Thursday, December 31, 2015

Gearing Up for 2016

Thanks to all my readers for all of your wonderful support. It's been awhile since my last blog piece, due to the wife & I, moving into our new place. The new apartment is great by the way, spacious & beautiful, we honestly feel like we are being spoiled.

God has been too good to us, believe me, I am not complaining... but definitely feeling blessed. About three weeks ago, we were not sure if we would have a place to live, we (Becky & I) have always been solid together, but we all have to lean on the Lord from time to time, and he definitely heard our prayers.

So much to look forward in this upcoming year of 2016 -- from APBA projects to upcoming tournaments, and finally meeting some of my APBA friends face-to-face at these upcoming tournaments are definitely part of the highlights to come. Feeling truly blessed, to have such wonderful friends through the wonderful games of baseball & APBA, and to read about their APBA passions as well, is definitely an awesome experience to see day-to-day on Facebook.

My friends - Doug Schuyler, Rich Zawadzki & myself in Woodstock (Chicago). 
A few years ago, I was so happy to know that I wasn't the only one that is so geeked out on APBA!
Many of us have become close, despite where we live or where we come from, we have a lot of respect for one another, and we have each others backs... Many of my APBA friends have lent their emotional support on deep personal matters, and that means the world to me.

Sure... we can have our debates, but that's because we are like brothers, we are all part of one gigantic APBA family, and our APBA blood runs thick.

Group photo of everyone at the GMABT (Jackson, MI).

I had the wonderful privilege of going to a Greater Michigan APBA Baseball Tournament in Jackson, MI, with my biological brother Christopher. My 1917 Chicago White Sox did not do so good, Chris on the other hand took the 2006 Detroit Tigers to the championship game, where they lost to the 1937 New York Yankees.

I will be returning to Jackson in March this upcoming year, in which I will be bringing the 1993 Atlanta Braves, my favorite Braves team of the bunch. I will also be returning to the Chicago area for the Summer Fantasy World Series in July -- In this tournament, you get to pick a team, and then add any player from that franchise's history to be a guest star on the team, so I am going with the 1987 Detroit Tigers, featuring Magglio Ordonez's 2007 season card. Both tournaments should be lots of fun!

I plan to make my rounds eventually to all of the wonderful tournaments sprouting up, I wish my APBA friends safe tournament travels this upcoming year....

and a Happy New Years!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Coming to a Galaxy Near You...

Plenty going on as of late, the wife and I have excellent news...

We will have a roof over our heads, and it will be in the new apartment complex that has finally opened, we signed our lease back on Monday. With all the arrangements towards moving, and preparing for it, you will not see much action on this blog site.

Be patient, let your feelings go, feel the flow of the force through you, and the blog will return with new articles in a galaxy near you.

For now, enjoy all these Star Wars pics, now that the new movie is around the corner.

My custom-made Han Solo card that I created a couple years ago.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Alternate 1993 at AS Break

Clemens has been grounded for most part in 93' -- until departing for more pleasant scenery at break.

The Alternate 1993 Project continues on...

To give you an idea of the pennant races, I will add pics of the standings as the season went on.

In early June (above), you can see that even the 5th place Boston Red Sox were playing pretty well at a .566 clip, while four teams were over .600. The American League West of course, was more deluded with Chicago leading the division at around 42 wins at this time.

Then came June 25th, and the Cleveland Indians started rolling, while the Tigers started sliding. The Tigers would eventually lose 8 straight here.

At the All-Star Break, this is where both leagues stand....

The Chicago White Sox start to stretch that division lead, breaking away from the Kansas City Royals. The Texas Rangers have dealt with injuries to their rotation, otherwise they would be more of a factor -- They picked up Armando Reynoso prior to the season (due to the Colorado Rockies not existing) and he made the rotation more stable, but have since traded him at the All-Star break to the Cleveland Indians.

The Indians suddenly buyers, acquired Cal Eldred from the low-functioning Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers also traded Jesse Orosco away for P-Allen Watson & a 3rd Round Draft Selection. Milwaukee added Mark Clark, a couple vets & a 1st Round Draft Selection, not to mention the fact that the Brewers are in for a solid pick at the end of the season.

The way the draft works is that it will have the players from the expansion teams (Colorado & Florida) and the players cut from other rosters, basically a free agent draft. Now, players such as Jeff Conine (who's with the Tigers) & Joe Girardi (Braves) will stay with those teams until their actual expansion team stints end, I want to say Conine's contract is through 1998 & Joe Girardi's is through the end of 1995.. Once those stints end, they go to the actual team they were with that year, so Girardi will be joining the New York Yankees in 1996.

The expansion team players in the 1994 free agent draft is new players that were not drafted from the 1994 teams, for example 1995 will be a big draft with Larry Walker (who joined Colorado in 1995) will be a free agent & probably the top selection -- which means early teams with a shot at him, would most likely be teams such as the Pittsburgh Pirates, Milwaukee Brewers, and San Diego Padres.

Here is the mid-season trades that went down, with one major blockbuster. I will explain these trades in more depth afterwards, keep in mind, that I tried for most part to trade as if I don't know what will happen in future on some of these. Some people would argue that the Brewers would get more for Jesse Orosco....

A) Orosco actually only has about 20 quality innings left for the season, so his worth to the Cards is not as big as it seems, he is also only under contract through 1994, then he would join his actual club in Baltimore in 1995.

B) Allen Watson, who the Brewers acquired will give the Brewers, who are in need of rotation pitchers some innings the next few years. Plus Milwaukee gets a 3rd Round draft selection, basically a prospect or vet signing to the mix.

The Cardinals only made the Orosco deal, which is strange considering they are on the Philadelphia Phillies' tail. The Cards have an excellent future, and don't want to break the bank, they just called up reliever Paul Kilgus, who is a grade 24*-X and has 28.2 innings or more to use. They flirted with the idea of making a deal for Gary Sheffield of the Los Angeles Dodgers, which Bernard Gilkey & possibly Ray Lankford were both involved, but they have Lankford through almost 2000, and the combination of those two players with Gregg Jefferies (currently batting .402) and Todd Zeile have the Cardinals wanting to stay put. Their starting pitching isn't great, they added Pat Rapp prior to the season, who's only perk was innings. St. Louis might make a small deal later....

Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Phillies, since they had a rough 1992, picked a valuable Bryan Harvey up for the season. Harvey was made closer, at first I thought of using him as a great set-up man for Mitch Williams... then realized that Harvey should be closer, this left Mitch even out of a set-up role, due to David West's strong 1993 season. Mitch has been in limbo, and as the All-Star break approached and as the Phillies watched some pennant chasers pick up some starting pitching, the Phillies called Houston & made a deal for Mark Portugal, who hits the free agent market at season's end. Houston gets Mitch Williams, along with Ben Rivera & infielder Alex Arias, who will be under contract through 1997 -- he provides good infield depth; Mitch ends up with Astros in 1994 anyways, so now he's under contract through 1994. The Astros would also deal reliever Xavier Hernandez for OF momentarily bench help in Bob Zupcic & a 3rd Round Draft selection,


  • The Milwaukee Brewers trade RP-Jesse Orosco to the St.Louis Cardinals in exchange for P-Allen Watson & 3rd Round Draft Selection.
  • The Cleveland Indians trade 2B-Jeff Treadway, RP-Heathcliff Slocumb, SP-Mark Clark & a 1st Round Draft Selection & 3rd Round Draft Selection to the Milwaukee Brewers for SP-Cal Eldred.
  • The Toronto Blue Jays trade RP-Mike Timlin, P-Woody Williams & their 1st Round Draft Selection to the Los Angeles Dodgers for SP-Tom Candiotti & their 3rd Round Draft Selection.
  • The Baltimore Orioles trade 3B-Leo Gomez, OF-Sherman Obando & IF-Manny Alexander to the San Francisco Giants for OF-Darren Lewis.
  • The Detroit Tigers trade SP-John Doherty, OF-Danny Bautista, P-Mike Gardiner, RP-Buddy Groom & their 1st Round Draft Selection to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for SP-Frank Viola.
  • The Philadelphia Phillies trade RP-Mitch Williams, SP-Ben Rivera & IF-Alex Arias to the Houston Astros in exchange for SP-Mark Portugal.
  • The Boston Red Sox trade RP-Jeff Russell to the Atlanta Braves in exchange for RP-Mike Stanton, C-Greg Olson & Atlanta's 2nd Round Draft Selection.
  • The Chicago White Sox trade RP-Scott Radinsky to the Minnesota Twins in exchange for RP-Carl Willis.
  • The Houston Astros trade RP-Xavier Hernandez to the Boston Red Sox in exchange for OF-Bob Zupcic & Boston's 3rd Round Draft Selection. 
  • The Cleveland Indians trade 1B/DH-Paul Sorrento to the Texas Rangers in exchange for SP-Armando Reynoso, RP-Gene Nelson & P-Brian Bohanon.
  • The Boston Red Sox trade SP-Roger Clemens, 1B-Mo Vaughn & Boston's 1st Round Draft Selection (for 1995 Draft) to the California Angels in exchange for SP-Chuck Finley, SP-Mark Langston & 1B-J.T. Snow.
  • The Atlanta Braves trade OF-Deion Sanders to the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for OF-Roberto Kelly.
Now let's go to all the Boston Red Sox activity, the Red Sox headed into the break as sellers, but ended up as buyers with some excellent retooling for the future.

As I started the 1993 season, I looked over at the Boston roster, and went ughhhh...

Nothing exciting, Andre Dawson looks confused in an American League outfield, while Rob Deer is well-beyond his better Brewers years, plus Frank Viola is aging. So when the free agent draft came about they got speedster Eric Young and added vet Daryl Boston for pop & depth to the roster. Boston during the season got with 6 games of division lead, and now fell back to 12 games back... 

Boston's projected lineup prior to alternate 1993 season.
Boston's bench, rotation & bullpen.

The Detroit Tigers gave them two bullpen arms for next year (Buddy Groom and Mark Gardiner) and rotation help for this season at least in John Doherty (nothing special), but landed a 1st Round Draft Selection which will help, along with outfielder Danny Bautista, all for starting pitcher Frank Viola. 

The Atlanta Braves meanwhile, could use another bullpen arm, end up inquiring about closer Jeff Russell, who is under contract with Boston through 1994, but his only worth is the 93' season (since he is so-so in 1994). Boston has only Tony Pena behind the plate, and the Braves are not currently using Greg Olson, due to the addition of Joe Girardi before the season to go along with Damon Berryhill. Even though, Olson is done after 1993, he is productive enough to help with catching duties, definitely a step up from current backup -- Plus, Boston adds reliever Mike Stanton and another draft selection (Atlanta's 2nd Round Draft Selection) -- Boston would turn around and acquire Xavier Hernandez from Houston for cheap, who has same relief grade as Russell. 

Then things got really interesting, I looked at Roger Clemens with his Grade 6-X (worst in his career, or at least for sure at this point), and I started thinking about how Dan Duquette was probably festering over there in the corner & the fact that him & Roger hated each other. I looked at Boston's roster and thought... who can I package with Clemens that would bring in quite a bit, and at the same time make Boston not selling, but retooling with a shot at this season still?

I then fell onto the California Angels, what if Boston can land two big starting pitchers, and have them under contract for some time. Enter Chuck Finley & Mark Langston, Finley will be under contract through 1999, then I believe he joins Cleveland in 2000... while Langston will be under contract through 1997. 

It's a gutsy move, especially since Mo Vaughn is the other piece being sent to California. As we all know, California had Finley, Langston & later Ken Hill, but not much else in rotation for the rest of the decade -- but now they have value to trade down the road to get the pitching back & more. The Angels will have almost all of Mo Vaughn's great part of his early career (this time). Prior to the season they also signed Vinny Castilla, so his value only will go up.  Plus adding Mo Vaughn & Castilla to a lineup that will feature Tim Salmon, Darin Erstad, Garret Anderson, Jim Edmonds, among others... Yowzers!

Sure, Clemens is only under contract through end of 1996, and they will be better years than 1993, but still on the downside 94'-96'; By the way, teams can bid for the players to resign with their team, if they trade players of that new team's liking -- For example, if the Angels can package some players or make the deal sweet for the Blue Jays in 1997, Clemens could stay in Anaheim; The Angels due to this trade, now have plenty of flexibility from now until then. 

The Red Sox and Angels swap first basemen in Vaughn and J.T. Snow. Snow brings glove to first for Boston, they will focus to make the team built on defense & pitching. Their starting pitchers for remainder of season will be Finley, Langston & Danny Darwin, plus a little left in the tank for Aaron Sele to make a push late in this season actually, while retooling the future. Eventually John Valentin & Nomar Garciaparra will blossom, and make this incarnation of Boston very interesting, and definitely more pleasant to watch.

Plus how does this trade look, involving WAR?

SP- Chuck Finley (through 1999) - 27.2
SP- Mark Langston (through 1997) - 9.8
1B- J.T. Snow (through 1996) - (neg 1.0)

SP- Roger Clemens (through 1996) - 16.9
1B/DH- Mo Vaughn (through 2000) - 23.7
*Boston sends 1st Round Draft Selection for 1995 Draft

Boston's package is worth 40.6 WAR to California's 36.9; Boston gets more of the impact up front adding two B-Starters for this season to a pennant race, and the long contracts for Finley & Langston. Angels have a void in pitching for rest of decade, so that's where Boston throws in 1995's 1st Round Selection. Angels have plenty of time to acquire pitching to make the deal worth it, while Boston holds onto their 1st Round for 1994, plus the one that they acquired from Detroit, along with two 2nd Round selections (theirs & Atlanta's). 

So for Boston....

SP- Roger Clemens
SP- Frank Viola
1B/DH- Mo Vaughn
RP- Jeff Russell
OF-Bob Zupcic
1st Round Draft Selection (1995)
3rd Round Draft Selection (1994)

SP- Chuck Finley
SP- Mark Langston
1B- J.T. Snow
RP- Xavier Hernandez
RP- Mike Stanton
SP- John Doherty
C- Greg Olson
OF- Danny Bautista
RP- Buddy Groom
RP- Mark Gardiner
1st Round Draft Selection (Detroit - 1994)
2nd Round Draft Selection (Atlanta - 1994)

The future looks better for both franchises in the aftermath.

Now back to the last couple of deals...

