Tuesday, March 6, 2018

GMABT IV: Nice Guys Finish First (Spatz & Zawadzki)

Pastor Rich (left) with Rob Spatz.
Green Day may have got it all wrong with their song "Nice Guys Finish Last", because from where I stand the nice guys seem to be finishing first.

This past weekend was bittersweet for me, I unfortunately had to miss my very first Greater Michigan APBA Baseball Tournament (cancelling a few months ago) due to financial reasons (saving up for my sister's wedding). The payoff would be reading the results & seeing pictures of my friend Rob Spatz winning the trophy.

I was also looking forward to congratulating another good friend, Rich Zawadzki in person, for his recent APBA championship, as he won the 2017 Chicagoland (Fall Edition) APBA Tournament. Pastor Rich, year-after-year (since 2015) has hosted the Greater Michigan APBA Baseball Tournament, as he always puts on a top-notch tournament that is well-executed & well-organized. From what I gathered through the years, Rich may be the very best APBA tourney host out there... I mean, there is no holes in his swing.

It was fitting to see him win the tournament in Chicago (which is hosted by Rob Spatz), and then to watch Rob win the Greater Michigan (hosted by Rich).... Only in the APBA universe this can only happen... seriously, who writes this stuff?!

It was great to see all the pictures & videos of the event, those made me feel a tad bit better, but nothing beats seeing all these wonderful faces in person....

Knowing my luck, I would have been in the Hal McRae Division, with my 1997 Baltimore Orioles facing Ron Emch's 1982 Milwaukee Brewers... Why would I assume that? Well.. Each of my first three tournaments, I always had my friend Ron to face in my division.

Sorry, that I had to break our streak Ron.

I cringe at the thought that I will forever be guessing my chances with such a underrated gem in the 97' Orioles, wondering how they would have performed... I do plan to use this team in a future tournament somewhere, I owe the team that.

But the reality is that I was not there, I was not 1 of 17 attendees that made it to all four Greater Michigan Tournaments, there are 16 members to accomplish that feat. I will say, I do not plan to miss another Michigan tourney.

The scene at the Greater Michigan APBA Baseball Tournament IV.
It is our love that keeps bringing us back to this wonderful tournament, and the friendships that we have made along the way.

The size of the tournament has been steadily increasing through the years...

  • 2015 (31 Managers)
  • 2016 (35 Managers)
  • 2017 (39 Managers)
  • 2018 (48 Managers)
Next March's tournament has already 48 managers signed up.

I think it was a good move decreasing the opening bracket games from 10 to 8, entering 2017's tournament. 10 games was a lot, which was the case in 2016, when my 1993 Atlanta Braves went 8-2 in the opening bracket, and then sweeping the 3 playoff games (11-2) to win the GMABT II.

Another thing that is quite noticeable is how much the family dynamic has increased since the first tournament, more families are involved, which is a great thing, passing this wonderful game down from generation to generation. 

Rich mentions the family dynamic in the following Thank-you Facebook post below...

Speaking of family, all of these wonderful people that we have become friends with due to all these tournaments has made us one complete APBA family. It is good to know that we can find healthy escapes like APBA, in which for a day or a couple days of the year, we can go manage a team, relive our childhood, in an attempt to lead our team to the championship.

*** More Results, News & Photos of the GMABT IV to come... ***


  1. Missed you buddy. And you would have loved playing me. I got smoked in the fist 5 games, and I don't mean by a little. The other teams averaged 9 runs against me, with Cameron scoring 14 against me. Just brutal. You know, there's always Toledo. And John Roels announced a tournament in Grand Rapids in November of this year.

  2. Hey Shawn :) you were missed :)


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