Saturday, February 25, 2017

One Week!

The excitement is building for the 3rd Annual Greater Michigan APBA Baseball Tournament! I have not been able to practice with my 1901 Pittsburgh Pirates team of late, I know that they have split 2-2 in two games each against the 1909 Detroit Tigers & 1911 Philadelphia Athletics.

This morning I did wake-up to snow, which I am hoping won't be an issue when going down state a week from now... sometimes it's for reasons like this that I wish the tourney was more mid-March, because one of these years I believe we will all be smacked -- Mother Nature does not seem to be a fan of Michigan.

So while I looked out my window and my spirits was momentarily dampened, they were quickly brightened with my friend, Pastor Rich Zawadzki's Facebook posting...

He was posting this with his excitement for the upcoming tourney from the... Chiropractor's office? Hope everything is okay, my friend! I do know I should be considering the same thing these days with my own back... I'm not getting any younger.

I think I have a good strategy going into the tournament, it definitely will come down to who's rolling hot on March 4th. Many teams will have close to all-A rotations, and there will be plenty of hit & running going on... so there will also be some luck involved.

One thing is for sure, everyone will have fun & someone will walk-away victorious.

Friday, February 17, 2017

APBA Wisconsin, a Huge Hit!

The first ever Wisconsin APBA Tournament was a huge hit! The tournament took place back on January 21st, 2017 (Saturday) in Wauwatosa (on the outer western edge of Milwaukee); The event was hosted by one of APBA's good guys, in Kurt Bergland.

The first-time event's theme (from what I gathered) was APBA Baseball Teams from the 1970's. The event hosted a strong amount of contenders, but only one walked away as the champion, that privilege belongs to my friend Eric Berg. Berg is one of the all-around great guys of the APBA universe, he has made his presence known on the APBA Facebook Group in the same laid-back, peaceful nature as he has at the tournaments; He has been to the Chicago, Greater Michigan, Twin Cities, Praireland & Wisconsin tournaments now, and... possibly the Toledo & Pittsburgh ones? (I would have to find out on that).

He came so close at the recent Chicagoland Fall Tournament (back in November 2016), and I would love to think that I may have sent some champion vibes his way with my posting of that tournament, but the champion always was there in Eric Berg...

By the way, here is that posting...

This time, Eric got the job done with his 1970 Minnesota Twins & you can read all about his success from his perspective on his wonderful blog: Red 11 (click on Red 11).

Eric Berg (right) wins his first APBA Tournament Championship in Wisconsin.

You can also check on news on the upcoming Praireland Tournament 2.0 via Eric Berg's blog, on his site, click home & check the info out there, plus other excellent blog pieces.

Kurt Bergland (far right) led the organized & fun Wisconsin tournament.

With Wisconsin, Praireland & now Virginia on the APBA Baseball Tournament map, it seems that more & more of this tournament fun is catching fire. I have always enjoyed these APBA tournaments, and (not to beat a dead horse)... you are truly missing out, if you have not enjoyed this wonderful luxury. 

Keep Rolling 66's my friends!

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

GMABT III - Divisions Announced!

We are just under 4 weeks away from the 3rd Annual Greater Michigan APBA Baseball Tournament -- and Pastor Rich Zawadzki has just announced the Division brackets, which were done by a blind draw. It seems like yesterday, is when we all went to the very 1st tournament, now we are rolling on with a third tourney & more participants than ever before, with 38 attendees!

Let's check out how the divisions look, via Rich on Facebook...

I'm pretty excited about the theme this season, I will be honest though, I am probably so-so at best when it comes to managing a dead-ball team... so it will be interesting, to see how my decisions play out when it comes down to tournament time. I decided to do some exhibitions to help get ready for the tournament.

The scene from the first GMABT Tournament (March 2014).
Believe it or not, but my first two tournament experiences (Chicagoland 2013 - Winter) & my first GMABT appearance were both with deadball teams in the 1912 New York Giants & 1917 Chicago White Sox. My two aces for those tournaments in Christy Mathewson & Eddie Cicotte were basically no-shows.

The good news is that I won't have to change my starters really or my starting pitching, consistent lineups in the past seem to really work for me... for example, my 1993 Atlanta Braves, that I would win last year's tournament with, I never changed the lineup once, I pinch-hit & ran on a few occasions, but the lineup never varied in all 13 games.

The bad news is the Walter Johnson Division may be what Rich described best, as the "Division of Death" with opponents such as the 1905 New York Giants, 1909 Detroit Tigers, 1909 Pittsburgh Pirates, 1911 Philadelphia Athletics & 1913 New York Giants to go along with my 1901 Pittsburgh Pirates. I will be completely shocked if we have a wild card coming out of our division.

If you all remember, I really love the early Pirates teams, and had a lot of fun with them during my BBW World Series projects (inside the 'Replay Booth') -- I personally love the 1902 Pittsburgh Pirates the most, but I didn't want to go through the process of purchasing them, when I owned the 1901 Pirates.

I will get the honor of playing Ron Emch a third time, I joked about this possibly happening at the end of my "First GMABT Exhibitions (Doubleheader)" article -- hopefully Ty Cobb & Sam Crawford don't have their way with my pitchers this time. I will also get the legit honor of playing my other friends in Rich Zawadzki & Ken Schulz for the first times in tournaments -- I played Ken the night before (in a exhibition) my big day last year, while I did play Rich in the tournament while he was standing-in for someone else's team, this time it will be his own team. I also look forward to playing both Dave Rueck & G.F. Korreck for the first time as well... this will be a fun group regardless what happens.

By the way, I realized that I will be sitting at the table with three guys who have ran tournaments in Zawadzki (GMABT), Emch (Glass City Toledo Tournament) & Schulz (LBS Pittsburgh Tournament)... while I will be trying my hand at a one-time only APBA Baseball Tournament with the "Cherry APBA Baseball Roll-Away by the Bay" (June 2020) in Traverse City, Michigan.

Myself (Shawn), enjoying some good eats at Gene Davis & Sons. 
I'm not one to make any predictions, but I couldn't help but notice that John Roels and Greg Wells, two stellar tournament contenders, who both have tournament championships under their belts, both have great teams, could run the tables in their respective divisions. I would not be surprised to see both of them in the playoffs; Roels won the 1st Greater Michigan APBA Baseball Tournament, while Wells has won the National APBA Baseball Tournament, plus both Linda B. Schulz Pittsburgh Tournaments & he happens to also be a member of the APBA Hall of Fame as well.

Looking forward to this great event, excellent food at Gene Davis & Sons, and great company with friends -- while meeting new friends.

*****     *****     **     *****     *****

On Deck (Future Posts on Boys of Summer):  News from the Wisconsin Tournament! Plus Hall talk between the Baier Boys!
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