Monday, February 29, 2016

Tigers: Off to Good Start (NXPL)

Tigers' All-Star catcher Lance Parrish.
The NXPL's 1982 Season has started, and we are almost through 2 weeks (10 games into the season) -- We are still waiting on other people's files to come in to see the overall results.

For my Tigers, I am happy with the results so far -- There is so much steep competition in the American League that its not funny, in fact there is so much parity the last several seasons, that no team has won 90 games for some time... chances are, that will probably repeat. I like my team's chances, especially that the team is more healthy (than last year), but at the same time Baltimore, Toronto and California have to love their chances as well.

Nothing will be easy.

We opened the season with a 4-1 series victory over the Seattle Mariners, while Baltimore swept the Chicago White Sox; We lost our finale of the series to a great pitching performance by Eric Show. The next series, Baltimore took 3 of 5 from the Mariners, while the Tigers went on the road and took 4 of 5 from a very tough Toronto Blue Jays team -- In fact, I was a little shocked to win the series.

California entered their series with the 0-5 Chicago White Sox, at 5-0, but would have trouble with the Sox, losing 3 of 5 from them.

My pitching staff has a phenomenal ERA of 1.01 in 10 games, but our lineup needs some work (batting .213), Lou Whitaker was hot the first three games, as Alan Trammell was the first series, but both have been flat since; Bill Madlock also seems to be struggling, while Lance Parrish has been excellent with a .353 batting average, 3 HR, 8 RBI & 9 runs!

Here is the standings below....

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Two for the Yellow and Black

ELITE EIGHT Action: The 1979 Pittsburgh Pirates continue their magical run through the tournament by knocking off the 1906 Chicago Cubs (considered one of the very best teams in MLB history).
Down 3-2, during the top of the 9th... Dave Parker leads off with double, Willie Stargell would ground out by advancing Parker to third. Bill Robinson would pop up for the 2nd out. With their backs against the walls (again), Phil Garner ends up drawing a walk against Jack Pfiester [Grade A-X] (his 4th walk allowed). All hopes are placed on Ed Ott, who would tie the game with a RBI single, scoring in Parker.
Top of the 10th, the Pirates now facing Jack Taylor [Grade A-R], Jim Bibby, the Pirates reliever takes game in his own hands with lead-off double; Bill Madlock would eventually drive him in (with one out) after being hitless through previous 4 at-bats. Dave Parker would draw a walk; With two outs, Bill Robinson gives Pirates a stronger cushion with two-RBI triple.
Kent Tekulve comes in for his 3rd Save of the tournament. Jim Bibby gets the win on 2 scoreless innings, plus double & run at the plate.
Pirates are now in the Final Four during their tournament debut!

The 1971 Pittsburgh Pirates are helping the 1979 Pirates by making this tournament shine yellow & black. In yet another upset, the 1971 Pittsburgh Pirates hold off the defending tournament champion 1927 New York Yankees.
Down 2-0, in the top of the 3rd, the Pirates tied the game at 2-2 with a RBI double by Roberto Clemente & RBI single by Willie Stargell -- but it all came with a price, the 1971 Stargell who has had two 2-homer games in this tournament, got injured sliding into second, and is OUT for the REMAINDER of the tournament.
Richie Hebner would hit a go-ahead RBI single in the top of the 6th, but the Pirates lead didn't last for long as the Yankees answer back in their typical Yankee aura magic with a pinch-hit RBI double by Ben Paschal.
Top of the 10th, with two outs & no one on for the Pirates, and with the 1927 Yankees having home-field, the game was teetering on a Yankee win, when Bob Robertson draws a walk from Urban Shocker. Richie Hebner would single to right, advancing Robertson to third. Al Oliver steps up to the plate 0-for-4, and hits a routine fly to left at Bobby Meusel, but Meusel loses the ball in the overcast sky, as the ball deflects off his glove and drops to the ground -- scoring in Robertson!
Dave Giusti comes in and closes the game down for the save, as the 1927 New York Yankees suffer their first-ever tourney loss.

