Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Upcoming Holiday Lineup

Things to look forward to on Boys of Summer:

  • Game 7 Finale of the 'WHAT IF' 1975 World Series between the Boston Red Sox & Cincinnati Reds.
  • Latest Boys of Summer APBA Baseball League news, season news & playoff news.
  • NXPL reboot news.
  • Plus the latest on the APBA 2K9 League, as we enter April 11th on the schedule. 

Most importantly, a happy holidays to you and all your family & friends, safe holiday travels -- take it all in & enjoy my friends.


Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Sluggish Start for Tigers (83' NXPL Season)

Double Trouble: MLB's Greatest Double Play combination of Whitaker & Trammell.

World Championship expectations are heavy in the air for the Detroit Tigers, they lost last year's World Series (1982 Season) to the St. Louis Cardinals in seven hard-fought games, after leading the series, 3-2.

By the way, for those that were wondering the NXPL is a league without expansion, 8 teams in the American League, 8 teams in the National League, in which both leagues the pitchers bat. It is an APBA BBW (Baseball for Windows) League for computers.

Francona to part of strong 1984 bench.
This year the Tigers added plenty of good additions to the team, even brought players back through the draft. We drafted pitchers Mark Thurmond, Keith Atherton & John Martin, while drafting hitters in Terry Francona, Darryl Motley, Rusty Kuntz, Duane Walker, while bringing back Rusty Staub, while drafting some infield depth in Andre Robertson, Ed Jurak & Randy Johnson. Thurmond will be our 5th starter for the 1984 season, he will be a spot starter / LH Reliever for this season. Atherton (Grade 15-Y) will be closing games for me this season. Francona, Motley, Kuntz & Walker were strictly drafted for next year's bench for 1984, all had good years. Staub was drafted for some bench punch for this 1983 season, to go along with Joel Youngblood

Alan Trammell and Lou Whitaker really step up another level from 1982 to 1983, while Tom Seaver after a down-year in 82' is back in my rotation to go along with Mario Soto, Dan Petry, Joaquin Andujar & young Walt Terrell. Atherton will also go along nicely in the pen with Dave Tobik and Dave Rozema for now, while being a part of the pen for the future with Andy McGaffigan.

The season has started, we barely won a series against Minnesota, in which if it was not for a blown save, we would have won that series, 4-1, but instead 3-2.

The next series was against emerging Boston, who I see being a challenger to the pennant now after one series -- he has a tough lineup with players like Fred Lynn, Jim Rice, Wade Boggs, Dwight Evans, Willie Upshaw & Ozzie Smith. I am not sure if their pitching can go head-to-head throughout the season, but he may do what I had to do with last year's bullpen & plug them in the right place & right time... but with a lineup like his, he should be tough. We lost the series, 4-1, my dependable bullpen which I upgraded on paper from last season has been a huge disappointment so far... We'll get to that in a bit.

Also there is the Baltimore Orioles, who I thought entering last season, would go wire-to-wire with us for that 1982 American League crown -- this year, they definitely will, they made a trade in which they acquired the #1 Overall Draft Pick from the Toronto Blue Jays in which they drafted Darryl Strawberry. They also have Cal Ripken & Eddie Murray, plus other strong vets in Doug DeCinces, Don Baylor, Bob Grich & Darrell Porter, with their usual good pitching, plus Atlee Hammaker. Baltimore just swept Seattle in 5 games, and is currently on a 6-game winning streak.

For me, my 4-6 start, is the worst start for any of my Tiger teams, this being my third year; We have started the previous seasons 7-3 & 8-2... definitely too early to push the panic button though.

My lineup overall should have a more consistent flow, but I definitely am lacking the bench punch that I had last season, that's really why I picked up Staub late in the draft, he really has no future value, but him along with Youngblood will be my go-to guys in hopeful clutch situations. Kirk Gibson has a down year in batting average, which will give Mookie Wilson more playing time, while Lance Parrish won't have the big year he did in 82' and is currently struggling for me (likely will be batting out of 5th spot for season, soon); Plus Jason Thompson & Ben Oglivie's HR numbers are down from last season, yet no one gave Thompson that memo, since he has 3 home runs early on for me through 10 games.

The Wright Man: Wright was excellent pickup prior to 1982.
My drafting of George Wright in 82' will play a bigger impact in 1983, even though in many ways he played above & beyond for me in 1982 already, so that draft pick for me has paid dividends; He has an excellent OF arm that most teams will not want to tag up on from third, while he is out in left.

