Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Neil Ess Memorial Twin Cities - Just Around Corner!


The Neil Ess Memorial Twin Cities Area APBA Tournament takes place on October 3rd (Saturday) and they have their biggest gathering yet! 26 competitors will be rolling for 66's! The event is being hosted by Jim Fraasch. There are plenty of recognizable names that have traveled to some of the other big APBA tournaments, including Craig Christian, Bill Lilley & Eric Berg; Plus one of my other friends will get his tourney debut this weekend in Beau Lofgren -- You will have so much fun my man!

Plenty of good teams in the tournament, sometimes I like to make a prediction, but it's hard to decide... two questions, and hopefully someone can help me out here

1) Has Bill Lilley been to all of the major tournaments this year? I know he was in Jackson & Toledo, I want to say he was in Chicago, was he in Pittsburgh as well? If so, we need to nickname him "The Traveling Man" or something...

and...

2) Is that the George Adams, that makes home-made APBA Stadiums, managing the 1977 Los Angeles Dodgers?

Anyways, it should be the best one yet for Minnesota

The Tournament bracket looks like this....


Tuesday, September 29, 2015

To the Finish Line


There is so much going on in Major League Baseball... to not make a post about the latest would be a shame, it's been an interesting season (as always) to say the least.

MR. PAPELBON LOSES IT IN WASHINGTON

Before the season began most predictors, including most major sports magazines had the Washington Nationals winning the 2015 World Series, if not at least going to the fall classic; the latest incident that involved the dugout scuffle between Jonathan Papelbon and Bryce Harper just shows how much of an opposite direction that the Washington Nats' season has gone.

Bryce had a huge breakout year, the star has finally blossomed into his capabilities.. blasting 41 HR & 96 RBI (1.125 OPS) while batting .336 & drawing 123 walks as of the time I started this post. Meanwhile, Ian Desmond, Wilson Ramos, Michael Taylor, and Danny Espinosa had sub-par seasons in which those four, all batting .240 or lower, with an OPS .719 or lower. Ryan Zimmerman can't stay on the field & has had better seasons (16 HR & .773 OPS), while Jayson Werth has also had health issues, but no one seemed to notice he was even there... when he was healthy; Werth batted .223 and had a low .313 on-base percentage (considering his career OBP is .366).

I had Anthony Rendon for my fantasy baseball team, so no need to repeat the frustrating, injurious season of his to National fans. What could go wrong, all went wrong in the Capital. I also had Scherzer and Gio as well on my team.

The rotation was being called the best in baseball entering the season, it definitely didn't live up to the billing. Max Scherzer, overall, had a good season, but it really was the tale of two halves... Superb in first half, shaky second. Stephen Strasburg pitched much better in second half, after a 5.16 ERA in first half. Gio Gonzalez was wildly inconsistent all season. Doug Fister was hurt most of the time, and has not looked like the pitcher that the Detroit Tigers have witnessed from 2011-2013.

Now onto the Papelbon/Harper scuffle -- Overall, I am not surprised at Papelbon acting like the hot-head punk that he is. He's only been on the team for two months, who is he to call out Bryce for not running out a pop-up? How often have we seen him blow some leads while trying to close out the game?

Which by the way, I am so tired of these closers or former closer-types that at one time was as good as closers could get -- but have long lost their skill at doing so... I have this bad feeling if Joe Nathan did not get hurt, that the Tigers would have been still sending Nathan out in the 9th, even if it meant him having a 6.00+ ERA! These closers are not royalty, heck! They are not even quarterbacks, so why do they keep getting that quarterback treatment?! Even though they lost their luster seasons ago. I honestly think baseball should go more with the closer by committee approach,  Go with who's been hot, we live in a "What have you done for me, lately?" world -- Why should Baseball be any different? If they really don't have that legit guy, than go with best guy for that situation, there is only 3, maybe.. maybe 5 legit guys in all of baseball.



Okay, I got a tad off subject there, back to Jonathan -- This is a guy when he closed out games, or even if it was just a out, made more facial expressions & done more muscle flexes than half of the WWF (or WWE) Wrestlers.... combined! I have seen him go all Ultimate Warrior over fly balls -- seriously, this guy is a complete jack-ass!

Overall, I don't see anything wrong with what Bryce did (I think the only people that had a huge beef with him not running it out -- are just simply not fans of the guy). If I was the owner, I would have a beef with my washed up closer slamming my multi-million MVP franchise player up against a cement wall in the dugout.