Atlanta trades Deion Sanders to the Cincinnati Reds for Roberto Kelly. Getting a case of deja vu? Indeed, this actual deal would go down in late May 1994 between the two franchises. The other trade may make Giants fans scratch their head, Darren Lewis was traded to Baltimore for Leo Gomez, Sherman Obando & Manny Alexander. The thing is Darren Lewis was sitting on bench & minors due to the Giants pickup of Chuck Carr prior to the season -- it was not a move to help the Giants now, but gives them flexibility in the future -- having Leo Gomez playing third (15 HR & .868 OPS in 1994 / 17 HR & .775 OPS in 1996), in case the Giants want to unload Matt Williams early, who is only under contract with Giants through 1996.

Tom Candiotti, returns to the Toronto Blue Jays in a trade that sent reliever Mike Timlin and pitcher Woody Williams to the Los Angeles Dodgers. Candiotti will help head the rotation this season, while stabilizing it the next few seasons; The Dodgers add bulk to the bullpen for a few years, plus a starter at end of the contract in Williams. 

... and that is all for now.

Monday, December 7, 2015

The Big, Bad East (BoS Update)

My team logo for the Panthers.
I have not done a post on my Boys of Summer APBA Baseball League for some time, and here is the latest. We enter this weekend, a game up on Thomas Nelshoppen's Urbana Locomotives, and about 5 games up on the Steve Ruder's Holland Hitchhikers; All three teams have high playoff hopes, the fact of the matter only two will advance into the postseason.

Not to toot my own horn, but entering the season I believe that with my acquisition of Miguel Cabrera and the fact that my pitching staff, lineup & bullpen was pretty solid, I would say that others believed we were division favorites as well. I knew I put together a good team, and know that if I want to win it all, I need to put a team together to battle back-to-back National League Champions - Portland Microbrewers, and be able to hang defeat the American League powers to be, in case I get that far, to the World Series.

What I did not know is that the division race was going to be this tough, I kind of knew that I would have to worry about Holland, but maybe I & the entire league underestimated Urbana. Urbana really has that 1988 Los Angeles Dodgers thing going on, they do have the pitching, but their team is only batting .216, but Tom has his team playing great baseball and that's where it counts.

That is what's great about APBA Baseball and baseball in general, anything is possible, and what Urbana is doing is really not the impossible. I really did think that this year would be very close among the whole league, maybe 2 bad teams, and 2-3 stellar teams, but the middle not too far behind the top, or too far ahead the bottom -- lots of parity I expected.

This league has watched teams go through phases this season, losing & winning, and even though there is 3, maybe 4 teams pulling away from the pack, that top echelon has not been perfect. For the most part the same three teams have been at the top of the BoS Power Rankings- Portland, Chicago & Traverse City.

Now I hope people are not offended in my league with me doing a article at where my team is sitting, this is my APBA blog though, and this blog reports on my APBA activity; Being the commissioner, I feel guilty at times for writing such a post, but I'm doing this post more as a competitive team owner or manager, who believes in his team, so I guess I'm giving this article in that perspective.

My upcoming series are as follows:
vs SAN DIEGO (6 games)
at Kingsley (5 games, who are 8-7 against me for the season)
at Urbana (5 games)
vs URBANA (6 games)
at Holland (5 games)

First up in this stretch is against my brother Christopher's team in the San Diego Heroes, who acquired Yasiel Puig, the player I drafted 1st overall in the 2014 Annual BoS Draft. Puig won N.L. Rookie of the Year for my Panthers, and helped us make the playoffs for the very first time. He was then traded just before the 2015 BoS Draft in the trade that brought Miguel Cabrera over from Chicago.

Game 1

Adam Wainwright pitched a two-hit shutout in Game 1, to defeat San Diego 2-0. Giancarlo Stanton's solo HR (his 28th HR of the season) in the bottom of the 8th, gave the Panthers more breathing room.

Game 2

The Panthers scored 2 runs on 2 errors by the San Diego Heroes in the first, but San Diego bounces back with the long-ball -- Julio Teheran gives up 4 long balls and surrenders 7 runs inside 4 innings. The Heroes put on a 10-5 whooping; Dalton Pompey (Panthers prospect) hits two-run pinch-hit HR in the 9th in his very first at-bat of his BoS career. San Diego's Dioner Navarro went 3-for-4, with 3 RBI & 2 HR's. 

Game 3

After 3 innings of quiet offense by either team, Nelson Cruz breaks the game open a bit with two HRs (both off Henderson Alvarez) in between the 4th & 6th innings to give San Diego a 4-0 lead. 

During the bottom of the 6th, Panthers would load the bases with no outs, but then would fail to score anyone in. The frustrating Alex Cobb came into relief & gave up his 23rd HR of the season (Lucas Duda's 9th HR of the season); Cobb in real life gave up 11 HR in 166+ innings -- For me, he gave up 23 HR's now in only 112 innings! Cobb's ERA sits at 5.54.

San Diego wins. 6-1

Game 4

The Panthers were holding a 3-2 lead until Nelson Cruz struck again, with a two-run off blast off of reliever Tyler Clippard. The Panthers would tie the game with an RBI pinch-hit double by Wilmer Flores, scoring in pinch-runner Adam Rosales, at 4-4 in the 7th. 

With runners on 1st & 2nd, in the bottom of the 9th, Miguel Cabrera delivers a walk-off three-run HR off of reliever Hector Rondon -- Panthers win! Series now tied 2-2; Panthers want to win the last two games & give themselves an extra game over Urbana (Urbana and Portland's series results are in, and both split 3-3).

Game 5

Panthers getting frustrated trying to find answers as Corey Kluber for the second start in a row, fails at reaching his 20th win & has lost his second straight outing (19-4 now). Wade Davis even gets roughed up in a non-save situation, as the team loses 7-2.

Game 6

Adam Wainwright allowed a two-run HR to Edwin Encarnacion, as the Panthers found themselves down, 2-0 after the top of the 4th. Traverse City grinds back, led by Miguel Cabrera's three hits (RBI) & two-run single by Jason Castro. Wade Davis is a bit sloppy, but holds on for his 36th save of the season.

*** By the way, another league note, the Corktown Tamales' rookie Jose Abreu currently leads all three triple crown categories: .312 batting average, 36 HR & 90 RBI with 27 games remaining. ***

Abreu's 2015 BoS Baseball card.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

2007 ALCS (Games 1 & 2)

The Detroit Tigers came back from a 0-2 series deficit to overtake the Los Angeles Angels. Now they will have to face a tougher ballclub in the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox made quick work of the New York Yankees, by sweeping them 3-0 in the ALDS.

Detroit at Boston

The Detroit Tigers will send out young ace Justin Verlander (B-X / 16-8, 3.61 ERA & 208 K's) to face off against Boston's Josh Beckett (B-XZ / 20-7, 3.27 ERA & 194 K's). Both pitchers are coming off shutouts in the Divisional Series.

The Tigers strike first, after a two-out, walk to Magglio Ordonez in the first, Gary Sheffield hits a single to right, advancing Ordonez to third; Sheffield steals second. With runners on second & third, Placido Polanco scores both runners in on a single. Tigers lead 2-0.

J.D. Drew celebrating his home run in the 5th.

