Let me explain myself before I start a riot here. I’ve been playing APBA baseball since 1970, 40 of my 53 years on earth. I LOVE the game of baseball, enjoy APBA, especially seeing the stats grow over a long season, trading & drafting to build my ballclub, the Chicago Champions of the Illowa APBA League, for over thirty years.
However I realize there are flaws in the game, it’s not perfect, it’s a dice, tabletop board game. Over the years, the IAL put in place slight modifications to make the game better. One modification was an unusual play chart (used w/o bases empty, 23s & 41s were foul balls with the bases empty), another was the random error chart, and a third is a pitcher’s hitting card (used by all pitchers with less than 10 at bats). We also used a catcher’s throwing chart, based on a catcher’s defensive rating, giving catchers with higher defensive ratings more of a chance to catch a runner trying to steal. We also put into play rules to prevent sacrificing as an offensive weapon, with a runner on 2nd, 8′s & 9′s were just good bunts, rather than play for runner at 3rd fails and 14s were not walks against pitchers with control. Use the infield defense when bringing the infield in. And finally, 9 secondbaseman on 20s & 10 shortstops on 18s do not commit errors with the bases empty. In the old game, you’d say two on doubles and could separately basecoach stealing.
Then a few years ago, the APBA Game Co. came out with new boards. Since then the IAL has been removing these modifications. The first to go was the catcher’s throwing chart, the result, catchers defensive ratings were suddenly not as important as they were before. Next casualty was the error chart, now it was important to know what error numbers your opponents outfielders have, so you know how to position your outfielders (ie., if your opponent has all 15s, put your best outfielder in LF). Also a leadoff man with a 20 or 18 was an extra onbase number, unless your opponent has a 9 2Bman or a 10 SS. Then we went to the game out of the box’s version of coaching, if you coach a guy then he can’t steal & must also be coached on the bases. Finally the unusual play chart bit the dust, now 23s are an extra onbase number & 41s are an onbase number, going to second on an error, with the bases empty. One of the worst things I’ve discovered thus far, since removing modifications in our league, has been a runner on 2B, 2 outs, with a shortstop at bat (you have to basecoach him or risk losing him on an out stealing, thus making the 3rd out at 3B). Then there’s the concern about a big inning being ruined when a firstbaseman (the only guy capable of hitting into a triple play) hitting into a tripleplay on a 41. 39s are automatically doubleplays, with 1st & 2nd. You get the benefit of knowing the possibilities on the table before the dice are rolled, and can take appropriate actions or grit your teeth & suffer the consequences. Then I’ve already lost a game when a play for the runner at 3rd failed, thus nullifying my advantage of having an A&B* pitcher in there.
The only three modifications we still have in place are the pitcher’s hitting card, 9s at 2B & 10s at SS don’t make errors on 20s & 18s with the bases empty, and the infield in goes by the infield defensive rating.
Although my team has gotten off to a sub .500 start, 14-16, this has nothing to do with winning & losing, this has much more to do with playability. The modifications made the playability alot better. What I mean by better is, not being able to whore the game more in order to win. Last year my Champions won 98 games, but I didn’t like not using the error chart, and moving my outfielders around to counteract my opponent’s error numbers.
I’d love to know some of the modifications other leagues are using. And/or your thoughts on whoring APBA in order to win. CLuke’s always promoting Skeetersoft innovations, which might be something to look into. APBA is much more limited than Strat-O-Matic especially regarding pitchers. IMHO, APBA needs as much help as it can get and taking out modifications we’d implemented over the years was not a good move.