Oh.. and I have a beef with their joke of a manager in Matt Williams. The manager once benched Bryce Harper for fundamental reasons ("playing the game right") when this former player cheated the game with steroid use. Also this joke of a manager, Williams, was apparently oblivious to what was going on in his own dugout (didn't see the fight) and sent Papelbon out another inning -- Say what?! Yeah, exactly! Say goodbye to your job, Matty -- you should have lost it after your poor managing in last season's post-season was put on full display [Think Zimmermann taken out against Giants].

What the Nats need to do is not only suspend Papelbon for the remainder of the season (which they did), but they need to make sure that both Williams & Papelbon don't return next season. Trade Paps & fire Matty -- simple as that, and hope that the players come back fired up to put 2015 behind them.

By the way, believe it or not, I was actually taking it easy on Papelbon.

To add further insult with Washington's woes, the New York Mets and Chicago Cubs will be moving on to the post-season -- Two teams that were on the playoff edges for some people's preseason picks at best, many still thought both franchises were a season away...

which goes to show, what do we know?

JAYS IN RARE COMPANY

My brother Chris brought this to my attention -- Although, we all know they have one heck of an offensive lineup....

What I did not know was that their run differential is so damn good, that it is the best run differential between the league's #1 offense & #2 offense -- biggest since, get this, the 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers!

According to New York Post: 
The last team to outscore the majors by 100-plus runs was the 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers, who had a margin of 154 runs with Roy Campanella, Gil Hodges and Duke Snider each driving in at least 120. (An aside: That was Vin Scully’s fourth year doing Dodgers games – what a blessing for the sport he has decided to come back for his 67th year in 2016.)



I read a couple more stats that were fascinating, from the Blue Jays Baseball Blog that mentioned the Jays have had a 2.83 ERA since David Price joined rotation and LaTroy Hawkins and Mark Lowe joined the team's bullpen; The team had a 4.18 ERA at the All-Star Break. In August, the team also matched the winning pct of .778 matched the 1938 New York Yankees, by going 21-6! Those 1938 Yankees still own the record of 28 wins in a single month, out of 36 games.

LAST, but CERTAINLY NOT LEAST


We are saddened by the passing of an American hero in Yogi Berra. Berra, not only was a hero to Major League Baseball, but also was a war hero, played a significant role during D-Day, as he was a member of a six-man rocket boat, firing machine guns while storming the beaches, he was fired upon, but not hit.

A few of his great career numbers, involves being selected 18 times for the All-Star Game. He also has 10 World Championship Rings as a player, and was in 14 World Series in 19 years; in which he also owns the record of 71 career World Series hits!

The card to the left is a custom-made card by this wonderful site, you should check it out (with other cards) at Cards that Never Were

We'll miss you, Yogi.

Monday, September 28, 2015

1904 World Series (Game 1)

There was a lot of buzz that the New York Giants' Manager John McGraw and team owner John T. Brush wanted no part of this World Series, but something must have changed their minds, because the Boston Americans' Cy Young and Giants' Jim McGinnity are warming up -- with the fans all trickling into the Polo Grounds.

The American League has won two of the three previous World Series, the Boston Americans are the defending World Champions, after defeating the 1903 Pittsburgh Pirates in a seven-game epic series, which witnessed Boston's Cy Young to win a record 4 games (he also lost one game, while winning a game in relief).

The New York Giants are the first N.L. Champion, not named the Pittsburgh Pirates to represent the National League in what is being dubbed "The Fall Classic".

GAME 1 (at New York (N) - Polo Grounds)
Cy Young still making history.

This game goes as advertised & predicted, a pitcher's duel is set in motion between Cy Young and Jim McGinnity.

Cy Young was pitching a no-hitter into the 5th inning, when Sam Mertes broke it up with a single to right. This game would go to extras, and have a couple long balls that would fall short, Roger Bresnahan smacked one deep to right during the bottom of the 9th, but it was taken at the wall by Boston's Buck Freeman.

Top of the 10th, Lou Criger gets caught napping at the plate, a called third strike, which he did not like, while walking back to the dugout, he shouted something at the plate umpire & was ejected. Following the K of Criger, pitcher Cy Young takes matters in his hand at the plate, and hits a ball to left, the left fielder Sam Mertes tries to make a sliding catch, but misses the catch, as the ball bounces to the wall, Young will make it all the way to third; Ruled a triple for Young. Al Selbach would hit a single over the second baseman Billy Gilbert's head, as Young scores easily. Selbach steals second, while Jimmy Collins is at the plate; Collins grounds out, advancing Selbach to third. Chick Stahl hits a RBI triple, to score in Selbach. McGinnity eventually gets out of trouble, but he & his Giants are down, 2-0.

