Boys of Summer LCS: Urbana looks to make up lost ground

imageThe Boys of Summer National League Championship Series now moves from the cornfields of Urbana to the left coast of Portland, home of the Microbrewers.  After being defeated by the Microbrewers in two straight one-run games, the Urbana Locomotives have some catch-up work to do in the seven game series. 

As reported, matters were made more difficult for the Locomotives with injuries to Nick Markakis and Adrian Beltre in Game 2.  After resting during the traveling day though, Beltre got a clean bill of health from the Locos trainer.  Urbana’s biggest offensive star is ready to play. 

Rightfielder Markakis wasn’t so lucky.  After slamming into the outfield wall chasing a fly ball, it looks like he’ll be out for the rest of the season.  That would include the World Series if the team gets that far. 

Like we have all year, we’re keeping it simple.  Here is the announced lineup for the three-game set in Portland. 

  1. Nori Aoki CF
  2. Aaron Hill 2B
  3. Alex Rios RF
  4. Adrian Beltre 3B
  5. Tyler Colvin DH
  6. Carlos Ruiz C
  7. Garrett Jones 1B
  8. Justin Maxwell LF
  9. Jimmy Rollins SS

With Nick Markakis’ injury, we’re moving Alex Rios over to right.  Rios’ 36 Arm will do the most good over there.  He also moves up to Markakis’ #3 spot in the lineup.  Justin Maxwell will come off the bench and play left.  While Maxwell is no Nick Markakis, he was good enough to get some playing time this year so he has some experience with the Locos.  This year, J-Max batted only .220 but hit 10 homers in 296 at-bats. 

21-game winner Hiroki Kuroda will start off the away series in Portland.  We’ll be trying our luck with Jeremy Hellickson (8-14) in Game 4 while coming back with David Price in Game 5. 

A note about Nick Markakis… he’s one of few players who is on both the Urbana Locomotives and the Twin City Thunderchickens, my team in the Illowa APBA League. 

Markakis doesn’t hit .330 or hit 35 homers or steal 30 bases.  He does all of those things in pretty good moderation.  He’ll hit for a decent average and he’ll hit for some power.  However, he’s also the kind of player that does all the little things right.  He’s fast, he’s a great fielder with a good arm.  He also doesn’t strike out much either.  And in most years (this current year excepted), he plays pretty much every day.  That’s why Markakis gets to play for my teams.


In related news, Aaron Hill and Adrian Beltre were recipients of the BoS Gold Glove Awards which were handed out late last week.  Shawn Baier has the scoop on the BoS league website.

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1905 replay update: Giants win in extra inning thriller

by Scott Fennessy

Cleveland, OH

The Giants hope to continue their roll in game 5 of the series and send Joe McGinnity against Earl Moore of the Indians. So far this has been a very competitive series, and with the exception of game 3 has been very low scoring.

Neither team scores in the first, but the Giants draw first blood when George Browne hits a triple into the right field corner that Jim Jackson has a little trouble corralling. Mike Bowerman then hits a drive to the dead center that hits high off the wall. Harry Bay had a long way to go and his throw to the cutoff man is good enough to hold the Giants catcher to an RBI double. Moore gets Sammy Strang to pop up, but Bill Dahlen’s grounder to Bill Bradley looked routine, but his throw is high, and pulls George Stovall off the bag for an error as the second run of the inning is in. Moore settles down and the inning is over.

Moore struggles through the third but allows no runs, and is rewarded in the bottom of the inning when He hits a fly ball that Sam Mertes somehow drops for an error. Bay is asked to lay down the bunt and he does. It is perfect and Devlin has no play and runners are on first and second. Cotton Turner gets the same sign and he lays down another beautiful bunt, and McGinnity’s only play is at first, and the tying runs are in scoring position.

Napoleon Lajoie, who has been brilliant in this series then delivers the goods again with a solid single to left center field that scores two runs and the game is tied. After a series of pick off attempts, Lajoie then steals second, and Elmer Flick hits a single to left and Lajoie scores the lead run. McGraw comes to the mound for a chat and McGinnity responds with two quick outs, but the Indians now lead 3-2.

While both pitchers are on the ropes for the remainder of this game, neither team scores again until the Giants come through in the 8th inning. Dan McGann hits a leadoff single to left and steals second on the 3rd pitch. Browne moves him over to third and after Bowerman fouls out to Jay Clarke behind the plate Sammy Strang gets a single to left and the game is tied. Dahlen grounds out to end the inning with the score knotted at 3 apiece.