Just One of Them Games

ELITE EIGHT Action: In one of the most strangest games, or at least strangest endings to a game I ever had (or at least for some time).
A game between the 2002 Oakland Athletics at Fenway, against the 1946 Boston Red Sox -- This is the furthest Oakland ever got in tourney play, while Boston has duplicated its best, making it to the Elite Eight for the second consecutive tournament.
Early on, nothing seemed out of the norm, with Boston taking a early 2-0 lead, during the bottom of the 3rd on a RBI single by Bobby Doerr; Doerr scored the first run in the 2nd from second, on a RBI single by Johnny Pesky.
It would not be until the 7th inning, until the Athletics strike back, with an RBI single by David Justice and RBI double by Terrance Long -- Ramon Hernandez would get thrown out at home trying for the lead run on that play.
It would be the last run for either team for the next (almost) 10 innings.
Top of the 16th, with John Mabry on 2nd, Oakland's Terrance Long would hit a single to center, Mabry would try for home, but get thrown out with an amazing throw from Dom DiMaggio. Oakland would fail to score that Inning.
Bottom of the 17th, Cory Lidle on the mound for the A's (Oakland starting to run out of players) -- Ted Williams would draw a walk, and Dom DiMaggio would follow with a single, advancing Williams to third; With Oakland only having C pitchers left, and Rudy York at the plate -- Oakland would call on Jim Mecir (C-R), a righty vs righty... Making Mecir for this at-bat a Grade B-R, making Boston's chances a little tougher.
With no outs, runners on 1st & 3rd, Rudy York would roll a 64-37 -- "Runner on 1st out stealing 2nd; A-C PO-SS; other scores; * no score"; DiMaggio is out stealing second, but pulls off the play of the game by drawing attention to self, so that Ted Williams can win the game by stealing home!
Never, for all I can remember, have I ever had a walk-off steal.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Tigers Get Ready for 1982 (NXPL)

For those who follow my blog, they may remember that I am in a retro league called the Non-Expansion Professional League (NXPL), which is currently commissioned by Peter Kilmarx. I originally know Peter from my days in the MWBL (Mid-West Baseball League) and MWWL (Mid-West Winter League).

We are entering the 1982 season, this is a league with no expansion after 1961 (I believe). Last season was my first season, and we had to endure plenty of health issues with my team, so we did not fare to well. This year looks a lot better, I'm not going to count my chickens, but I do feel we have a winning ball club on our hands.

A look at our opening day roster...

We drafted our first baseman of the future in Pete O'Brien; He had some good years in the 1980's for the Texas Rangers, and he was the best available first baseman in the 1982 draft. We currently have Jason Thompson, who played for the Tigers in real life from 1976 to mid-1980 (He was actually playing with the Pirates in 1982) -- We are looking forward to his last solid year (82') in which he batted .284, 31 HR & 102 RBI with a solid .391 On-Base Percentage and .902 OPS.

We also drafted Walt Terrell, who the Tigers would actually acquire in real-life from the Mets with the Howard Johnson trade. Thankfully, in the NXPL, with each draft, every team gets to keep at least one real-life franchise pick where a player had his real debut with, we kept Howard Johnson of course (and still got Terrell). Terrell is nothing spectacular, but he ensures consistent solid innings from 1984-1991 -- That is one less rotation slot to worry about later.

We drafted Von Hayes in 1981, so that will be another solid 1980's bat to go with Pete O'Brien, adding that with HoJo, Lance Parrish, Lou Whitaker, Alan Trammell, (oh did I mention?) Bill Madlock, Kirk Gibson & Mookie Wilson. Oh, and one last power year for Ben Oglivie (34 HR) -- In fact, our lineup has 3 players with 30+ HRs for 1982 (Parrish was the other to go with Thompson & Oglivie).

Our rotation will only get better next season in 1983, with a bounce-back season for Tom Seaver to go with Mario Soto, Joaquin Andujar & Dan Petry.

We didn't improve the bullpen as much as I would have liked, we picked up free agent Sid Monge, and have Andy McGaffigan in future seasons... but we have yet to get our hands on a legitimate closer, our draft goal was to draft Tom Henke, but Seattle beat us to the punch.

Our fielding is pretty decent, only because we have the best double play combination in the Majors in Trammell & Whitaker to go with Madlock (a fielding 5) at the hot corner... but our outfield arms are weak, if our pitchers can keep the ball in the infield we can benefit from that -- We do have one of the best rotations in either league.

By the way, the Montreal Expos repeated as NXPL World Champions, by defeating the Boston Red Sox; Andre Dawson took home World Series MVP honors.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

BoS All-Stars Announced

The All-Star votes are in from all the owners of the Boys of Summer APBA Baseball League, they are as follows...


C - Buster Posey (SPAR)
1B - Jose Abreu (CORK)
2B - Dee Gordon (CHI)
3B - Kyle Seager (CORK)
SS - Alexei Ramirez (CORK)
OF1/RF - Jose Bautista (CORK)
OF2/CF - Andrew McCutchen (CHI)
OF3/LF - Carlos Gomez (FAIR)
DH - David Ortiz (CHI)

4 Players from Corktown Tamales will start for A.L. squad (they had 5 players total)

C - Brian McCann (BRK)
1B - Paul Goldschmidt (FAIR)
2B - Neil Walker (SPAR)
3B - Nolan Arenado (CHI)
SS - Jose Reyes (BRK)
OF - Lorenzo Cain (SWAT)
OF - Charlie Blackmon (SWAT)
OF - Justin Upton (CORK)
DH - Victor Martinez (SWAT)
SP1 - Felix Hernandez (CHI)
SP2 - Jon Lester (SPAR)
SP3 - Zack Greinke (SWAT)
SP4 - Doug Fister (S.S.)
SP5 - Madison Bumgarner (FAIR)
SP6 - Garrett Richards (CHI)
RP1 - Dellin Betances (CHI)
RP2 - Huston Street (SPAR)
RP3 - Joaquin Benoit (SWAT)

The Other 3 spots were chose by the following... Since I like to make sure every team is represented, Buffalo still needed a player for the All-Star Game.