Bottom of the 10th, Sam Mertes beats out a infield grounder to second. Runner is in motion, Bill Dahlen shows great bat control, and executes the hit & run perfectly. Runners on the corner, Billy Gilbert hits a grounder to the pitcher's mound, Cy Young is up with it, throws to first, out number one, while Dahlen moves to second, Mertes holds at third.

McGraw put the game in his hands, literally.

With weak-hitting right-handed John Warner coming to the plate, Manager John McGraw (a lefty) decides to pinch-hit himself over strong right-handed hitter Jack Dunn; McGraw wants to counter the righty Cy. McGraw sends a pretty deep fly to center, which is caught by Boston's Chick Stahl -- The Giants tag up, Mertes is coming home, the throw, the collision at the plate and he's OUT! Double Play to end the game, did McGraw's ego get the best of him?

What a start to the series, they'll be talking about this one for some time, it may be the spark that Boston was seeking against the favored New York Giants. Cy Young has now won 5 career World Series game in its brief history.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

2014 BoS Award Winners

American League


The A.L. Most Valuable Player Award goes to Paul Goldschmidt; Goldschmidt batted .271, 40 HR & 114 RBI with .897 OPS; Along with Madison Bumgarner, helped the Fairgrove Tigers become 2014 BoS World Champions.


Bumgarner was the unanimous choice for the A.L. Cy Young Award, going 20-6, 2.16 ERA with 208 K's in 221 Innings. The Tigers' ace was also a killer in the League Championship Series, going 2-0 with a 0.56 ERA -- including 18 K's (while only allowing 8 hits) in 16 innings of work.


Hyun-Jin Ryu wins the A.L. Rookie of the Year Award; He put together a 16-7 record, that included 7 complete games & a save -- posting a 2.58 ERA with 169 K's in 223.2 innings. Ryu also earned one Cy Young vote. 


Koji Uehara earns the A.L. Fireman of the Year Award (presented to the best A.L. Relief Pitchers). Uehara was nearly untouchable with 0.80 ERA & 5-0 record in relief -- he recorded an American League leading 31 Saves, with 72 K's in 56 innings; He also earned 3 votes on the A.L. Cy Young ballot.


Robert Mosher led his Fairgrove Tigers to their first BoS World Championship, by defeating the Portland Microbrewers in the BoS World Series, 4-2. Fairgrove posted a 107-55 record, while winning their division by an impressive 35 games. Mosher also had two stars in Goldschmidt & Bumgarner walking away with awards as well, while he had other stars that played a major part in their championship run in Adam JonesC.J. WilsonMat LatosJed LowrieJoe Nathan (Fireman Runner-Up) & rookie Jarred Cosart. Jones set the second-half tone for the Tigers by winning the 2014 BoS All-Star Game MVP Award.


National League


The Portland MicrobrewersMike Trout edged San Diego's Chris Davis for the National League's Most Valuable Player Award. Trout put together an excellent, all-around season, batting .309 with 29 HR & 89 RBI; Trout also stole 19 bases while sporting a .963 OPS.

Davis, meanwhile set the single-season BoS record for most home runs with 56.


Bartolo Colon wins the N.L. Cy Young Award, defeating Hannibal's Jon Lester by 8 votes. Colon was consistent & strong, completing 8 games, while on his way to a 17-7 season campaign with a low 2.07 ERA. He may not have been blazing fastballs for K's (127), but he kept batters off the bases -- allowing only 139 hits & 42 walks, with a 0.818 WHIP!

Lester overachieved with his APBA Grade 11-Y (19-7, 2.20 ERA & 189 K's) compared to his real-life stats of 15-8 & 3.75 ERA. 


The #1 overall pick in the 2014 BoS Annual Draft - Yasiel Puig would win the N.L. Rookie of the Year Award for the Traverse City Panthers. Puig's presence with the emergence of Matt CarpenterJosh DonaldsonBrandon Belt and their pitching staff transformed the Panthers from league laughing stock to falling a game short of reaching the World Series this past season.

Puig batted .275 with 14 home runs & 45 RBI, plus 7 stolen bases in 295 AB's (86 games). He was the other unanimous 2014 BoS award winner (other than Bumgarner) this season. Fellow Panther, Dan Otero led the Panthers in Saves with 22 Saves (while sporting a 1.28 ERA).