And the battle would continue with no score until the 13th inning when the visitors finally deliver the knockout blow. McGann draws his second walk of the day to start the inning and moved to second with two out on a grounder and scores when Dahlen hits a single to center. McGinnity is retired to end the inning, and the “Iron Man” looks a bit worn down as he takes the hill for the bottom of the inning. Although Jackson gets a one out single the Indians can’t take advantage and the Giants win their third straight game and are on the verge of claiming the title.

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Chicagoland Tournament date set: Let’s roll dem bones on November 15!

Will Doug Schuyler (right) have revenge on his mind after getting set down in the final game by Craig Christian in the Summer tourney?

Set the date!  It’s time for another Chicagoland APBA Tournament!  Jim Saska has emailed me and told me that he and Doug Schuyler have settled on November 15th for the Fall Chicagoland World Series APBA Tournament. 

Here is the official press release from Jim:

“Just wanted to let you know Doug and I have finalized plans for the next Chicagoland tournament.  It will take place at Coleman’s Tavern & Grill in Woodstock on Saturday November 15 beginning at 9am.  Coleman’s is located at 823 Lake Street.  The cost will be between $10-$15 per person which includes lunch and the cost to rent the room.  Our event will be a non-alcoholic event.  Same rules as our tournament last summer.  Contact Jim Saska at to reserve your team and spot.  Deadline to sign up is Nov 1st.”

I’ll post the rules in a separate article but here they are from the last tournament.  In the next couple of days, I will be setting up a registration page as well as a calendar event page for those on Facebook. 

So start thinking about what team you want.  I’ll be posting more details later. 

Wrapup of the Chicagoland Tournament in the summer

Photos from the Chicagoland Tournament in the summer

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Boys of Summer LCS: Locos slow out of the station

portlandIt’s hard to believe that the Urbana Locomotives who took the home field for the Boys of Summer League Championship Series against Brad Stark’s Portland Microbrewers was the same team that went 104-58 during the regular season.  After two games in the LCS, we’re already down 2-0.  Adding insult to injury, we’ve lost two key players to injury.

Both games were one-run games but the from our perspective, the Locomotives never were really in either game.  We had a 1-0 lead in Game 1 but the Microbrewers erased that in the second and we never had the lead again.

Game 1 summary:

We had Cy Young candidate David Price (23-4, 2.35 ERA) going and when we scored one run in the first inning, I thought, “maybe this is all we need” (don’t laugh, it’s happened before with Price).  Nope.  Portland barraged Price with six extra base hits including homers by David Ortiz and Freddie Freeman.  Urbana managed to try to keep up and Adrian Beltre even tied it 4-4 with a 2-run homer in the fifth inning.  However, Freeman’s two-run shot sealed the deal in the sixth inning.

Portland 5  Urbana 4 W- Iwakuma, L- Price

Here’s the Game 1 box score

Game 2 summary:

Game 2 was costly in more ways than one.  Starter Cole Hamels couldn’t contain Freddie Freeman any better than Price.  Freeman homered twice and drove in three runs in the game.  I see an early candidate for LCS MVP should Portland win the series.

Portland starter Matt Harrison kept Urbana to four hits in eight innings.  Fortunately, one of those hits was a Nick Markakis homerun which helped keep the score close.  Markakis didn’t stay in the game long though.  In the seventh inning, he slammed into the wall chasing a ball and was taken out.  The very next inning, Adrian Beltre collided with Carlos Ruiz on a pop foul.  He limped off the field as well.

Portland 4  Urbana 3 W- Harrison, L- Hamels

Here’s the Game 2 box score

Portland reliever Glen Perkins saved both games with four strikeouts in two innings in both games.

Into the Lion’s Den

So now we head into enemy territory in a best of seven series already down two games with the next three games of the series in Portland.  Making matters worse, we’re out our #3 and #4 hitters.  The report from the the trainer tells me that Nick Markakis is out 20 days so if by some miracle we survive the LCS, he’ll most likely be out for the World Series as well.  The trainer tells me that Beltre’s injury is minor and he’ll miss just one day.  There IS a traveling day before the Portland series so maybe Adrian will be ready by then.

The only thing going for us is that our away record (54-27) is actually better than our home record (50-31) for this regular season.  Let’s hope that trend continues.

Go Locos!

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Boys of Summer APBA League: LCS begins!

LocomotivesIt’s playoff time.  The Urbana Locomotives will take on the Portland Microbrewers in the Boys of Summer APBA League National League Championship Series.

