012 to do so, get a lawyer in January, go through the proceedings in which it all became finalized in June 2013. We are glad with all we went through that we stood solid & united through a crisis that would have torn up most married couples, we are actually stronger because of this crisis, and we know that nothing can get in our way. We both now have good paying jobs, live in a beautiful area, and $20 no longer looks like a $100 bucks. My overall cost for the trip (counting hotel for two nights, round-trip bus fair, meals, lap-top bag, gas money) actually exceeded between $350-$400, but let me tell you.. it was all well-worth it! We also have extra income, because we have my brother-in-law living with us as well. We don't have that many bills anymore, and actually are able to save money as well. My wife knows how much I love APBA Baseball, and Baseball itself, so she knew how much I wanted to go, so I can't thank her enough for letting me go hang out with the boys in Chicagoland.

What's at stake? The Chicagoland APBA World Series Trophy.

This whole event would have not been possible if it were not for the wonderful planning by two wonderful gentlemen in Doug Schuyler and Jim Saska. Doug and I, have been friends via facebook awhile now, he is one of guys who first friends from the APBA Facebook Group to friend request me, and we also have many of the same views when it comes to the wonderful game of baseball, from Pete Rose to the 1984 Detroit Tigers & everything in-between. His passion for the game is quite obvious, so it comes as no surprise that his joy for the game & APBA led to the formation of this up-and-growing tournament. Jim Saska has been just as instrumental, I don't believe I have seen him on facebook, so before the event I never had a clue what he even looked like... so when I met him for the first time that was an honor, his calming presence and warm smile was definitely one of the highlights for me. As a Batman fan, I can say Doug & Jim form one dynamic duo that plan to keep this thing rolling, and I have no doubt that it will continue to do so.

I also had the privilege of finally meeting my friend, the Pastor Rich Zawadzki. Rich was kind enough to let me join him on the travels to the Chicagoland tourney, we met up in Kalamazoo, just off of I-94, in which we departed from there to Woodstock & back. I jumped into his van, and we hit it off right away; I think the most remarkable thing is that we actually didn't talk about baseball or APBA right away, but about our families, wives & life in general. Rich is a wonderful person, solid family man, and definitely strong with God. It was really cool picking his brain both on baseball and spiritually, best of both worlds if you ask me & for me it was just as fun as the tournament itself, which speaks volumes of Rich. He has an amazing knowledge of the game & APBA Baseball itself -- he has an amazing eye for a great card, and a great team. I'm glad I have a friend in Rich.

Meeting my friend Tom Nelshoppen for the first time was also a big deal for me, this guy's love for the game bleeds through in his words on The APBA Blog. I love his ideas and articles, from 'Monster Card Mondays' to the cool way he keeps statistics (I really need to experiment with my stat keeping, take a few notes). He keeps the APBA community strong & kicking, and he's just the friendliest person imaginable -- I regret not getting a picture with you Tom. We already have talked about getting a side game in next time, that should be a lot of fun! I was hoping that Tom would have a strong tournament run, since I know he has not had great success with his Thunder-Chickens team.

In the midst of a camera war with Thomas Nelshoppen!

Back to the tournament attendance numbers, there was a few notable local guys on facebook that happened to not make it to the tournament, and to me that's even more encouraging, because that only means more people in the future -- because there is not a doubt in my mind that most of the 22 will likely return. I already plan to definitely plan an annual trip to the winter tournaments for now, and we'll see how my schedule works for the spring/summer editions. The timing of the November tourney could have not been more perfect, just 2-3 weeks after the conclusion of the MLB Season, in time for the MLB Awards to be announced, a good solid two weeks before the Holiday season officially kicks off, perfect timing! It was also encouraging to see many people make the long trip, guys came from as far as Minnesota and east of Cleveland.

The new champ Scott Fennessy signs his name on the Champions' ball -- joining Curt Bartel's signature.