Greg Holland felt comfortable in Holland (yeah.. I know) leading the Holland Hitchhikers with 34 Saves (2nd in N.L.) -- with a microscopic ERA of 0.48! Kenley Jansen was runner-up & led the league with 36 Saves for the San Diego Heroes.


Just as Mosher & Fairgrove was to the American League -- so was Brad Stark and his Portland Microbrewers to the National League; Both teams met up in the World Series & their success is reflected in the major awards this season as well. Stark's "Brew Crew" fell short of the BoS single-season record for wins (while setting a N.L. record) with 108 victories -- but have the bragging rights as the National League's only league champions to date, going back-to-back...

while still seeking that BoS World Championship.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Holy Toledo! Tourney Finishes with a Bang!


The Toledo Glass City APBA Baseball Tournament was a huge success. Many familiar faces & friends turned out in Toledo, that I have had the privilege of meeting in person -- The Schulz boys (Ken & Darren), Richard Butler, Randy Egan, Bill Lilley and Pat McGregor; Plus I played against both Steve Steinhardt & Ron Emch in the GMABT.

The tournament was located at the Maumee-Bowling Green Elks Lodge just outside of Toledo, Ohio in Maumee, Ohio.

It was at the GMABT (Greater Michigan APBA Baseball Tournament), that I had the pleasure to meet Ron, in which was the start of our friendship -- he's a good guy, who has had some other tournament experiences, so I was not a bit surprised that the turnout & tournament proved to be successful, under his lead. The surprise factor would come out at the end of the tournament, a tournament ending with a bang (we'll get to that in a bit) -- everyone dreams of such an ending!

Here is some pics from the tournament...











It was good to see young & older playing the great game of APBA Baseball. I can't imagine life without APBA, it has been a game that I feel blessed to have in my life. The game was passed down from my father, on to us boys, he was in a league of 20+ members of a face-to-face dice league, back in the 1970's & 1980's. I would receive my first actual APBA Baseball set in 1992 for my 16th birthday (The 1991 Season), and would start a dice league in high school among 5 of us, two teams each.

These tournaments such as in Toledo, Jackson, Chicago, Pittsburgh & Minnesota are amazing, and I'm so glad to see each of them succeed. My goal & goals from other bloggers, is to spread the word of this great game, and spread the joy about these tournaments. These tournaments are fun, competitive, but most importantly about meeting new friends of all ages.

That's what I truly love about it.

Ron Emch (Right) presenting the championship trophy to Randy Egan.
Randy Egan would walk away with the championship, with a walk-off two-run homer by Duke Snider of the 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers over the 2013 Los Angeles Dodgers (Two Dodger teams separated by 60 years), I would love to see that game live in APBA and on the ball field.

I know there is a video out there on the tournament action provided by Ron, I will supply it once I get hold of it. Also I thought it was a really nice touch to tie into the event, to see the Toledo Mudhens (Detroit's Triple-A team) live for those who want to continue bonding & catching a good game of baseball as well.


I like the ideas and what each tournament director learns from another, which only means these tournaments will become more creative & fun for the participants.

All very exciting -- Way to go Ron, on a successful tourney!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

1904 World Series Replay - Preview

McGraw & Mathewson of the N.Y. Giants.
For those that may not know, I own all the BBW World Series teams and have done World Series Replays of the 1901-1903 seasons. Of course there was no World Series in 1901 & 1902; The first World Series came into existence in 1903.

The World Series would disappear once again in 1904, when the New York Giants (The N.L. Champions) refused to play the Boston Americans of the American League. John McGraw refused to have his team play a team he felt was inferior, while his owner John T. Brush backed him by saying his team had no obligation to play a post-season series against "a victorious club in a minor league."

Brush & McGraw didn't truly believe the American League to be a minor league, but they had plenty of reasons to not like the team from the Junior Circuit. Brush was not happy with the fact that Ban Johnson placed a rival New York team, only minutes away from the Polo Grounds, feeling it was an attempt to drive business away from the Giants. While McGraw bolted Baltimore of the American League, when promised riches never materialized there.

So even though the real World Series never happened in 1904 -- It doesn't mean in the wonderful world of APBA Baseball that it can't. Just imagine Cy Young against Christy Mathewson? What a showdown that would be, or do I go with Jim McGinnity to start Game 1 against Cy? McGinnity had his best year in 1905, a monster season in which he went 35-8, with a 1.61 ERA, 38 Complete Games & 5 Saves; 144 K's in 408 innings (McGinnity had a WHIP of .963).