Perhaps it was appropriate or even destiny that brought Portland and Urbana to BoS NLCS.  The fans certainly have something in common.  The city of the Microbrewers have their slogan “Keep Portland Weird”  while the home the Locomotives is sometimes disparaging referred to as the “Peoples’ Republic of Urbana”.  The pre-game festivities at both venues will not so much be a tailgate but will probably resemble a Phish concert.

Regardless, the Urbana Locomotives players will be ready.  Our strategy has not changed.  We intend to stick with the lineup and rotation that got us this far and that includes David Price (23-4, 2.35 ERA), Adrian Beltre (.349, 38 HR, 135 rbis) and plenty of timely hitting from Carlos Ruiz, Alex Rios and everyone else. 

Speaking of Ruiz, he is good to go.  During the NL Divisional Series, he rested up from his injury he incurred on the last game of the season.  The commissioner’s file didn’t give me any indication that his head still hurts from beaned.  

Our lineup for the NLDS:

  1. Nori Aoki CF
  2. Nick Markakis RF
  3. Aaron Hill 2B
  4. Adrian Beltre 3B
  5. Alex Rios LF
  6. Tyler Colvin DH
  7. Carlos Ruiz C
  8. Garrett Jones 1B
  9. Jimmy Rollins SS

(BoS season based on 2012 stats)

Our rotation is the same too.  David Price, Cole Hamels, Hideki Kuroda and Jeremy Hellickson.  While we had to cut our roster down to 26 players for the postseason, I just couldn’t cut Colby Lewis who went 11-1 with 2.01 ERA.  He deserves to be on bench when we win the pennant. 

I sincerely wish good luck to series opponent Brad Stark as well as both BoS American League playoff teams.  Bill Gillam and his South Shore Fighting Imps will be taking on Larry Waddell and the Boston Bravos. 

The Imps won 110 games this season so I’m sure Brad Stark joins me as a Bravos fan this week!

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Weird Card Wednesday: 1975 Bob Locker


Reader Steve Ryan sent this Chicago Cubs 1975 Bob Locker card to me.  At first glance, I thought “yeah, a D*ZZ is pretty rare” until Steve pointed out Locker’s stats to me.  Then it hit me.  It’s probably a mistake on the card. 

Baseball Reference confirms that Bob Locker walked 16 batters in 32 2/3 innings far above what should qualify him for a Z let alone a ZZ rating.  I can only attribute this to a card error. 

Perhaps a W was in order for Bob Locker?

I told Steve that back in 1997, John Burkett was on my league team and he was a DZZ starter.  Our league which limited players to their actual playing time, had a rule which doubled the innings of D pitchers because who would want to pitch a D, right?  So I could essentially pitch Burkett as much as I wanted. 

Thanks for the suggestion, Steve!

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Terrible Card Tuesday: 1961 Mel Roach


In my spare time when I’m out with my laptop, I’ve been playing the 1961 season via APBA Baseball for Windows.  It’s a no-frills set-up that I did real quickly.  While I manage the Chicago Cubs and the New York Yankees teams, the computer plays the other teams. 

Mel Roach is a backup outfielder for the ‘61 Cubs.  Even for the Cubs, his “card” is a bit hard to look at.  Roach batted .147 in 75 at-bats with one homer.  He walked five times and struck out 13 times.  

1961 Totals 36 84 75 4 11 2 0 1 7 1 5 13 .147 .217 .213
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/16/2014.

Roach’s card has two zeros but they’re not very solid.  There are thirteen 7s or 11s in the second column.  Mel only has two 8s and two 9s after that giving him an ugly 15-14.  Roach does have a 25-42 along with his two 14s though it’s placed at 25. 

Ugly numbers: 15-14, 51-13, 31-40

Not only is Roach rated in the outfield but he’s also tagged as a 1B-2 and a 2B-5.  He actually put in some time in those positions during the 1961 season.  He played nine games at first base (as much as he did in the outfield) and seven at second. 

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Get your update: BBW 5.75 Update 14

apba_2220_1120310APBA released anther update for APBA Baseball for Windows 5.75.  Here’s the link to download it.  It’s simple enough to do.  Just run the file once you download it. 

