… in no particular order, mind you.
1. Doug Schuyler’s friendly competiveness
I’ll play APBA with some people and it will be a nice relaxed game. Not with Doug. His personality brings out the most in you and you want to play your best. Fortunately, I was able to split with his 1994 White Sox. It wasn’t easy though. He walloped me 11-0 in the first game and we had to come back with another D pitcher. But when you score 14 runs, even Jamie Moyer’s Dy can win.
Watch out for Doug’s rolling style too. Those dice go flying!
2. Having lunch with Curt Bartel
I’ve briefly chatted with Curt at previous tournaments but this weekend, we had a chance to really talk as we sat down during lunch. I learned about his carpentry business up in Wisconsin and how his sons help him in their spare time.
I also learned that he and Craig “Tower Fiend” Christian are boyhood friends too.
Thanks for chatting, Curt!
3. Coleman and Co. Tavern
Speaking of lunch, Jim Saska picked us a great location for the tournament.
While the Woodstock Public Library worked fine for the past tournaments, the Coleman and Co. Tavern just seemed better suited for our type of event. Nice tables to roll on, great food and good location.
4. Sharing a room with Scott Fennessy
Since there isn’t a train that comes out early enough, Scott Fennessy decided to share a hotel room with me in Woodstock. I’m glad for the company and splitting the costs help. I found out soon after we got there that he was giving me one of his 1984 card sets. Wow! We went through EVERY team reminiscing about players from the 80s and their strengths and shortcomings.
My favorite: Willie Upshaw’s nickname on his APBA card… “Mr March”
5. Seeing some new blood at the tourney
There were some new people at this tournament. Of course, there was tournament winner Cale Mannesto. Ryan Strauss was another new participant too. He had the 1993 Phillies and his matchup with Scott Fennessy’s 1993 Blue Jays (above) was especially interesting.
Chris Witt attended for the first time too but his name wasn’t new to me. He and I have been in touch for a couple years over email and Facebook. It was good to finally meet him.
6. Clark Eichman’s enthusiasm
There’s no one I’ve played APBA who shows more enthusiasm for the game of APBA than Clark Eichman. He takes a fun dice game and makes it real to anyone watching. When the day comes that I make it to the final, I want him to be the announcer.
He gets excited about a 14-30 fly out to left field. It’s refreshing to see, simple as that.
7. Watching the Gaubatz managerial tandem in action
I have to hand it to the husband and wife team of Julie and Michael Gaubatz who managed the 2013 Kansas City Royals. Not only did they pilot the Royals to a divisional win but from my viewpoint they did it with cooperation and seemed to have a lot of fun doing it.
I love my wife dearly but I don’t think neither of us could put up with each other while managing an APBA baseball team. That’s a special relationship that those two have going. I talked to Michael briefly and he seemed like a stand up guy. Both of them were good natured in victory as well as defeat and I’m looking forward to seeing them at future tournaments.
8. My tour of Jim Saska’s basement
After the tournament was over, Scott and I had an hour or so before our train left for Chicago so Jim graciously invited the two of us to his house rather than wait in cold. I’m glad we did.
Jim has an amazing collection of APBA cards that he has very organized in a library card catalog-style drawers. By my guess, he has 50 or 60 sets, organized and labeled for easy access. Very impressive and very motivating for someone like me to get my collection organized too.
I was quite impressed by the whole setup. While the three of us were talking baseball and APBA, we wondered aloud, what does so-and-so’s card look like? With Jim’s organized method, it was so simple to find the card set we needed to find the exact card we wanted to look at.
Not only that, we saw Jim’s very nice baseball book library and compared notes on which books we had read.
Thanks for the invite, Jim! Sure beats waiting out in the cold!
9. My 1987 Cubs’ performance
Finally, I can’t ignore the performance of my 1987 Chicago Cubs. Ok, we didn’t win the tournament and we didn’t even have a winning record (2-4). However, we split against the tough 61 Tigers and the 94 White Sox. We ended up losing both against the 53 Dodgers putting them in the playoffs. That said, we won two which isn’t bad for a last place team. Rafael Palmeiro put on a show against Doug’s 94 Sox by hitting two homers and driving in five runs in one inning (see Doug’s score sheet above).
For the record, Rick Sutcliffe got one win and Jamie Moyer got the other.
We also were in first place in the homerun derby before the playoffs started. Clark’s Brooklyn Dodgers kept on hitting dingers in postseason play and eventually won the Derby.
Most of all, I was happy to see APBA folks of all ages, backgrounds (and dice rolling methods) get together for the purpose of playing APBA and talking baseball. A lot of fun was had by all!
Here’s more info on the Fall 2014 Chicagoland APBA World Series Tournament. More photos from the tournament here.