Bottom of the 2nd - Kevin Youkilis continues his great post-season with a lead-off double; Mike Lowell would score in Youkilis for Boston's first run, with a single to left. J.D. Drew's double moves Lowell to third base, while Julio Lugo hits a sac fly to tie the game at 2-2. Dustin Pedroia's RBI single, scoring in Drew, gives Boston a 3-2 lead.

Boston adds to their lead, with a RBI double by Youkilis in the 4th, and a solo HR by Drew in the 5th -- giving the Red Sox a 5-2 lead.

The Tigers could only manage 5 hits against Beckett; 3 of those 5 hits from Placido Polanco (all singles). The Tigers threaten in the 9th, with bases loaded & one out -- but Jonathan Papelbon (in a non-save situation) makes sure that the Red Sox walk away with the victory.

Beckett delivers another great outing, going 8.1 innings, allowing only 4 hits and 2 runs, with 7 K's and 3 walks. Verlander, on the other hand, allows 7 hits & 5 runs with 6 walks in only 4.2 innings, with 7 K's.


Boston's 5 thru 7 hitters in the lineup collect 6 of their 10 hits.

Detroit at Boston

The Detroit Tigers go with Nate Robertson for Game 2, saving Jeremy Bonderman for Games 3 & 6, if necessary; Plus Bonderman pitched in recent Game 5 of ALDS. Robertson (C / 12-12, 4.84 ERA & 104 K's) will match up against Japanese import Daisuke Matsuzaka (C-X / 15-12, 4.40 ERA & 201 K's).

The Tigers once again score first, this time in the 2nd Inning on a RBI single by Sean Casey; Carlos Guillen (double) scores from second.

Man on Fire: Youkilis has shown no signs of cooling off anytime soon.

The Red Sox put together another three-spot, this time in the bottom of the 3rd, with a three-run homer by Kevin Youkilis, who already had a double this game. Youklis, is currently batting .571 this post-season (8-for-14, with 5 doubles, HR & 8 RBI) -- he would go hitless in last two at-bats of this game; Great numbers in just four games.

The Tigers down 4-1, threaten in the 9th once again, with RBI double by Ramon Santiago; Boston closer Jonathan Papelbon locks down the save for the Red Sox victory. Another good outing by a Red Sox starting pitcher in Matsuzaka: 6 innings, 5 hits, 1 ER, 5 K & BB.


The Tigers once again find it difficult to score runs, as they have failed to score in 15 of the 18 innings, during these first two games.

Happy Holidays!

I have plenty of posts coming your way, Boys of Summer fans on all my latest APBA projects, plus the latest Major League Baseball news with the recent big signings.

May your family have the best & safest holiday season -- from my family to yours. We may not have snow here, but I am keeping myself warm rollin' 66's.

Happy Holidays!

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Franchise Fantasy Project

Dodgers and Giants will feature two teams each.
Inspired by Doug Schuyler's recent announcement of the 2016 Chicago Summer Fantasy Tournament. I decided to just add one more player to the mix and go with basically 1 position player + 1 pitcher from other eras of that franchise & add them to a different team of that franchise. Some teams went with just 2 pitchers, or 2 position players.

I did try to represent each franchise, but since I only had like 2008, 2010-2015 for seasons, and don't have the GTOP's on BBW, which meant that my best option for the Seattle Mariners was the 2014 squad with two studs, and that overall was still not interesting enough to add to the mix. I did make two different Dodger and Giant squads, their New York incarnations + their California incarnations. I also decided to do two Athletic teams, one from Oakland and the other from Philadelphia.

I do have the BATS2 players for BBW (APBA Baseball for Windows) -- I took my World Series teams and the teams that I own and used the BATS2 and other season disks players to compile the rosters.

Did I do two different Yankee teams?
No, they have had enough success in MLB baseball, that I decided to stick with only one, I could have done a few interesting teams with the Yankees... but their 1998 New York Yankees team, with the addition of Babe Ruth and Ron Guidry enough, will be a headache for most teams.

Also will this be a long project? No

I likely will simulate the remainder, just have not had the urge to do that just yet.

There is 32 teams, and 16 teams in each league. Each team will sport 5-man rotations, and play each team in their league 10 times. Each league has 2 divisions, I tried to geologically place them and keep them in their historic leagues for most part; I do have the Houston Astros in A.L. West though, and I placed both Chicago teams (White Sox and Cubs) in the West divisions of their respective leagues.

I will do division winners, plus the next 6 in each league in a seeding position, much like the NBA does with Division winners being top 2 seeds in their league, regardless of record. 150 total games for each team.

By the way, I do plan to do a cards project, with just one star and practice with my 1987 Detroit Tigers that I will be taking to Chicago in July, they will be sporting the 2007 Magglio Ordonez card in their lineup.

There will be another article, or even a few on that upcoming tournament next year, and the teams & players that will be featured.

Let's see how Day #1 went for all the teams

GAME #1's

Ty Cobb & Denny McLain's 2013 Tigers shutout George Sisler & Mike Mussina's 1969 Orioles. Two-run HR for Jhonny Peralta off of Mike Cuellar; Sisler had 2 hits while Cobb went hitless. McLain with 9 K's held Baltimore to 4 hits.

2013 TIGERS 3, 1969 ORIOLES 0

Ted smacks one in the 9th for Boston.

The 2007 Boston Red Sox with Ted Williams & Cy Young on the mound should be an easy victory over the 2008 Tampa Bay Rays (starring 2012 David Price and closer Fernando Rodney), right

Nope, not as long as you are the Rays and you got Eric Hinske -- Hinske hits 2 two-run HR's to give Rays a 4-3 lead in the bottom of the 5th. It had to be an awkward situation for Hinske who also finds himself on the bench for the 2007 Red Sox -- The Rays' version would get plunked by Cy Young, which would result in a ejection of Young. Maybe Hinske was pissed that he did not start for the Red Sox and wanted to show them he meant business, who knows?

Things got more chippy as Manny Delcarmen got tossed later for hitting another Rays batter in retaliation.

Cy Young was not himself, allowing 6 runs & 6 hits in 6.1 innings, and is recorded with the loss. David Price was sloppy as well, allowing 3 earned runs on 7 hits & 6 walks to the Red Sox.

Ted Williams hit a too late, two-run HR in the top of the ninth to make things interesting; Williams went 2-for-4, with a HR, 3 RBI & walk.

2008 RAYS 7, 2007 RED SOX 5

1998 New York Yankees visit the 1992 Toronto Blue Jays; The Yankees feature Babe Ruth with Ron Guidry, while the Blue Jays feature George Bell and Roy Halladay.

The Yankees trailed 6-3 entering the 6th, when the continued scoring off the long-ball with a two-run HR by Bernie Williams; Scott Brosius (two-run HR) and Tino Martinez hit homers earlier. Bernie continued his wrath with a Grand Slam in the 7th; Williams ended the day with 8 RBI.

The entire lineup got a hit except for Babe Ruth and Jorge Posada; Ruth struck out twice, while drawing two walks.

Guidry was a mess (6 ER in 4.2 innings) while the Yankees bullpen kept the Jays off the boards in the team's comeback.

1998 YANKEES 14, 1992 BLUE JAYS 6

Big day for Bernie: 2 HR & 8 RBI for 1998 Yankees.

Rod Carew, Walter Johnson & the 1991 Minnesota Twins visit Old Commiskey to face the 1917 Chicago White Sox with Frank Thomas and Ed Walsh.

