24
January

Locomotives advance to Boys of Summer NLCS!

imageSaturday was quite a day baseball-wise.  Last night was the University of Illinois annual Hot Stove Banquet which is always one the highlights of my winter.  It was especially exciting since Dodgers star Steve Garvey was the keynote speaker. 

Earlier in the morning though, my Urbana Locomotives were facing off against Shawn Baiers’ Traverse City Panthers in the Boys of Summer National League Division Series finale.  It was an away game but Shawn and I decided to play via join.me so we could both play on his computer.  It was Cole Hamels struggling all year till the last month when he got red hot against the Panthers’ Julio Teheran. 

And whatta game.

Hamels really didn’t give the Panthers much of a chance.  He was spot-on for the whole game.  The Locos scored first on a Markakis sac fly.  DJ LeMahieu added some insurance with a 2-run homerun.  That homerun was one of four hits of the game for DJ. 

Hamels ended up giving up just five hits for the game, pitching a 4-0 shutout.  The Locomotives win the NLDS and will advance to the NLCS and will face Brad Stark’s Portland Microbrewers for the right to compete in the World Series. 

Urbana management has deliberated over this and have decided to give co-MVP awards for the NLDS.  DJ LeMahieu went 10 for 23 with six rbis.  His triple in Game 4 won it for Urbana and his homerun in Game 6 gave them the insurance they needed. 

Cole Hamels went 2-0 allowing just three runs in 16 innings.  His shutout in Game 6 clinched the series for the Locos.  Both LeMahieu and Hamels will be adding some hardware to their respective mantles.  

IMG_9163Last night, Garvey spoke a lot about his past as a batboy for the Dodgers, a player for the Michigan State Spartans and the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Throughout the speech, he emphasized what it took to find success both on the field and off.  He thought that it was little things that mattered even on the ballfield.  “Teams that live and die by the three-run homerun will most likely not succeed”, he said.  

It was then when I thought about my Locos.  Why?  Some may look at my choice of players from my roster and turn a cynical eye.  The hitter with the best average on my roster (in real life) is sitting on the bench.  The outfielder with the most homeruns (again, real life) rides the bench.  Delmon Young hit .301 in real life.  His APBA card has a 55-7.  That said, he is  slow OF-1.  Yoenis Cespedes hit 22 homeruns in 2014.  That’s more than any other outfielder on my team.  He is fast and a OF-2 and his card has power numbers 1-0-0-0. 

Neither player started on my playoff lineup as an outfielder or DH.  Who started ahead of them? 

  • Nick Markakis (0-0-0-7-7)
  • Nori Aoki (0-0-7-7-11)
  • Alex Rios (0-0-0-7-11)
  • Josh Reddick (1-3-6-7)
  • George Springer (1-1-6-10, four 14s, 42)

These guys aren’t superstars to be sure.  But they get on base, move runners along, can play the field, and do the little things that win games.  More importantly, they are the outfielders who I’ve played WHEN I’ve won. 

Call me crazy but I’m not changing my strategy against Portland.  I do carry three weak-hitting catchers so Young and Cepesdes will most likely get into the game as a pinch hitter when times get tough. 

Get ready Brad.  We’re going win, Garvey-style. 

Posted by: | Category: League Updates | Tags: , | 1 comment

22
January

Jim Saska hosting Greater Richmond Virginia APBA Baseball Tournament February 20th

IMG_7334-001In its beginning, Jim Saska was a driving force in getting the Chicagoland tournaments going.  In fact, he was one of the people I interviewed for the Tournament Organizer Roundtable late last year. 

However, some of you have noticed that he hasn’t been at the last couple of Chicagoland tournaments though.  That’s because he’s moved on to Richmond, Virginia.  While we in the Chicago area miss Jim at the tournaments, his rolling dice won’t gather any moss.  He’s already started to organize his own tournament in the Richmond area. 

Here are the details according to Jim:

What:  First semi-annual Greater Richmond Virginia APBA Baseball tournament

When: Saturday Feb 20 9am-4pm

Where: At the home of Jim Saska, 9921 Wenatchee Court, Richmond, Virginia 23236

If interested in participating or more information, please contact Jim at .  I’ve included the tournament rules in the GRVABT entry on the APBA Blog Tournament page

If you are in the Richmond area, take advantage of this!  Jim is a great tournament organizer and a greater guy!  

Good luck, Jim!