What Mathewson did, is certainly nothing to sneeze at -- 33-12, 2.03 ERA & 212 K's in 367.2 innings (33 Complete Games). There was probably never a better 1-2 punch than Mathewson & McGinnity for one single-season than what they accomplished in 1904.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

From a Normal Saturday to One Long Weekend

I was going to do a post on a Saturday night series between the 1971 San Francisco Giants and the 1942 St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals took the first two games, the previous night; The last two games were in St. Louis, I was going to squeeze them during my break that night at work. I was good on my work projects, got there early, and was blasting through my work.

This blog piece was going to be about how sometimes we have series that we wish we could somehow skip, many APBA rollers know this with season replays & APBA projects of their own. This was going to be how even the dullest series could propel excitement. The Giants entered the last two games, losers of 6 of their last 7 games, while the Cards are winners 4 of their last 5 games; The Giants are 8-18, while St. Louis 14-12.

I was also going to mention that my friend Ron Emch hosted the first Toledo Glass City APBA Baseball Tournament as well (I still will in the next week or so)...

Like I said, this was supposed to be a blog piece about an APBA series & the tournament that took place on Saturday -- when reality smacked me in the face at 2:15 am (Sunday morning, August 30th at work); I work overnights as a maintenance guy from 10:30 pm to 6:30 am. It was my father, I happened to call my mom earlier Saturday evening to wish her a happy birthday, so I figured my dad was calling to tell me about the Foo Fighters concert that they went to earlier in the week at DTE Energy (Pine Knob) in Clarkston, Michigan.

No...

He was calling from the back of an ambulance on route to the hospital, my mom complained of chest pains & not feeling good -- so he called an ambulance.

See, earlier in the evening around 7 pm (Saturday, August 29th), I called my mom to wish her a happy birthday, and from the get-go I could tell she sounded sluggish, asked her if she did anything exciting on her birthday; Nope -- My dad and my brother Jared both had nasty colds, and were under the weather, which also canceled my idea of celebrating her birthday on Sunday with a visit from me & my wife, Becky.

During the conversation, she started mentioning that she was having arm problems (angina) for weeks, most of her arteries in both arms, and the nerves & arteries that connect with the collar bone area have apparently been clogged. She went on to tell me that she has most of her episodes before bed, or right after waking up from sleep, I remember during the conversation, I started to cling to every sound of her voice, every annunciation of her words -- a eerie feeling.

For weeks, I was trying to get out to the house (my parents live 22-30 minutes away, depending), but not far from us. Sadly, the last time I saw her in person before this phone message was Father's Day, and after a dear friend of mine (a former coworkers pasted unexpectedly in first week of July), I was going to stop by the house on the way back from the memorial -- wish that I did. My friend's memorial really rocked me and other friends, and really put things into perspective, especially during a time of my life, where my 20th high school reunion just happened and the fact that I'm inching closer and closer to age 40 (I'll be 39 in October). We are not immortal, and nor did I believe that I had superpowers to defeat death.

My friend's death gave me and my wife Becky, a bad vibe, that someone close would be fighting for their life -- we have overall been blessed for a few years with both families on most part not suffering any losses, while many friends around us have been losing their parents. Becky and I got together, started dating shortly after her mother was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer -- that June (2006) we fell in love... she likes to say, it was the best & worst month of her life; Best part was our romance, the worst part: her mom's illness. Her mom was diagnosed in early May to have 4-12 months to live, she passed away, just a couple months later, at the beginning of July.

Now everything is starting to come full circle where Becky is now taking care of my heartbreak, watching my mother in a hospital bed, unable to have a conversation, with tubes in her. She had a massive heart attack (apparently still going through the process of one, as they have been stabilizing her body). The doctor that saved her through the early procedure, was the same doctor that saved my mom's life in 2002 -- that heart attack at that time, although a major one that could have killed her, paled in comparison with the one she is suffering now -- her body has also took much more abuse through the years, since 2002.

You see, the last few years, my mom's health woes took a backseat to my dad dealing with a serious diabetic condition that at one time, he was losing serious weight at a rapid pace & couldn't even stand up then, at 54 years of age. Meanwhile, my mom kept her smoking habit, the same smoking habit that she was supposed to quit after the first heart attack.