I'm hoping that this year's draft picks start paying off in the so-far/under-performing bullpen of the Tigers -- Keith Atherton (Grade 15-Y / equivalent to A-Y) is the early scapegoat, allowing 11 earned runs already in only 3.1 innings. Dave Tobik, Dave Rozema, Randy Moffit, Jim Slaton & Mark Thurmond plan to be huge factors in helping this bullpen round off nicely.

Our next opponent is another home series against the California Angels, who usually play pretty well against me with their hitting. Nothing is a given in this league, but I do think my team is still a title contender, despite my team not showing it at the moment.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Rookies Shine at Chicagoland Fall Tourney

Last Saturday, the Fall edition of the Chicagoland (Chicago World Series) Tournament took place at the Chicago O'Hare Days Inn Hotel. The tournament as always, was a smashing success, and for this particular event, the rookies came out to shine!

The tournament championship finale came down to two APBA tournament rookies, while the tournament was ran by our friend Rob Spatz, a rookie in the aspect of running his first tourney, not a rookie when it comes to tournaments, APBA spirit & his professionalism. I enjoyed watching the build-up to the event, my only regret is that I was not able to be present to watch the tournament take place.

Spatz took over for Doug Schuyler, who has ran the previous Chicago tournaments, in which him & Jim Saska co-produced the event & made this event what it is today. Since then, Saska has moved to Virginia, while Schuyler has handed over the reigns to Spatz. So hats off to all three of these men for making it happen, plus I think Doug should get an extra pat for taking these tournaments that extra mile.

The tournament also had the cool & interesting them of all the teams being sub-.500 teams, basically a tournament full of losing teams. This idea has been bounced around at previous tournaments, I know that myself has witnessed at tourneys before on APBA members speaking how cool it would be to do such a thing, but this time.... a tournament finally delivered on the idea.

Here is some of the photos from the event...

Two of the classiest: Don Smith (left) and Scott Fennessy.
Longtime Tourney Vet: Clark Eichman rolls during the All-Star Game.
We Are Family: Rich Zawadski (right) takes in a match-up between his son, Eric (APBA 66), against Ken Schulz who has been part of numerous APBA tourneys with his own family members in the past.

The tournament also witnessed the continuation of the APBA tradition of a game that is shared between father & sons. Pastor Rich Zawadzki, an APBA pillar and friend of many of us in the APBA community, brought his son Eric to this fall's event. Eric was supposed to be father Rich's designated roller for the 1920 St. Louis Browns, but had to fill in for the injured Bradd Romant, who lost a fight with an exacto knife, while doing house work -- we just like to kid that he was working on his drone in the same way that Cleveland Indians' pitcher Trevor Bauer injured himself during the playoffs. Bradd's APBA choice was the 1980 Cleveland Indians.

Passing Down the Game: Rich Zawadzki & his son Eric, made the trip from Jackson, MI to Chicago.

Eric Z faces off against Ryan Daniels' 2001 Colorado Rockies.

The Big Kid John Roels gave Eric this cool, authentic original APBA T-Shirt.
How did the Zawadzki's do? Rich came in second with a 6-3 record for his 20' Browns, while Bradd's 80 Indians with 'Designated Roller' Eric at the helm, went 1-8 -- while division mate, Ken Schulz did not take it easy on either of the Zawadzkis, by sweeping them a combined, 6-0. Schulz won the division by going 7-2 with the 1967 Atlanta Braves. Another APBA tourney regular & friend, John Roels was cool enough to give young Eric his APBA Baseball, an old-school APBA original -- it may be appear to be a dress on the young lad, but he will fill out that shirt & will likely be wearing that shirt at future tourneys as an young adult. 

His father was definitely enjoying his time, with this Facebook post....

Speaking of Roels, he likes to capture his enthusiasm & spirit for APBA tournaments by dressing the part, this time in Reds gear -- that's why I referred to him as the 'Big Kid'; Another nickname I gave him was "The Painkiller" after he defeating my brother (Christopher Baier) in the 1st Greater Michigan APBA Baseball Tournament (GMABT), winning with the 1937 New York Yankees, by rolling dice with a Prescription bottle. 

Roels usually has great luck at these tourneys, but his 1955 Cincinnati Reds finished second with a losing record of 4-5; Rookie tourney manager Chet Wazio won their division (Harry Chiti Division) with a 8-1 record, by managing the 1971 Chicago White Sox.