Posted by: | Category: Tournament | Tags: , , | 1 comment

22
January

Boys of Summer postseason: LeMahieu’s bases-loaded triple forces a Game 5

lemahieu

LeMahieu keeps the Locos’ playoff season alive

Fans of The Boys of Summer APBA League Division series postseason teams are quite excited.  Both the National League and the American League Division series playoffs are going the distance and will play a game 5. 

Brandon Matlock’s South Side Spartans won the first two games of the ALDS only to have Matt Hoeppner’s Swatara Eliminators take games 3 and 4 to force a deciding game.  The winner of that series will play Stray Corrado’s Chicago Nine in the ALCS. 

On the National League side,  it’s been a tight series between my Urbana Locomotives and Shawn Baier’s Traverse City Panthers.  The Locos got off to a good start in Traverse City in game one scoring 5 unanswered runs.  The game was a little too close for comfort though.  The Panthers rallied to make it 9-8 game but Urbana did hold on to win the game.  In game 2, Tanner Roark pitched brilliantly but the Locomotive offense never left the station.  Traverse City won 1-0 in 13 innings. 

Back in Urbana for Game 3, it was a back-and-forth game.  The Panthers were up, then Adrian Beltre drove in two to put us up 2-1.  Locos pitching sputtered allowing a homer to Wilmer Flores and Miguel Cabrera.  By the end of the game, it was Panthers 6 Urbana 2 and our backs were to the wall. 

In game 4, homeruns by Panthers Cabrera and Flores (again) made the score 5-2 and Urbana fans were beginning to get a little discouraged.  Delmon Young was even on the phone reserving his tee time for next week.  Then with the bases loaded in the 7th inning, DJ LeMahieu hit a 3-run triple.  When all was said and done, Urbana won 8-5.  Even replacement catcher Andrew Susac hit a solo homer to help the cause. 

What’s next?

Shawn and I have Game 5 left.  Normally, this would be a home game at Traverse City and Shawn would be playing the game.  However, at the suggestion of Stray Corrado, we will be playing the game using join.me, an online screen-sharing program, which will allow me to participate in the game. 

Shawn and I will be playing Game 5 Saturday at 11am ET.  Probable starters are Cole Hamels for Urbana and Julio Teheran for Traverse City.  The winner of this game will go on to play Brad Stark’s Portland Microbrewers in the NLCS.  The loser will just go home.

Delmon, might want to cancel those reservations! 

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20
January

Manager wanted: Mid-West Winter League

newsimageI’m posting this for friend Stray Corrado.  If you love baseball and love APBA Baseball for Windows, this might be the league for you. 

****

The Mid-West Winter League has ONE OPEN TEAM. We are completing the Draft for the 1991 Season & will have games underway soon.

Do the following statements describe you?

  • Passionate about the game of Baseball / APBA / BBW?
  • Interested in both on-field strategy and front-office maneuvering?
  • Knowledgeable about baseball during the 1991 to present day.
  • Capable of giving at least a five-year commitment to a fantasy baseball league.
  • Willing to put in pre-season and post-season work, such as preparing for the draft, making off-season trades and voting on post-season awards and rule changes.
  • Possesses the time to play weekly series from Thursday afternoon through Sunday morning, as well as the time for short summary write- ups.
  • Owns Baseball for Windows version 5.75
  • Plays well with others.
  • Has E-Mail access for sending and receiving league files.

If this describes you, then you’re just the type of owner we’re looking for. You could be one of us. You belong in one of the best leagues around, and that’s what we have in the MWWL.
Chances are you already know something about the MWWL by now, but in case you don’t, here are a few reasons why you won’t find a better simulation baseball experience:

  • One of the BEST league websites around, without a doubt.
  • Great owners – intelligent guys who care about the game and are ready to talk baseball any time, all the time.
  • In-depth post-season awards- MVP, Cy Young, Rookie of the Year, Gold Gloves, Reliever of the Year, enjoy the feeling of watching your player win one of these coveted awards.
  • The MWWL All-Star game, featuring the best of the best, and rotating yearly to deserving owners.
  • The Draft includes both a LIVE DRAFT & List Draft.

The Open Team is the Missouri Black Bears.  You can access the team’s page & Roster from this link.

To Apply for this Franchise – please go here.

So there you have it one of the best leagues around is, naturally, looking for the best owners around. If you’re one of them, don’t hesitate to head over to the web site and send in your application.  We look forward to hearing back from you.