She is so tough, and I feel maybe because of that, we took it for granted; In fact, she took it for granted. Talking with my brother Jared, we could relate with our bad teeth & gums, and dealing with blood infections, you actually get accustomed to the pain, sad to say. We believe that she's been in pain for so long, that she may not have known the danger she was already in, or that she was having a heart attack. The doctor said that the heart attack may have easily started in the week. Talking with Jared, he said she was doing bad all week, my dad insisted that she should go, finally she woke him up at 1:45 am that Sunday morning to call an ambulance. I'm convinced that if she waited any longer & from what the doctor already mentioned, if she waited, we wouldn't even be in the position to be praying for her right now -- we would instead most likely be making arrangements.

The doctor came out around 6:30 am, and told us that she survived the procedure. He went on to explain that he basically had to drill a wire through such-hard calcium build-up in a major artery / passage way of her heart & compared it to drilling through concrete; Through that artery he managed to get just enough opening for her. My dad asked him, "Is this the same artery from 2002"?; The doctor replied "Nope". This artery, this time, was the most critical artery, down the front of the heart -- and that the third artery or passage way was apparently 100% clogged (from what I'm understanding). I think I was more in shock, Jared is balling & my father is starting to shake now -- I did most of my crying at the restaurant, finishing my job as soon as I can, because I had a bad feeling the whole time.

I was a bit surprised that the doctor went on to tell us that she has a 60-70% chance of pulling out of this, due to the feeling I was getting from it (which Jared would later tell me his feeling as well) that it feels more 50/50, we are trying to be optimistic & strong and my mom fortunately had a great doctor worked on her. My dad still in denial or shock, asked the doctor if he mean't the next heart attack, and the doctor replied "No, this one... if she has another, that is it." My dad started shaking again, the doctor looked right at me, and said "Do any of you boys, smoke?" I told him I have not smoked cigarettes for almost 13 years -- he looked right at my brother Jared, "You?" -- My brother replied yes, and the doctor said throw those things out, because he was heading the same route as my mom.

I think the discussion was a huge wake-up for everyone, we then had to try and contact my younger brother Chris (who some of you in the APBA world know) and contact my sister Sara, who happened to be on a weekend mountain getaway with girlfriends in Vermont, and happens to be living in Boston. My wife around 7:30 got hold of Chris, I talked to him, you can tell there was a case of shock on the other end -- Nothing harder than telling the baby of the family that his mom was in serious condition. Due to the elevation & reception, my sister would not find out until a little after 2 p.m.

We did get some optimistic, positive news, or what we are taking as positive news. They did a test to check the condition of the heart, they told us -- don't be surprised if the numbers are low at 15-20% operation of the heart, the test came back at 35% operation of the heart, my dad definitely took that as a plus. At the same time, her heart has been through so much, that the nurse said imagine having a huge bruise on your upper leg, it's going to take time to heal -- that's major artery is really bruised right now, which hopefully my mom gets stabilized and doesn't have any issues -- any problems would be pretty chaotic.

They are speaking that she will at least be there a good solid week, and that if everything goes right in her hospital stay, that she is still going to be even weaker than what she was brought in as. After a little sleep at home, the wife and I visited, and for some reason I was thinking that my mom might be alert, and nope she was still in a deep sleep, resting. We talked words of encouragement for my mom, and told her we loved her and told her that's she tough, and that she will battle through this. We know she can hear us, she would once in awhile move a bit, the doctors said it was normal, and that if she moved too much, that they would probably give her more morphine to make sure she stays steady -- her heart is tender.

A WEEK LATER...

Earlier that week, Monday evening, a good 30-35 hours after being rushed to the hospital -- She was alert, even though she was doped up on Morphine. She was a bit comical on the stuff, when I mentioned all the love, prayers and support on Facebook, she wondered how she would be able to thank everyone, so I joked that she would have to get a Facebook account. When my sister was combing my mom's hair (which is long by the way, goes down the length of her back down to her waist), my sister twisted into a braid, my sister joked that she was Snow White, which my mom extended her arm and pointed as us, saying that we were all dwarves.

The next night after there was significant change for the better, she was a bit more coherent and was able to have full-on conversations. The doctors mentioned that it was really impressive to see her go from life support to making trips to the bathroom in less than 24 hours. She was out for 30 hours after being brought there -- so Tuesday was a significant day for her and all of us. It really has been a miracle to watch it all transpire.

Throughout the week we would visit, she had a chance to go home as early as Thursday (just 4 days after knocking on death's door) -- but would have some set-backs, Tuesday they dis find out that she had pneumonia (due to the tubes) and then after I visited her Thursday morning her angio ultrasound showed that she had blood clots around the southern front of her heart where she had the work done, which apparently isn't unusual, so a few more days for her at that point.

FINALLY...