Chicago is the perfect area, I really do believe that the Midwest has something really going on here, and I don't want to sound biased but I believe APBA is truly a Midwest thing, I do know you can make a strong argument for the East Coast as well. The word of mouth was great, with this day & age of new age media via facebook or Twitter & sites such as The APBA Blog to keep people updated about important tournament information, I'm psyched about the possibilities of spreading the great game & our love for APBA Baseball. Not worried about the future of APBA, nor am I worried about it ever disappearing, with all the love & support out there for the game of baseball & APBA, it's difficult to see anything negative coming out of all this.

So here's to the growth of APBA, the Chicagoland Tournament, and to new, long-lasting relationships along the way!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A Few Quick Notes

LEADING OFF

If for some odd reason you haven't heard, this weekend's 2nd Chicagoland APBA Baseball Tournament was a complete success! 22 men & one woman competed in the 22 team APBA Tournament. I will be posting a more in-depth post about the amazing journey & will also breakdown my memories using my team representative of the 1912 New York Giants.

The post about the tourney will be titled "Brothers United", so look forward to reading about it soon here on the Boys of Summer site. It was finally cool to meet these guys face to face & meet new friends there as well -- I'm looking forward to at least be making an annual winter trip. The two men who made this all possible in Doug Schuyler & Jim Saska, plan to keep doing a bi-annual meeting -- early hintings at a possible April tourney in time for the baseball season. I also finally got to meet two more wonderful friends in Pastor Rich Zawadzki of Jackson, MI (who I had the privilege to travel with from Kalamazoo, MI to Woodstock, IL) and Thomas Nelshoppen of The APBA Blog.

Doug Schuyler, Rich Zawadzki & me (Shawn Baier).
The week for the November tourney could have not been more perfect, just 2-3 weeks after the conclusion of the MLB Season, in time for the MLB BBWAA Awards week, and still a good solid 2 weeks before the Holiday season officially kicks off -- I'm not sure, if these guys chose this week for those reasons or not, either way -- BRILLIANT MOVE!

It was encouraging to see so many make long trips, I believe from the top of my head, we had someone come as far as Minnesota to make the trip, his family made it a great shopping weekend in Chicago. Chicago is perfect area, I really do believe that the Midwest has something really going on here, and I'm encouraged by the fact to find out there was a good handful of guys that actually didn't make the trip, that plan to make the trip for the future tourneys to come. I also loved the fact that our outcome of 23 people, plus a handful of spectators was in the neighborhood of the actual APBA convention which I hear is from (40-50 guys possibly) -- So you can definitely see why, we are loving the growth and the prospects of bigger things to come! The word of mouth was great, and with this day & age of new age media via facebook or Twitter or whatever, we are pretty psyched about the possibilities of spreading the great game & our love for APBA Baseball.

In the words of Thomas (APBA Blog) -- "KEEP CALM and ROLL SIXTY SIXES".


MIDDLE of the ORDER

My Crazy 48's League continues, and will hit the ground running in December. The last few months the league slowed down due to changes in the work schedule, family celebrations/priorities & a month doing my 2007 Detroit Tigers Season Replay -- Tigers are 49-30 through the end of June, 3 games ahead of the actual pace that season, with 7 upcoming games before the All-Star Break. The 7 games will be at home, one against Minnesota, three against real-life A.L. Central Division champ -- Cleveland, and three against the eventual World Champion Boston Red Sox. The Tigers in real-life, went 6-1 through this stretch, so I hope to be in that neighborhood if I plan on changing history -- this one will certainly go down to the wire.

I will likely start the second-half sometime in the Spring as I look forward to get the Crazy 48's back on track. You need to shift things up to keep things fresh. I'm also thinking of using APBA Baseball for Windows (BBW) to get things moving along quicker for that, so I can concentrate on some big projects I plan for APBA.


...and BATTING LAST

Thinking about starting up a basic board game league with other local people in my area of Traverse City, Michigan; I realized with all the fun that I had at the 2nd Chicagoland APBA Tournament how good it feels to compete & talk about the love of baseball with a group of friends, so it definitely has me thinking about starting something up. During the tournament, I realized that it's been five years that I actually played one-on-one against someone, and even then I was introducing the game to someone. Miss the old days, of friendly competition.

Anyways, that's a few of the recent updates for now, I'll have more about the great time in Woodstock in the nearby future.

Take care, everyone!

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