"Big Ed" Walsh was in complete control with a no-hitter in place, two outs into the top of the 7th when Kent Hrbek cut the White Sox's lead in half, to 2-1, with a solo blast to right -- breaking the no-no & shutout.

Randy Bush of all people hits a two-run HR in the top of the 8th for the Twins, to give Minnesota a 3-2 lead over the "Black Sox" -- but Chicago would bounce back with its hit & run magic, scoring 3 runs in the bottom of the 8th.

Ed Walsh pitches a complete-game victory over Walter Johnson.

1917 WHITE SOX 5, 1991 TWINS 3
Catfish was only one out away.

1948 Cleveland Indians (featuring Addie Joss and Albert Belle) against the 1990 Oakland Athletics with Home Run Baker and Catfish Hunter.
Another no-no is broken up, this time with two outs in the top of the ninth! A showdown between the visiting

With two outs, and one runner on due to a error, Hunter intentionally walks Belle to face Joe Gordon instead -- Gordon would hit a single to left-center to score Dale Mitchell. The game suddenly only a 2-1 lead for the Athletics and the go-ahead runs on base for Ken Keltner -- but Keltner would fly out.

Frank "Home Run" Baker went a perfect 3-for-3 with a triple & run, while Jose Canseco added a solo home run for Oakland. Addie Joss (8 innings) allows 5 hits & 2 runs in a tough loss.

1990 ATHLETICS 2, 1948 INDIANS 1

Alex Gordon of the 2014 Kansas City Royals breaks up another late no-no (two outs into 7th) with solo HR off of Dean Chance and the 2002 Anaheim Angels. The Royals feature George Brett and Bret Saberhagen, while the Angels have Chance and Bryan Harvey in the pen.

The Angels early solo HR's in the first by Tim Salmon, and in the second by Garret Anderson was enough for the Angels. The bullpen combination of Bryan Harvey (hold) and Troy Percival (save) closed out the victory for the Angels -- no rally monkey needed.

Both starters in Saberhagen and Chance only allowed each team 4 hits, while both racked up the strikeouts: Saberhagen 11, Chance 10.

2002 ANGELS 2, 2014 ROYALS 1

Young Guns: The Braves add Kid Nichols to the rotation.
Hugh Duffy and Kid Nichols headlining for the 1993 Atlanta Braves, while they go to Shea Stadium to face Tom Seaver, David Wright & the 1986 New York Mets.

The Braves would take a 2-0 lead in the top of the 7th with a solo HR by David Justice off Tom Seaver. David Wright would cut the lead in half with a solo HR of his own off of Kid Nichols in the bottom of the 7th.

The Braves' bullpen in Steve Bedrosian (hold) and Greg McMicheal (save) would finish off the Mets.

1993 BRAVES 2, 1986 METS 1

The 2011 Texas Rangers featuring Ivan Rodriguez and Dick Bosman go to Milwaukee County Stadium to play the 1982 Milwaukee Brewers with Prince Fielder and Teddy Higuera; For this game, the Brewers had Don Sutton on the mound to face Bosman.

Gorman Thomas was the man of the hour, with a three-run HR off of Bosman; It would be the play of the game as the Brewers win 3-1. Rollie Fingers comes in for two-inning save, while Sutton record 9 strikeouts.

1982 BREWERS 3, 2011 RANGERS 1

The 1997 Florida Marlins featuring Miguel Cabrera and Jose Fernandez were hosting the visiting 1993 Philadelphia Phillies with Mike Schmidt and Steve Carlton.

This game would go to extras, thanks to Lenny Dykstra's solo HR off of Kevin Brown during the top of the 8th; Brown would pitch 10 innings, allowing 6 hits, 2 walks and 2 runs with 12 K's. The game was unfortunately put into the Marlins' bullpen's hands which is not a good thing -- The Phillies would score 4 runs in the top of the 11th.

Doug West pitches 4 shutout innings of relief, allowing only 1 hit, while logging 6 K's to collect the win for the Phillies.

Lenny Dykstra went 4-for-6 with 3 RBI for the night, while Bobby Bonilla of the Marlins had a two-run homer.

1993 PHILLIES 6, 1997 MARLINS 2 (11 Inn)

Lenny celebrating the team's win with teammates.

The 1975 Cincinnati Reds with Frank Robinson and Dolf Luque visit the Three Rivers area to face Arky Vaughan, Babe Adams & the 1902 Pittsburgh Pirates.

Tommy Leach of the Bucs collects 3 RBI on two singles, while Jack Chesbro holds on for a complete-game 5-2 victory over the Reds. Frank Robinson scored both of the Reds' runs, while getting a double.

1902 PIRATES 5, 1975 REDS 2

The 1935 Chicago Cubs starring Sammy Sosa and Ernie Banks come to Ebbets Field to play the 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers, who have two aces in Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale.

The Cubs could not get anything going against Sandy Koufax, as he kept them off the boards, in a three-hit shutout against a lineup that not only features Sosa & Banks, but Gabby Hartnett, Chuck Klein and Stan Hack as well. Koufax also had 7 K's.

Bobby Morgan hit a two-run HR in the bottom of the second.

1953 DODGERS 3, 1935 CUBS 0

The 2007 Colorado Rockies feature a upgraded Ubaldo Jimenez & the addition of Carlos Gonzalez to the lineup, while the 1934 St. Louis Cardinals added Bob Gibson to the Dizzy Dean and the rotation, plus Rogers Hornsby's mean bat.

Dizzy Dean got beat on a couple mistake pitches, including a solo HR to Brad Hawpe. Rogers Hornsby, Rip Collins & Joe Medwick went a combined 1-for-11 for the Cardinals; Dean did record 11 strikeouts though.

2007 ROCKIES 3, 1934 CARDINALS 1

The 1931 Philadelphia Athletics + Jason Giambi and Rube Waddell come into Houston to play the 2005 Houston Astros with 1994 Jeff Bagwell and Mike Scott. For this game, it was a match-up between Lefty Grove and Roger Clemens.

Clemens kept the Athletics quiet, even with only 3 K's for a shutout that allowed only 4 hits. Craig Biggio went 2-for-4 with 2 RBI, double & stolen base, while Morgan Ensberg went 2-for-3, including a solo HR off of Grove.

2005 ASTROS 5, 1931 ATHLETICS 0

Mays makes presence known for 1993 Giants.

Willie Mays and Christy Mathewson join the 1993 San Francisco Giants, as they visit the 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks, who add Paul Goldschmidt and Brandon Webb.

Robby Thompson ends up being the star in this one, going 3-for-5, with a HR, double, RBI & 2 runs, as Christy Mathewson pitches into extras to pin down the victory. The Giants took the lead, 3-2 in the top of the 10th off of Barry Bonds' RBI double.

Willie Mays stole 4 bases off of Rod Barajas by the 3rd inning (stealing 2nd & 3rd - twice).

1993 GIANTS 3, 2001 DIAMONDBACKS 2 (10 Inn)

The Ill-fated 1994 Montreal Expos plan for vengeance with the additions of Vladimir Guerrero and Steve Rogers, while they go to sunny California to play Mike Piazza, Dazzy Vance & the 2013 Los Angeles Dodgers.

This game is a see-saw battle that goes into extras, and is capped off with a walk-off HR by Mike Piazza off of reliever Gil Heredia.