Here is what it fixed according to APBA:

League Manager:
Injury report displaying incorrect number of days if player was moved to farm team.
Year-to-Date injury report not displaying team/league acronyms if players were moved to farm team.
Added button to set all players to SF=100 on the A.I.M. edit dialog. Enabled only in the initial A.I.M. edit dialogs.
Added button to reset all players to original SF ratings on the A.I.M. edit dialog. Enabled only in the initial A.I.M. edit dialogs.
A.I.M. edit dialogs – the player list will now show players on the farm teams as well as the parent teams.
Fixed an uncommon problem with the "Standings – On Day" report. If after viewing the report changes were made and saved then team W/L records could display incorrectly in some dialogs. A.I.M. fatigue status (Rested, Ready, etc.) could also be affected.

Advanced Draft:
Fixed minor display issues in the Lineup Edit dialog.

Resolved an issue with win reassignments for relief pitchers.

Fixed some minor issues with the "Select" dialog.
Players who qualify for some leaderboards were left off those boards if moved to farm teams.

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Monster Card Monday: 1985 Don Mattingly


Historically, there are very few 1B-5 out there. To find one with a 15-7 on his card is even more rare.  Yankee Don Mattingly of 1985 fits the bill. 

In 1985, Don Mattingly not only hit .324 with 35 homers but he also led the AL with 48 doubles, 145 rbis and 370 total bases.  He started 159 games and racked up 727 plate appearances.

For his effort, Mattingly got his due.  He went to the 1985 All-Star Game, won a Gold Glove and the Silver Slugger award for first base.  Ultimately, he was named the American League Most Valuable Player in 1985. 

1985 Totals 159 727 652 107 211 48 3 35 145 2 56 41 .324 .371 .567
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 9/14/2014.

On his card, Mattingly gets the nickname “Donbo” which I frankly, have never heard.  Maybe “Donnie Baseball” wouldn’t have fit on the card. 

Mattingly gets a very solid hitting card that could hit pretty much anywhere in the lineup.  He has power with extra base numbers of 1-5-5-6 and hit numbers of 7-7- 7-8-8-8-9-9.  Because the 12 was placed at 42 in 1985, his last 9 gets pushed all the way out to 64. 

Fun numbers: 33-5, 15-7, 1B-5

Mattingly also likes to move runners along.  He only has one thirteen on his card.

Don Mattingly had the unfortunate timing to be a Yankee during one of their leanest eras.  During his career from 1982-1995, he only saw the postseason once, in his very last year.  In 1995, the Yankees were knocked out the playoffs by Seattle 3 games to 2.  You couldn’t blame Donnie Baseball for the Yankees’ loss though.  He went 10 for 24 with five extra base hits and six rbis for the five-game series. 

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Too little, too late? Twin City Thunderchickens showing some life in September

Nick TMaybe my Illowa APBA League got wind of the success of their Urbana Locomotives counterparts in the Boys of Summer APBA League.  Or maybe I just took advantage of a last place team down on their luck.  Either way, my Twin City Thunderchickens shook off a 6-12 August to begin their September in a winning fashion. 

Saturday night, the Thunderchickens and I took on Nick Tegeler and his Iowa Oinkers.  Now. both Nick and I are sitting at the bottom of the Illowa APBA League so this series had no real implications (other than perhaps, who was going to get the first pick in the rookie draft).  My ‘Chickens were up to the task.  We certainly didn’t kill the ball but our pitching lived up to its reputation.  The series started ominously enough with the Thunderchickens winning the first game 1-0 on a fielder’s choice rbi in the bottom of the ninth. 

Some series highlights:

  • Three shutouts (Jeremy Hellickson, Jon Niese and Stephen Strasburg)
  • Four pitchers advanced to Grade A. In addition to the above three, Hyun-jin Ryu was scored on in the eighth and finished with a CG win.
  • We outscored the Oinkers 30-9 in six games. 
  • The Oinkers didn’t score until the 8th inning of the third game
  • To top it off in Game 6, Stephen Strasburg (BXY) pitched a three-hit shutout while striking out 16 batters. Almost more amazing, Mark Buehrle, a CZ with no strikeout letters, struck out 11 in the same game. 

The Oinkers defeated us in Game 5 with Scott Diamond (DRZ) making a start for us.  Ironically, he didn’t get the loss.  Long reliever Joe Kelly gave up the winning run. 

Final series score Thunderchickens 5 Oinkers 1

Nick and I are old friends and win or lose, it was great to see him even it was over Skype.  After our series was over, he picked up his webcam and panned it across his man-cave and showed me his APBA setup.   I’m envious of his method of storing APBA cards using a used library card catalog he had bought (send me some photos, Nick!). 

The Thunderchickens are now 44-58 and still well out of the playoff race.  The IAL All-Star Game weekend is scheduled for October 3-5! 

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