She was released on September 7th, Monday after coming to Munson Medical Center in Traverse City in the early hours of Sunday, August 29th. The fact that she walked away from this recent storm is a bit mind-blowing when you consider the condition she was in that Sunday morning -- I shouldn't be surprised at the power of God, if anything it reawakened me about the power of God & prayers, and that a miracle definitely has happened, watching my mother fight back with God by her side and now being able to be at home.

We are blessed, I now need to find a way to balance more God in my life, with the same appreciation for APBA. It's a shame that I have been undervaluing his part in our lives, and need to show it more. APBA is just a game, it's not life, it's a fun hobby... Family is life, God is what makes all of this possible for us.

We are simply blessed.


Friday, September 4, 2015

Crazy 48's Latest Standings

The latest standings for my Crazy 48's...


STARS LEAGUE

The 1935 Pittsburgh Crawfords have the best overall record along with the 1912 Boston Red Sox at 21-7 (.750 winning percentage); The Crawfords for most part has had best record the majority of the time. They struggled a bit after Josh Gibson was on DL, and since I decided to scale down the season from 162 games down to 48 games, his DL stint was divided down -- now he's back, which means the Crawfords will be tougher to beat. At one point in the season, they were 16-1... so yes, they have struggled of late, but just ended up winning their series against a tough 2001 Seattle Mariners team, 3-1.

The 1935 Pittsburgh Crawfords.
All of the Yankees teams are starting to really come around after sluggish starts to the season, the 1927 New York Yankees have climbed to 3rd Place in the Ruth Division, and now trail the Crawfords by 5 games at 16-12; It's the run differential that shows the 1927 Yankees, will be a force until the end with their +52. Only two other teams (of the entire 48 teams) than the 27' Yanks have at least a run differential of +50, and they are the suddenly red-hot 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers (+56 & winners of seven straight) and the 1917 Chicago White Sox (+53). The 1912 New York Giants have slowed down a bit, and are tied with the Yankees in third.

The 1937 New York Yankees lead the Musial Division, but that's not saying much since no one appears to really want it; The Yankees are 15-11 (a league worst among first place team records), with two games remaining in their series against the push-over 1962 Los Angeles Dodgers (7-19, worst record in entire league with .269 winning pct.). The Yankees are one game up on the 1942 St. Louis Cardinals -- while the remaining teams in the division sit tied at 11-17; New York is also the only team in division with a + run differential (+11). 

After sluggish starts, Gehrig has 27' & 37' teams headed in right direction.
One last note on the Musial Division at the moment, only the Yankees are qualifying for the playoffs -- once again though, they only hold a one-game lead over St. Louis. All Division winners, and the next best four team records in each league qualify for playoffs. The Ruth Division currently has four playoff teams in the 1935 Pittsburgh Crawfords, 1929 Chicago Cubs, 1927 New York Yankees and 1912 New York Giants; With the last five series (of 4 games each, total of 20) being against division rivals, along with the 1934 St. Louis Cardinals & last place 1931 Philadelphia Athletics -- these teams will beat up on each other, and open up wildcard races for the rest of the league. 

The 1975 Cincinnati Reds are the only winning team in the Clemente Division, they own a 17-11 record (+35 run differential). The 1969 Baltimore Orioles (13-15) have played better of late, and are currently enjoying a three-game winning streak. The 1971 Pittsburgh Pirates (13-15) have playoff potential, but may find themselves out on their butts at season's end. 

The 1968 Detroit Tigers have been a major disappointment at 11-17 (-41 run differential). The Tigers' Dick McAuliffe has been non-human this season, batting .320 with 5 HR, plus a.417 OBP (1.038 OPS); Compared to .249 BA, .344 OBP & .755 OPS in real-life 1968. Denny McLain (3-1, 1.86 ERA & 46 K's through 53.1 IP) is pitching great as expected, but the remaining starters have high ERA's -- while the bullpen has been great as of late, they blown plenty of games early in the season that reflect the current record.