Clayton Kershaw logged 10 K's, allowing only 2 ER & 2 walks in 7 innings, while Steve Rogers struck out 12 Dodgers.

2013 DODGERS 3, 1994 EXPOS 2 (10 Inn)

Piazza loving it in Dodger Blue for 2013 team.

The 1998 San Diego Padres with Dave Winfield and Randy Jones, visit the Polo Grounds to play the 1912 New York Giants featuring Mel Ott and Jim McGinnity; Kevin Brown takes the mound for the Padres in this one.

Both lineups combined for only 10 hits, then again most of the series openers have been low offense affairs with the aces all on the mound.

Fred Merkle was the difference, smacking 2 solo homers off of Kevin Brown.

1912 GIANTS 2, 1998 PADRES 1

*** This ends the article and its highlights ***

Monday, November 23, 2015

2007 Detroit Tigers (Final Replay Season Stats)

For my 2007 Detroit Tigers Season Replay, I made what would be MLB history, and in some cases I didn't duplicate the actual historic stats that were set that season.

In real life, Curtis Granderson became the third MLB player ever to record at least 20 doubles, 20 triples, 20 home runs & 20 stolen bases in the same season; I fell short of duplicating this mark, Granderson finished with 18 triples.

Granderson did set a different historic mark along with teammate Magglio Ordonez; They became only the second duo from the same team to record 400+ total bases in the same season. The first was, you named it, Lou Gehrig and Babe Ruth in 1927.

Granderson also became the 16th player in MLB history to collect at least 240 hits in a single-season.

2008 Topps Baseball card of Mags, Polly & Grandy.
My team made more history, I ended up becoming the 4th team to have 3 players with 200+ hits in the same season; Granderson (240), Ordonez (239) and Placido Polanco, with 200 hits. The other three teams were the...
  • 1963 St. Louis Cardinals (Dick Groat, Bill White & Curt Flood)
  • 1982 Milwaukee Brewers (Robin Yount, Paul Molitor & Cecil Cooper)
  • 1991 Texas Rangers (Julio Franco, Rafael Palmeiro & Ruben Sierra)
Granderson and Ordonez each led the team with 54 doubles, not sure if there ever was a case in MLB history, in which two teammates in the same season had 50+ doubles. I tried to find some sort of evidence of this on google and came up with nothing.

I tried to play the Detroit Tigers in the replay true to form, but found myself leaning on players like LF/3B - Ryan Raburn and reliever Bobby Seay more. Raburn would start most games after the All-Star Break, my team hit a horrible slump in July, while our closer Todd Jones blown 7 games. Jones is a grade C (not great for a guy that you want to close games), while Seay was a A-XZ.

Safety Net: Ryan Raburn brought balance to lineup in #2 slot.
Ryan Raburn:

  • Actual 2007: .304 AVG, 4 HR & 27 RBI (.847 OPS) in 138 AB/49 games.
  • Replay 2007: .311 AVG, 15 HR & 53 RBI (.899 OPS) in 328 AB/98 games.
Raburn's OBP were right on mark with each other (Actual: .340 / Replay: .341) while he had a higher doubles and HR rate to produce a .899 OPS in the replay, for awhile he hovered around a .930 OPS. I was lucky enough to avoid running into an injury with Raburn, which would have knocked him out for a long duration.

Bobby Seay:
  • Actual 2007: 3-0, 2.33 ERA, 1 SV, 38 K & 15 BB (46.1 IP / 58 games).
  • Replay 2007: 6-6, 1.77 ERA, 20 SV, 81 K & 35 BB (101.2 IP / 72 games).
Seay was the team's set-up man for me, until Jones started blowing games. He used to pitch a couple innings in some of those games, also because he was my only grade A in the bullpen; Zach Miner (B*) and Tim Brydak (B*-XYW) were my next two dependable relievers and would get plenty of work as well. My bullpen well exceeded the innings of actual 2007, and in replays that's simply going to happen; Miner led the team in Game appearances for relievers with 87.

My ace Justin Verlander for the most part was on par, but would reach 200 K's in this replay for the first time in his career (he would not reach the 200 mark until 2009). More innings than the replay definitely helped -- he was a little more prone to the HR ball and walks in the replay compared to actual 2007.
Ace in the Making: Verlander showed what's to come in replay.

Justin Verlander
  • Actual 2007: 18-6, 3.66 ERA, 183 K & 67 BB (1.230 WHIP) in 201.2 IP / 32 GS.
  • Replay 2007: 16-8, 3.61 ERA, 208 K & 93 BB (1.224 WHIP) in 237 IP / 35 GS.
At the tail-end of the season, I switched to a 4-man rotation, to give my only Grade B starter more opportunities to help my team win.

Jeremy Bonderman would out-pitch his actual 2007 self and APBA card (Grade C-YZ) ...
  • Actual 2007: 11-9, 5.01 ERA, 145 K & 48 BB (1.382 WHIP) in 174.1 IP / 28 GS.
  • Replay 2007: 18-7, 3.52 ERA, 161 K & 83 BB (1.279 WHIP) in 217.1 IP / 35 GS.
Bonderman had a good first half in actual 2007, coming off what was a breakthrough year in 2006, but his second half numbers were down which would be an indication of arm troubles to come for Bonderman in 2008; Bonderman was never the same. 

Bonderman's 202 K's in 2006 led all right-handers in the American League.

I tried to keep to real life as much as I possibly can, Kenny Rogers would suffer arm problems and make only 11 starts for 63 innings in actual 2007; I pitched Rogers only 15 starts (plus 3 relief appearances) for 83 innings.

Chad Durbin would be our #4 starter, and he would out-perform his actual 2007 numbers...
  • Actual 2007: 8-7, 4.72 ERA, 66 K & 49 BB (1.426 WHIP) in 127.2 IP / 19 starts (16 relief).
  • Replay 2007: 15-7, 4.69 ERA, 111 K & 86 BB (1.413 WHIP) in 178.1 IP / 32 starts. 
His strikeout and walk rates were slightly higher in the replay by about 20+ what they should have been, while the ERA and WHIP were close to the actual 2007.


A look at the numbers & differences with the lineup regulars...

Curtis Granderson
  • Actual 2007: .302 AVG, 23 HR, 74 RBI & 26 SB (.913 OPS) w/ 122 runs & 185 hits.
  • Replay 2007: .338 AVG, 26 HR, 84 RBI & 46 SB (.968 OPS) w/ 150 runs & 240 hits.
Granderson played every game in my replay, missed only 4 games in real-life. Everyone knows with replays, that sometimes if lineups combined are performing better than actual life, can result in more opportunities, which in Granderson's case meant bigger stats (especially in runs & hits department).

Granderson's batting average was significantly better in replay.
His HR & RBI numbers are similar indeed, while his batting average & OPS were both higher in the replay. Like I said earlier in this article, I tried to duplicate history on Granderson reaching 20+ in the doubles, triples, HR & steals categories -- which he accomplished in the MLB, but fell short in the triples department.

Here are those comparisons:
  • Actual 2007: 38 doubles, 23 triples, 23 HR & 26 stolen bases.
  • Replay 2007: 54 doubles, 18 triples, 26 HR & 46 stolen bases.
The result of him reaching base more often than actual life, may have helped with more steals, and the fact that I probably rolled a few more 15's (result 11) than usual, while hitting more doubles, than triples. Ivan Rodriguez and Brandon Inge both had down years for me in the replay, which may have resulted in more doubles than triples, due to set-up scenarios for Granderson.