With the outcome of the votes, I felt Jordan Zimmermann was their best representation, which was close over the next guy, who happens to be from their team in Ian Kinsler as well. Matt Kemp happened to be tied in 7th in outfielders with A.J. Pollack, I chose Kemp, due to the fact that he had a vote as high as a 3rd place vote, which broke tie, and although Pollack was impressive in a part-time role, Kemp played full-time.

In the past, for the 3 final spots, I usually had the APBA Facebook Group guys vote on some nominees.
SP - Jordan Zimmermann (BUF)
2B - Ian Kinsler (BUF)
OF - Matt Kemp (BRK)


C - Jonathan Lucroy (SEA)
1B - Miguel Cabrera (TC)
2B - Robinson Cano (KBB)
3B - Adrian Beltre (URB)
SS - Troy Tulowitzki (POR)
OF1/LF - Michael Brantley (SEA)
OF2/CF - Mike Trout (POR)
OF3/RF - Corey Dickerson (POR)
DH - Carlos Santana (KBB)

Brantley and Trout were back & forth for the lead in OF votes, Brantley won by a single point in the voting system -- on the last ballot turned in, Brantley was a first-place vote (5 pts) while Trout was a second-place vote (3 pts), just edging him.

C - Devin Mesoraco (TC)
1B - Freddie Freeman (POR)
2B - Jose Altuve (SEA)
3B/OF - Josh Harrison (TC)
SS - Erick Aybar (SD)
OF - Giancarlo Stanton (TC)
OF - Hunter Pence (TC)
OF - Starling Marte (HOL)
DH - Nelson Cruz (SD)
SP1 - Clayton Kershaw (KING)
SP2 - Corey Kluber (TC)
SP3 - Adam Wainwright (TC)
SP4 - Johnny Cueto (HOL)
SP5 - Chris Sale (KING)
SP6 - Julio Teheran (TC)
RP1 - Greg Holland (HOL)
RP2 - Wade Davis (TC)
RP3 - Jonathan Papelbon (URB)

A couple different notes here, Adrian Beltre scored all 1st-place votes for his position, I believe he may have done that the previous two All-Star season votes as well, which is pretty damn impressive... If there is an early forecast on a first-ballot BoS Hall-of-Famer to be, Beltre is making a ridiculous case with all of his awards & stats to show for it.

Speaking of 100% 1st-place votes, the other two BoS players to do that were from the American League in Buster Posey and Jose Abreu -- You heard correctly, Clayton Kershaw actually received a second-place vote; Another reason I love everyone's takes on the ballots, creates really weird results sometimes.

The other result, resulted in... I believe a record 9 All-Stars selected for my Traverse City Panthers. I do know that South Shore and Portland sent a ton of players, and at worst TC at least tied the record if not set it, will have to do research -- I do know 10 have not been selected from one team.

T.C. has 3 starting pitchers going, had maybe the best bullpen (not known as Chicago at least - Dellin did enough on his own, plus company), while the team led BoS in batting -- It could be argued that they may been one of (if not) the best on paper, but that's why we have a post-season -- It simply was not our time, but it gives a perspective how good that team is, I believe. It also gives a perspective, how good that Urbana and Portland team was, and the entire National League for that matter; Plus it was just icing on the cake that Brad finally broke through for his title.

For those final 3 N.L. spots, I really felt Kelvin Herrera should have been represented out of all of those (he shattered the old Holds record by a long shot), but since T.C. already has 9 players, I ruled no more T.C. players added; Brian Dozier had a pretty good case as well.

The N.L. DH vote was close, and I felt J.D. Martinez should be added for Holland. The other two spots went to OF-Jayson Werth from Portland and (since no Herrera), the next guy in RP votes was Jeurys Familia (I picked Familia over Edwin Encarnacion actually -- who would have been a 3rd 1B behind Cabrera and Freeman, who both will play significant parts in the game. So I chose his teammate instead.

DH/OF - J.D. Martinez (HOL)
OF - Jayson Werth (POR)
RP - Jeurys Familia (SD)

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Stadium Project Underway

Unfinished Overview frontside.
Every once in awhile on the APBA Facebook Group, someone would post their custom-made stadium, and I would say one of these days I'm going to give it a shot, on creating one myself.