Rookie Playoff Match-up: Vince Bianco (Eventual Tourney Champ) faces Chet Wazio,
Rookies took presidence in this tournament, a handful of first-timers, young & older; Wazio and Eric Z were not the only rookies having fun, as the tournament would come down to a first-timer winning the entire thing in Vince Bianco. Bianco's 1964 Los Angeles Dodgers edged Chris Shore's 1987 Boston Red Sox for the Jose Oquendo Division title, moved on to face Wazio's 71' White Sox in the playoffs, pulling off the back-and-forth victory in extras (10 innings) by winning, 5-2. He would play veteran Schulz in the playoffs, as the Dodgers defeated those 67' Braves, 4-2. He would cruise for the Championship win over Todd Daniels' 2000 Houston Astros

The 2000 Houston Astros was an interesting story, led by Jose Lima (a D starting pitcher), would win a 9-0 shutout over Eric Berg's undefeated 9-0, 1964 Minnesota Twins. I know that plenty of us liked the Twins' chances, and it hurts to watch such a great guy like Eric get knocked out like that, don't get me wrong, I am sure Todd is a great guy as well, but you won't find too many tourney contenders as chill & nice as Mr. Berg here.... So I am still rooting for you to win a title someday, Eric! 

It's Lima Time: Jose Lima delivers 9-0 shutout for Todd Daniels' 2000 Houston Astros.
Here is a breakdown brought to us by tournament host, Rob Spatz via Facebook....

More pictures on the successful tournament...

Mike Hill (left) faces off against Kurt Bergland (right) in the playoffs.

Bob Spatz (Rob's father) shows off his 1973 Hank Aaron card (33-1).

This is It; 2016 Chicago World Series Championship - T.Daniels (left) & Vince (right).

Vince Bianco is presented with traveling trophy from Bob Ellers (2016 Summer Champ).

Fall Guy - Vince Bianco is presented with keeper trophy, with Tourney host Rob Spatz.

So that pretty much wraps up my coverage on last weekend's big event -- Once again, congrats to Vince Bianco, we hope to see you at many tournaments in the future... Also, excellent job on Rob Spatz for taking over the Chicago World Series, as we look forward to many more tournaments in the future from APBA's heartland.

Take care everyone, as we approach the holidays, and most importantly....

Keep Rolling 66's!

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

The 'WHAT IF' 1975 World Series (Game 6)

We arrive back in Boston for Game 6 of the 1975 World Series. Not only do the Red Sox return to Boston, but Jim Rice returns from his 3-game injury stint (where he missed all the action in Cincinnati). The good news Boston didn't hurt too much without Rice, as they own a 3-2 series lead.

Game 6 will feature the same pitching match-up of Game 3, Boston's Rick Wise facing off against Cincinnati's Gary Nolan; In that game, Wise pitched a complete-game shutout, shutting down the "Big Red Machine" & holding them to 7 hits... while Boston had a big four-run 4th inning, as Boston won 4-0.

Can the Reds force a Game 7? We'll have to see....

Game 6 (at Boston)

Morgan has been racking up the steals in this series.
The Cincinnati Reds' Joe Morgan got running early & has been doing a lot of that this series actually. Morgan (batting 2nd) smacked a single to left off Wise & then stole second; The stolen base was his 7th steal of the series (he would later steal base #8 in the 5th) & has stolen a base in every game except for Game 4, while he stole as many as 3 bases in Game 5. For the life of me, in all my APBA Baseball projects, I have never had a player steal this often in any World Series replay or 7-game series format.

Now I have seen stolen bases this frequent though, during season formats in two players through my APBA projects, those two players being Tim Raines' 1981 card & Billy Hamilton's 1894 Phillies card (during my BATS 1 Season). Raines currently has 33 steals in 32 games, while Hamilton stole 56 bases in 51 games for the All-Time Phillies team.

Back to the action, Morgan's single & stolen base in the 1st inning, set up Johnny Bench's RBI on a ground out to deep short, as the speedy Morgan never tapped the breaks... It is this kind of heads up, great base running that helped make Morgan a Hall of Famer.

Top of the 2nd - Dave Conception drew a walk, but got caught stealing 2nd for the second out of the inning, but it became evident early on that Rick Wise's control from Game 3 was nowhere evident in Game 6, as he would walk Ken Griffey, while plucking Cesar Geronimo with a pitch in the next at-bat -- that is 2 walks & a HBP in three consecutive at-bats. With runners on 1st & 2nd, with 2 outs, Pete Rose makes Wise pay with an RBI single. Wise's control problems continue as he walks Joe Morgan, allowing a bases loaded situation to Johnny Bench -- something the Red Sox would love to avoid... fortunately for Boston, Bench would fly out for the third out. This inning could have been far worse, and Boston only trails 2-0 at this point.