Magglio Ordonez:
  • Actual 2007: .363 AVG, 28 HR & 139 RBI (1.029 OPS) w/ 117 runs & 216 hits.
  • Replay 2007: .377 AVG, 39 HR & 127 RBI (1.113 OPS) w/ 116 runs & 239 hits.
I played him every game (he missed 5 games in real-life), this card is too good to just leave out of the lineup, especially when you have a goal to out-perform the actual success of the team in a replay -- so you want to give your team the best shot to win.

This card ALWAYS performs in all kinds of roles, in either a season replay, or in a dream league of sorts, this card always hits its batting average mark of .363 or higher (and in most cases its higher). Ordonez was batting .397 at the All-Star Break, with 23 HR & 71 RBI; Ordonez cooled off slightly and watched average dip to .360 mark until bouncing back up to finish at .377.

He duplicated his real-life 54 doubles in the replay, while Granderson tied him for team lead in the replay in that category.

By the way, always bat this card in the 3rd slot, and all will be gravy.

Gary Sheffield:
  • Actual 2007: .265 AVG, 25 HR, 75 RBI & 22 SB (.839 OPS) w/ 107 runs & 131 hits.
  • Replay 2007: .273 AVG, 34 HR, 128 RBI & 38 SB (.844 OPS) w/ 106 runs & 168 hits.
Sheffield missed almost 30 games in real-life due a shoulder injury in 2007, for my replay it was tough to keep Sheffield out of the lineup, I did give him two days off early in the season due to slumping though. I luckily never suffered an injury.

This card for quite awhile was out-performing real-life by a long shot, than cooled down to reflect similar real-life numbers; At the break, Gary was batting .296 with 20 HR & 79 RBI with 23 steals. Sheffield would still go on to edge Ordonez in RBI's for team lead (128 to 127), while at one point it appeared he may even challenge the 40/40 club at age 38, he ended up making the 30/30 club instead. He was a perfect 38 for 38 in steals.

His RBI numbers are inflated due to the fact that Ordonez & Granderson had bigger years, plus more playing time from Raburn in the #2 slot. Batting 4th, Gary could eat up a lot of ribbies. Plus, in real life, Jim Leyland had Sheffield batting third, while Ordonez batted clean-up.

Placido Polanco of the 2007 Detroit Tigers would duplicate his 200 hits in replay.

While Granderson, Raburn, Ordonez and Sheffield's numbers were up, the rest of the lineup was considerably down.

Carlos Guillen:
  • Actual 2007: .296 AVG, 21 HR, 102 RBI & 13 SB (.859 OPS) w/ 86 runs & 167 hits.
  • Replay 2007: .231 AVG, 22 HR, 68 RBI & 9 SB (.702 OPS) w/ 75 runs & 135 hits.
Guillen was a head-scratcher, could not get him rolling for the life of me; played much-better in the last month of the season & playoffs. Had a great April in which he batted .330, but followed it up with a lousy May (.147)! His 35 doubles duplicated his real-life total, while his HR's, steals & runs numbers were similar as well -- but had a bad .285 on-base percentage (compared to actual .357).

Guillen started to do better once I moved Polanco to 5th slot, and I bumped Guillen down to the 6th slot of the lineup.

Placido Polanco
  • Actual 2007: .341 AVG, 9 HR & 67 RBI (.846 OPS) w/ 105 runs & 200 hits.
  • Replay 2007: .298 AVG, 12 HR & 96 RBI (.775 OPS) w/ 104 runs & 200 hits.
Polanco actually missed 20 games in 2007 and still managed to reach 200 hits, while in my replay he played every game without getting hurt, and reaching 200 hits due to more opportunities. His batting average was down in the replay, but started to hit much better once I moved him from the #2 slot to the #5 slot of the lineup, got his average up to .310, and fell below .300 with a late slump.

His RBI numbers are quite up, even before the lineup move, probably due to Curtis Granderson alone -- he had 55 RBI at the break. Besides the batting average, OPS & RBI numbers, his numbers were quite on par with real life.

Casey, Inge, Monroe & Pudge in Detroit Stars uniforms.
Sean Casey:
  • Actual 2007: .296 AVG, 4 HR & 54 RBI (.746 OPS) w/ 40 runs & 134 hits.
  • Replay 2007: .253 AVG, 6 HR & 78 RBI (.650 OPS) w/ 40 runs & 137 hits.
Casey, in much the same way as Guillen was frustrating. His batting average and on-base percentage were off by quite a bit; In real life he had a .353 OBP compared to his replay OBP of .291! His runs & hits were the same, then again he had more opportunities, he played seven more games in the replay. His 35 doubles in the replay are similar to his 30 in real life, while he had a couple more HR's as well. 

One thing that definitely duplicated the real deal, he sure loved hitting into double plays.

Brandon Inge
  • Actual 2007: .236 AVG, 14 HR & 71 RBI (.688 OPS) w/ 64 runs & 120 hits.
  • Replay 2007: .190 AVG, 5 HR & 35 RBI (.569 OPS) w/ 47 runs & 81 hits.
If you are true Tiger fan, than you simply love Brandon Inge. The guy had serious glove, and should have won a Gold Glove (possibly two) in his career; He was usually graded a 5 at third, he was grade a 4 for 2007 -- He was better known for his defense than his bat.

From 2006-2007 & 2009, he actual put up good power numbers, hitting 27 HR's in both 2006 & 2009, and was named an American League All-Star in 1999. While batting 8th in 2006, he hit 27 HR's -- you don't see that often.

So it really hurt me as a fan of Inge to watch him struggle like he did in my replay. In real life, he played 151 games (508 AB's) -- My replay, I played him for 135 games (427 AB's)... probably more than I should have even. Ryan Raburn would start taking starts away from Inge in the second half.

Even though his .236 AVG & .312 OBP is nothing to write home about, it was definitely better than that of his replay. Slugging was down considerably as well, he managed to hit more singles than usual, while his HR & RBI numbers were noticeably low.

Thames stepped up game in 2nd half of season.

Marcus Thames:

  • Actual 2007: .242 AVG, 18 HR & 54 RBI (.776 OPS) w/ 37 runs (269 AB).
  • Replay 2007: .230 AVG, 10 HR & 26 RBI (.780 OPS) w/ 22 runs (178 AB). 
In real life, Marcus usually split time with Craig Monroe, and I followed this formula a little bit with both of them for the replay; Monroe would eventually get placed on waivers and picked up by the Chicago Cubs in 2007 (in late August). Around the All-Star break, I found myself never putting Monroe in the lineup, and splitting time in left with Ryan Raburn and Thames. Eventually, Thames started playing much more on his level, but at the break, Thames was only batting .173 with an OPS of .646 OPS & 3 HR at the All-Star break.

Then came August, and Thames played much better. That month, I decided to go to four-man rotation to feature Verlander (my only B starter, more often), played Raburn every day in #2 slot of lineup either in LF or at 3B, and Brandon Inge watched his time dwindle a little more with Thames' late-season emergence. Thames would spark his playing time with his 3 HR performance against the Chicago White Sox, all before the 5th inning of that game.