The other day was that day...

My first hand at it, is a couple of display boards, plus a thin green poster-board construction paper, and the cardboard backing of one of the wife & I's old posters (that used to have a frame). The cardboard I was keeping for a art project, and when I started brainstorming the other night, I realized that the cardboard could come in handy for a stadium foundation.

Photo from Day One on project
I took the green construction paper and used a exacto knife to make the diamond appear for the field, and I destroyed my APBA box and made it my left-field wall. In right field, I glued the bottom box of the APBA package, and glued it right to the foundation, which helped me use the display board for the center-field wall.

Bottom box in right helped make foundation, probably for future stands.
It's kind of creating itself, one idea would lead to another, it's not exactly how I envisioned it, but it's a good, safe, cheaper way of experimenting on a stadium project for sure.

Backside of the left field wall, outer stadium.
The most expensive element was the exacto knife, which was like $3.99, add two poster boards for $1.99 each, glue that we already had + the construction paper sheet for 99 cents & you have a cheap project for under $10!

Entrance through back, behind center-field.
I plan to add logos from the big leagues and my Boys of Summer APBA Baseball League, with scoreboard, etc etc. I'm thinking white out would make good base lines, and I will eventually add foul poles and a flag pole.

Overview backside.
No official name for the stadium at the moment, for this moment it will be known as the Baier Stadium Project.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Third Time is a Charm for Portland (BoS World Series)

The Boys of Summer APBA Baseball League came to a close with a much-anticipated series between the top seeds of the Amercian & National League ball clubs. Both teams, the Chicago Nine (A.L.) and the Portland Microbrewers (N.L.) each had 98 wins. For Chicago, it was Stray Corrado's first post-season and he made the most of it -- while for Brad Stark he made an impressive 3rd World Series appearance in the 3rd year of the league's existence.

Both teams were evenly matched, and had solid rotations to face off against one another.

The Portland Microbrewers would jump off 3-0 series lead, including a Game 3 that went to extras (10 Innings) in Portland, that Portland would win. The Chicago Nine would fight back with victories in Game 4 & 5, until losing a close game in Game 6, 4-3.

Freddie Freeman continues his BoS Playoff success with a solid World Series that featured him, batting .333 (6-for-18) with a HR, 3 RBI & 2 runs; The face of the league, Mike Trout also had an excellent series, batting .292 (7-for-24) with 2 HR & 5 RBI, 4 runs & 3 doubles to take home World Series MVP honors.

Portland pitchers Matt Shoemaker and Kyle Hendricks had solid performances. Shoemaker went 1-1, 1.80 ERA, with 12 K's (5 BB) in 15 innings, while Hendricks went 2-0, 1.42 ERA, with 8 K's (5 hits allowed, with 5 walks) in 12.2 innings.

Justin Morneau may have set a World Series record 4 HR's [We'll have to do some research] in a losing cause for the Chicago Nine; Morneau was acquired during the season to help solidify Chicago's first base situation for their title run.

The Series - Game by Game
Game 1 (at Chicago) - PORTLAND 4, Chicago 3
Game 2 (at Chicago) - PORTLAND 3, Chicago 2
Game 3 (at Portland) - PORTLAND 5, Chicago 2 (10 Inn)
Game 4 (at Portland) - CHICAGO 5, Portland 2
Game 5 (at Portland) - CHICAGO 1, Portland 0
Game 6 (at Chicago) - PORTLAND 4, Chicago 3  

Morneau celebrates with Chicago teammates.
I couldn't be more happier for both team owners that made it a fun season to watch. I'm glad that Brad got over that hump, otherwise we would have to start comparisons to the Buffalo Bills -- At the same time, at least he reach the World Series, there is only 4 owners (of the 16 owners) in the league's three-year history that can boast about that. 

Now comes the off-season with a the biggest draft to come yet. We'll see who makes the best adjustments to be declared champion next season, but for now the defending BoS World Champions title belongs to the Portland Microbrewers, who bring a title to the Rose City.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

"The Corner" to get New Life

Great news was reported by the Detroit Free Press that the remains of Tiger Stadium / Navin Field is to get new life -- A $11.3 million upgrade to the site in fact!

This is excellent news that has had Baseball being played there well before the 20th Century, and has had way too much history to disappear all together. I know that currently people have held events at the present site, and even my friend Stray Corrado, Commissioner of the Mid-West Baseball and Mid-West Winter League [APBA Leagues] has done some Little League umpiring there as well -- which I think is downright cool!

To celebrate this great news, I decided to share some cool pics that someone made, using old pictures with the current Navin Field.

By the way, more Boys of Summer coming your way, been a bit busy of late -- plenty of news coming your way!

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