Gary Nolan's control was not much better early on this one, he would allow 3 walks & also hit a batter with a pitch, inside the first three innings of the ball game. Nolan's biggest jam in those first three innings came when Fred Lynn singled to right, to advance the runner (Denny Doyle reached on Nolan's 3rd walk). With two outs, and two runners on, plus Carlton Fisk coming up to the plate, the Red Sox chose to intentionally walk Fisk & his season batting average of .331, by taking their chances with another Hall of Famer in Carl Yastrzemski & his less dangerous .269 batting average -- Not too often you would ever see this scenario, even in a World Series, would you see someone intentionally walk one HOF'er to face another. Cincinnati's big gamble pays off, as Nolan strikes out "Yaz" to get out of the early jam.

Joe Morgan's bases on balls & stolen base in the 5th Inning, would lead to another Reds run, as he would later score from third base on a Tony Perez sacrifice fly -- making it a 3-0 lead.

This game (Game 6) could be considered a complete role reversal for both pitchers, Gary Nolan would settle down after the first three innings & would settle in for a complete game, 4-0 shutout -- the same exact score & shutout that Rick Wise for Boston experienced in Game 3. Wise would allow 4 earned runs & 5 hits through 6.1 innings (Nolan allowed similar numbers in Game 3, with 4 ER & 5 hits in 5 innings); Nolan would go on to only allow 5 hits in the shutout.

Now the big kicker, the game would come at a price for the Cincinnati Reds, with two outs & Joe Morgan on first during the top of the 9th, Tony Perez would hit the ball to Denny Doyle at deep second, Doyle would relay the throw to Rick Burleson at second for the force, Morgan's slide was rough at second, in which he would lay there in pain. The trainers came out, helped him off the field, and according to post game reports, he will indeed miss the crucial Game 7, while the Reds play in enemy territory.

Can the Cincinnati Reds pull off a consecutive victory without Morgan, at Fenway?

Stay tuned...

Saturday, November 12, 2016

The 'WHAT IF' 1975 World Series (Game 5)

The Cincinnati Reds evened the series in Game 4, led by George Foster, who went 2-for-3, with a three-run homer, double, while drawing two walks & scoring twice; Foster is having an amazing series, batting .563 (9-for-16), 2 HR, 8 RBI & 6 runs.

The Boston Red Sox want to win this last game in Cincinnati & go home with two chances to win the World Series in front of their home crowd.

Game 5 (at Cincinnati)

Bill Lee cheering on his hitters from the dugout.
Bill "The Spaceman" Lee takes the mound for Boston, he got roughed up in Game 2 at Fenway, allowing 5 earned runs & 6 hits in 6 innings of work. Lee will face the Reds' Fred Norman, who will get his first start of the series, he did appear in one scoreless inning of work in Game 2.

Boston got things started early in this one, as rookie Fred Lynn smacks a solo HR in the first inning with one out; Lynn's first HR of the series, he has 4 RBI now on 4 hits (lifting his average up to .267). Carl Yastrzemski followed with a double, but the Red Sox could do no more that inning.

Cincinnati would have runners on 2nd for three consecutive innings, but could not score in the runners.

Top of the 4th - Carlton Fisk hits a one-out double off of Norman, while Dwight Evans would follow by drawing a walk. Cecil Cooper would take advantage of his opportunity by hitting a three-run home run to give the Red Sox an early commanding, 4-0 lead. That was Cooper's 2nd HR of the series.

One of the few highlights for the Cincinnati Reds in this game, belonged to Joe Morgan, who would steal second three times in this game; Other than that, Bill Lee & Boston was in control... Lee pitched 8 strong innings, allowing only 5 hits & one earned run (RBI double to Cesar Geronimo in the 7th).

Carlton Fisk would tack on a solo HR (2) in the 9th off of Pedro Borbon for extra insurance, as the Boston Red Sox win Game 5, by the score of 5-1.

The series now heads back to the east coast, for Game 6 in Boston... We'll see if they can wrap up the series, now that they have a 3-2 series lead.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Wide World of Sports

Time to get this party started - 1988-89 Detroit Pistons, one of many purchased.

So for awhile now, I have kicked around the idea of ordering from DK Sports (Dave Koch Sports). As you all know from reading my material on my Boys of Summer blog, that I am a fan of APBA Baseball, which have excellent products in their basic card game, Master Game & computer games... Unfortunately, they do not have anything productive in computer Football or computer Basketball, and their Football Card Game is a time-consuming product which does not fit my life, where I am already trying to squeeze in endless replays & projects. 