Thames ended season by hitting .272 after the break (28-for-103 with 7 HR & 16 RBI), he raised his slugging percentage from .387 to .494. 

That completes the 2007 Detroit Tigers' regular season marks, as we prepare for the Detroit Tigers to face off against the Boston Red Sox in the ALCS.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Chicago World Series (November 2015)

Group photo of the Chicago World Series (Winter 2015) attendees, outside at the Grayslake Historical Society.

The Chicago World Series once again took play in its cozy little nest of mid-November (November 14th) this past weekend.

Once again, my friend Doug Schuyler led the charge & once again, with no surprise, everyone had a blast! I love how in each of these tournaments and other tournaments, the host keeps adding new things and mixing it up.
Pastor Rich Z speaking to everyone.

This year, they added a first pitch, a "State of the Game Address" (presented by my friend, Pastor Rich Zawadzki), and a All-Star Game featuring star players from teams featured at the tournament. They also added sheets on the wall, with the tournament division results. In the past, I know there has been home run derbies as well.

I unfortunately could not make the Winter Tournament, and have not made that or any of the Chicago tournaments since Winter 2013. It's great going to these tournaments because we form new friendships through a game that we love, in APBA & in Baseball. I have now missed a few of these, and have watched some of the returnees form stronger relationships, and I can't wait to build more on these friendships as well.

It's one thing chatting on Facebook with one another, but its an amazing experience to really get to meet these wonderful smiling faces in person. Everyone is like a kid in a candy store.. but in this case, more like the closest thing to playing a ball game on the Field of Dreams. We are literally children again, laughing and playing, having fun!

Rich Zawadzki (with Matthew Pike in background) competes against Chris Witt.
These tournaments are... Our field of dreams! And these dreams are possible due to people like Doug, Rich, and the others that have followed in their footsteps to host these tournaments, and also just as important as all of the people that come to compete in these tournaments. It is indeed a magical experience, a natural high -- personally, a life moment that you will always remember.

Matthew and Joel Pike enjoying some dinner at a local restaurant.
It's also a great time to bring family as well. I had the experience of going to the GMABT (Greater Michigan APBA Baseball Tournament in Jackson, MI) with my brother, Christopher. The Pikes have also made these tournaments a family thing in Joel and Matthew Pike (father and son), it is really cool to see that generations are passing this game on down to other generations we need more of this in the APBA community, to watch this game continue to grow.

I know these tournaments are doing the right thing, I just hope as a community we continue to pass the game onto new faces -- I sometimes worry about the state of the company, but certainly not the state of the game, itself. The game & tournaments are doing phenomenal!

By the way, what I love about the picture above, is that you can tell that both father and son are close; I really can't wait to see those guys in person, as well as others in the upcoming tournaments. Also, I can't wait to talk with Joel, I love his creativity on his Presidential APBA Baseball Tournaments, you can check them all out on his blog KYDiceGuy. You really should read his post on the Chicago tournament, as well as Thomas Nelshoppen's piece on The APBA Blog.

Some photos of the tournament...

Host Doug Schuyler speaking to the troops in some wild, White Sox get-up.

The Tournament was won by Gary Lindley and his 1972 Oakland Athletics. I had the privilege of playing against Gary in the Chicago World Series (Winter 2013), which my 1912 New York Giants ended up taking both games from his 1931 Philadelphia Athletics. Gary was wonderful to talk to, plenty of knowledge for the game of baseball and APBA itself. 

He would defeat Bradd Romant's 1977 Los Angeles Dodgers in the championship game, 4-1, with a pair of Reggie Jackson home runs.

Division results being posted on sheets.

The Chicago World Series (Winter 2015) champ - Gary Lindley.

I hope that you enjoyed my piece on the Chicago World Series (Winter 2015) Tournament. If you have not had the privilege to play in these tournaments, you really should go ahead and do it & live it, there is no experience like it in the APBA world. It's one thing to play alone, or even play a local friend, but a tournament's atmosphere is something completely different...

You need to live the experience...

Keep on rolling 66's everyone!

Thursday, November 19, 2015

2007 ALDS (Game 5)

The Detroit Tigers rally to force a Game 5 at Anaheim.
The 2007 Detroit Tigers have tied the series, 2-2, coming off a three-hit shutout from their young ace Justin Verlander. Now the Tigers have traveled back to Anaheim to face the Los Angeles Angels, in a Game 5, losers go home battle.

Detroit at Los Angeles (A)

The Tigers send Jeremy Bonderman (C-YZ / 18-7, 3.52 ERA & 161 K's) to face off against Kelvim Escobar (B-Y / 18-7, 3.40 ERA & 160 K's) of the Angels.

Both pitchers kept the lineups quiet for the most part in five inning. During the top of the 4th, Escobar was sloppy by walking three batters and hitting a batter with a pitch -- but managed to get out of the inning unscathed; The Tigers' Ryan Raburn started that inning by drawing a walk, but Magglio Ordonez than hit into a double play, then Escobar loaded the bases by walking Gary Sheffield, hitting Placido Polanco with a pitch, and then walking Carlos Guillen -- Sean Casey though popped up for final out of the inning.

I remember thinking at that time, this better not come back to bite us in the ass.

Despite the four walks, Escobar only allowed one hit through first 5 innings -- which was a double by Curtis Granderson to lead off the game. Bonderman only allowed two hits & two walks the first 5 innings.

The lack of scoring stopped during the top of the 6th, when Magglio Ordonez led off the inning with a solo home run to right. The Angels would stop their 17.2 inning scoring drought with an RBI single by Garret Anderson in the bottom of the 6th -- scoring in Orlando Cabrera (double) from second.

The bullpens would take over, and keep both teams off the boards for the next four innings as the game went into extras.

Top of the 11th, two outs, and the bases empty - Marcus Thames launches a blast to right, to take the lead, 2-1. The Tigers' Bobby Seay, already in the game, makes sure that the Tigers walk away with the win & the series, in a 1.2 innings non-save situation.

The Cardiac Cats, once again had their backs against the walls, down 2-0 in the series, the Tigers come through and rally to win the series.

Maicer Izturis was actually quiet in this game for the Angels, by the way... He had an excellent series, in which he batted 9-for-19 (.474 AVG) with 2 HR (one was a grand slam) with 6 RBI. The Angels' offense for the last two games collected only 10 hits & one run.

Thames and the Tigers battle on for another day -- Next up, the Red Sox.

Monday, November 16, 2015

2nd Annual GMABT - Sign up for this March!

35 of 40 slots have been filled for the

TIME: 9:00 AM
COST: $15.00
Just remember NO World Series Winners allowed.
First come, first serve on years and teams, only one of each. If you know someone who is interested, contact them, and shoot Rich Zawadzki a message on Facebook or contact his post for the tournament on the APBA Facebook Group.

Young Guns: The 1993 Atlanta Braves take aim at the 2016 GMABT.
The Tournament is a lot of fun, last year I watched my youngest brother Chris Baier go to the championship game with the 2006 Detroit Tigers, to watch them lose to the eventual champion - 1937 New York Yankees, managed during the tournament by John Roels.

This March, I will be taking the 1993 Atlanta Braves.

BY THE WAY, I will have a article about the recent fun that APBA rollers had in Chicago this past weekend, wish that I was there, as always it looked like a blast!

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