2001 M's: Great lineup, steady rotation, lights out bullpen.
The Bobby Cox Division may have 5 of their 6 teams with winning records, it's the 2001 Seattle Mariners and 1998 Atlanta Braves that are proving to be serious contenders. The Mariners (19-9) entered their series against the Pittsburgh Crawfords at 18-6, but lost the series 3-1; The M's bullpen at one point didn't allow a single run in 27.1 innings, while Bret Boone (.302, 8 HR & 21 RBI) is their best all around player. The Braves, as expected, are led by their big rotation of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz & Denny Neagle; It's their lineup that has not done well, with the team batting only .215 -- yet Walt Weiss, despite injuries, has been batting out of his mind, batting .400 (with 1.031 OPS) in 35 at-bats. The Bravos' bullpen has had mixed results, with team contemplating Kevin Millwood (who has been horrible in relief) to start in 4th slot, bumping Neagle to 3rd slot, and using Smoltz as a long reliever to help bullpen; In real-life Smoltz spent stints on D.L. in 1998 & 1999, and would miss all of 2000 until returning as a reliever in 2001 -- Smoltz would go on to set the N.L. record of 55 Saves in 2002.

The 1985 Toronto Blue Jays are also in the Bobby Cox Division, along with the 1998 Braves -- fittingly their manager was Bobby Cox. The Jays are 15-13, along with the 1993 Philadelphia Phillies -- both teams will have a tough time reaching the top two slots in the division, and they also stand against some tough league competition for those playoff spots; They would have to get some victories against the M's & Braves to make it more interesting. The Phillies do have a +18 run differential, second best in division (ahead of 98' Braves). 

STRIPES LEAGUE

Starting off with the Mathewson Division...

The 1912 Boston Red Sox (tied for overall Crazy 48's best record, at 21-7) are rolling with a nine-game winning streak, led by their stellar rotation of "Smokey" Joe Wood, Buck O'Brien, Hugh Bedient & Ray Collins; A combined 12 complete games (out of 28) for the group. Their recent success also has a lot to do with their bats waking up; Tris Speaker (.369, 3 HR & 16 RBI) has been clutch of late, along with the emergence of Duffy Lewis & Jake Stahl. The other two division contenders are the 1906 Chicago Cubs (best pitching ERA, no surprise) and the 1917 Chicago White Sox (+53 run differential). The other three teams in the division (1904 New York Giants, 1914 Boston Braves & 1925 Washington Senators) all sit at 14-14 -- not being able to make up their minds, if they want to win or lose; All have been streaky, especially Giants who just went through a rough eight-game losing steak.

1912 Red Sox - Souvenir Score Book.
The 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers (18-10 -- mentioned above with +56 run differential & 7-game winning streak), hold a one-game division lead over their MLB World Series counterparts, the 1953 New York Yankees (17-11); Duke Snider, Jackie Robinson, Pee Wee Reese, Jim Gilliam & Carl Furillo are all batting .282 or higher! The rest of the teams in the division (all with losing records) have been a complete mess, and will need a miracle to make playoffs.

The 1953 World Series contenders are division rivals (Robinson Division).
The 1984 Detroit Tigers (17-11) are comfortably leading their division (the Ripken Division) by two games. The second place 1977 Philadelphia Philles (who were solid for the first 10 games) are further behind than their record indicates; Tigers are the only team in division with a positive scoring differential (+19). The 1986 New York Mets (9-19) have been a major catastrophe for most part -- they need to take advantage of their division match-ups to make up some serious ground; Mets are in last place, trailing Tigers by 8 games. Good news for Mets fans, in a exhibition four-game series against the 84' Tigers, a few years back -- The Mets took all four.

The 1998 Padres want to crash the party.
Finally, in the Jeter Division... We have the 1998 New York Yankees and 1998 San Diego Padres (participants of that year's World Series) tied at 18-10 in first. The Padres just have had their 10-game winning streak snapped against the 1904 Giants; Their pitching has been excellent (especially their rotation) -- Andy Ashby is 5-0, with a 1.34 ERA, while Kevin Brown (1-4, 3.46 ERA) has had some great starts of late. The Padres' lineup on the other hand has been horrific (.203), while Tony Gwynn (.222 in 99 AB's) has had issues at the plate; The Yankees meanwhile, are exactly batting like Gwynn so far, at a .222 clip -- their rotation (just like San Diego) has been their strength.The division's two surprises, may be the under-achieving 1995 Cleveland Indians (16-12) and the 1993 San Francisco Giants (11-17); The Tribe find themselves standing outside of the playoff bubble, while the Giants have dealt with many injury woes, and are currently losers of seven straight.

Odd Team Out? The Indians currently find themselves outside of the bubble.
All 8 Divisions are about to fight it out for the last 20 games, 6 games against each of their division rivals; This could be great for teams that have struggled against non-division teams, playing against teams closer to their era. We'll see if someone like the 86' Mets or 1904 Giants can turn around their luck.

We still have plenty of time until this league wraps up, but it should pay off as one heck of a finish.
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