I got the extra push to actually buy the Basketball & Football products from DK Sports, while shooting the bull at work, while cooking. Working with my buddy, Charles, we are always discussing great teams of the past, and have had our debates of who would be who & from what era, etc etc... We would have debates from everything, would the 1992 Dallas Cowboys show up the New England Patriots teams of the 2000'sJoe Montana vs. Tom Brady & to even.. Did Tom Brady make Bill Belichick or did Belichick make Brady?...

Yes, there is a lot of Brady in those debates, love them or hate them, these Patriots will always be open for discussion. 

The fortunate thing about DK Sports, you can settle these debates (somewhat) with these computer replays or exhibitions. 

First, I'll mention the products that I have bought & how convenient it is to purchase all that. I got to buy these products with $100 of Birthday money from my amazing wife... who by the way is cool with all my replays & projects.

I bought the 2016 Baseball Basic Game ($29), which comes with the Championship set, which features...
  • 1932 - Philadelphia Athletics, New York Yankees, Chicago Cubs & Pittsburgh Pirates.
  • 1959 - Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, Milwaukee Braves & Los Angeles Dodgers.
  • 1975 - Boston Red Sox, Oakland Athletics, Cincinnati Reds & Pittsburgh Pirates.
  • 1992 - Oakland Athletics, Toronto Blue Jays, Atlanta Braves & Pittsburgh Pirates.
  • 2007 - Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, Colorado Rockies & Arizona Diamondbacks.
  • 2015 - Kansas City Royals, Toronto Blue Jays, Chicago Cubs & New York Mets.
I bought the 2016 Football Basic Set (with Great Teams) ($29), which features...

  • 1965 - Green Bay Packers, Baltimore Colts, Cleveland Browns & Chicago Bears.
  • 1971 - Dallas Cowboys, San Francisco 49'ers, Miami Dolphins & Baltimore Colts.
  • 1988 - Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills, Chicago Bears & San Francisco 49'ers.
  • 1990 - New York Giants, San Francisco 49'ers, Buffalo Bills & Los Angeles Raiders.
  • 2003 - New England Patriots, Indianapolis Colts, Carolina Panthers & Philadelphia Eagles.
  • 2015 - Denver Broncos, New England Patriots, Carolina Panthers & Arizona Cardinals.
I bought the 2016 Basketball - Deluxe Game (on sale for $39) + 20 Winning Teams (NBA history) which features...
  • 2015-16 - Every single 2015-2016 NBA team from that season.
  • 1984-85Every single team from the 84-85' season.
  • 1970-71 ABA Season 
  • 2014-15 Golden State Warriors
  • 2012-13 Miami Heat
  • 2008-09 Cleveland Cavaliers
  • 2008-09 Los Angeles Lakers
  • 2007-08 Boston Celtics
  • 2006-07 Dallas Mavericks
  • 1999-00 Los Angeles Lakers
  • 1996-97 Chicago Bulls
  • 1995-96 Chicago Bulls
  • 1991-92 Chicago Bulls
  • 1986-87 Los Angeles Lakers
  • 1985-86 Boston Celtics
  • 1982-83 Philadelphia 76'ers
  • 1972-73 Boston Celtics
  • 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers
  • 1970-71 Milwaukee Bucks
  • 1966-67 Philadelphia 76'ers
Because these great packages didn't have all the teams that I would also like to see added, the site gives you the option to add any team from any season from any sport -- for ONLY $1.50! Which at anytime, any week or any moment, you can say hey -- I want to download this team, BOOM! You own it, just like that!

Oh, by the way, everything from above is also downloadable straight to your computer, no waiting for disks in the mail, which could take weeks depending on the service, etc etc

Here is the list of additional NFL Teams that I added...
  • 1950 Cleveland Browns
  • 1957 Detroit Lions
  • 1975 Pittsburgh Steelers
  • 1985 Chicago Bears
  • 1986 New York Giants
  • 1993 Dallas Cowboys
  • 1995 Detroit Lions
  • 1999 St. Louis Rams
  • 2000 Baltimore Ravens
  • 2002 Tampa Bay Bucs

Here is the list of additional NBA Teams that I added...
  • 1986-87 Atlanta Hawks
  • 1988-89 Detroit Pistons
  • 1990-91 Portland Trail Blazers
  • 1992-93 New York Knicks
  • 1993-94 Houston Rockets
  • 1994-95 Indiana Pacers
  • 1996-97 Utah Jazz
  • 2001-02 Sacramento Kings
  • 2002-03 San Antonio Spurs
  • 2003-04 Detroit Pistons
I am really happy with the products and now I can settle some of these debates (somewhat) and relive historic & fun teams... It will certainly be a blast, I can't wait to share everything with you.

The Football action will be shared to you via Guts & Glory of the Gridiron, my new football blog.
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