Franchise Fees are required $25.00 for a full calendar year.  Waived for Year One.

Posted by: | Category: League Opening | Tags: , | Leave a comment

19
January

Terrible Card Tuesday: 1966 Alex Johnson

johnson

I like anomalies and strangeness.  I guess it’s why I do things like Terrible Tuesday and Weird Wednesday.  Cards like today’s 1966 Alex Johnson fit in well.  I’ve been playing Johnson in my 1966 replay this whole time without realizing he was the same Alex Johnson who won the batting crown for the Angels in 1970.   I mean Johnson is a common name. 

For the Cardinals in 1966, Johnson hit just .186 with two homers in 86 at-bats in real life.  I’m using actual lineups in my replay and the Cardinals still haven’t realized that he’s not the outfielder they need in point that I’m at.  It’s May 6th in my replay and he’s still starting a good majority of the games.  He’s living up to his real life stats though.  He has the lowest batting average among qualifiers with a .108 mark in my replay. 

Split G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG
1966 Totals 25 91 86 7 16 0 1 2 6 1 5 18 .186 .231 .279
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/19/2016.

 

Johnson is fast and has a 15-10.  And if you roll a zero, look out!  But that’s the thing.  He only has the one 66-0. 

Ugly numbers:  51-40, 33-8, 11-7

Johnson’s number are sure to improve in a couple of years. 

If you’re curious, here are the lowest BA among qualifiers in my 1966 replay (May 6).

Player Team PA Lowest AVG
Johnson, Alex StL 79 .108
Nicholson, Dave Hou 45 .114
Gentile, Jim Hou 68 .115
Williams, Billy Chi 86 .154
White, Bill Phi 71 .157
Hundley, Randy Chi 80 .162
Brown, Ollie SF 43 .167
McMillan, Roy NYM 55 .174
Pinson, Vada Cin 80 .178
Woodward Atl 57 .180

Posted by: | Category: Card Analysis | Tags: , , | 4 comments

18
January

Monster Card Monday: 1994 Frank Thomas

big hurt 94

Rob Spatz rolled quite the game with 1994 Frank Thomas.  As you might be able to see from the photo above, The Big Hurt hit four straight homers in a game for Rob.  Thomas had the card to do it, too. 

Frank Thomas won his second straight AL MVP award with the White Sox in the strike-shortened 1994 season.  With a .353 batting average, Thomas led the league with 106 runs, 109 walks as well as a .487 on-base percentage and a .729 slugging percentage.  The Big Hurt hit 34 doubles and 38 homeruns and drove home 101 runs.

Split G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB SO BA OBP SLG
1994 Totals 113 517 399 106 141 34 1 38 101 2 109 61 .353 .487 .729
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 1/18/2016.

 

I’ve said this before but looking at qualities of APBA monster cards, it’s one thing to see where the hit numbers are but it’s another to see numbers that AREN’T outs where they usually are.  Thomas historically has cards that excel at this.  I usually look at dice roll numbers like 24, 26 and 46.  Thomas’ 1994 card hits the trifecta with his 1994 card.  He has a 24-37, 26-14 and a 46-41. 

Of course, his hit numbers are great too.  His power is fantastic with numbers 1-1-5-5-6.  He may not look like a .353 hitter with a 15-8 but consider that he has seven 14s on his card.  Quick and dirty, his card figures to hit around .344, probably a little higher because of the two unusual numbers. 

Fun numbers:  22-5, 26-14, 46-41

This card is all the better because Thomas is rated as a J-0 in the strike-shortened 1994 season.  He hit 38 homers in 399 at-bats. 

Alas, the 1B-2 is probably well-deserved.  Thomas played the majority of the 1994 season in the field. 

thanks, Rob!

Note: I just noticed I did a MCM of the original 94 Thomas card last year.  It looks like APBA didn’t change his card too much.

Posted by: | Category: Card Analysis | Tags: , , | 1 comment

17
January

Small victories: Twin City Thunderchickens avoid 100 losses

imageSometimes depending on the situation, the bar for elation is lowered.  For example, in the Boys of Summer League, I’m thrilled that I’m in the NL playoffs against tough Shawn Baier. 

On the other hand, I just rolled my last dice roll for the 2015 season for the Illowa APBA League.  We won the last two games against Chuck Lucas’ Northside Hitmen to narrowly avoid a 100-loss season.  We ended up 63-99.  In a way, I’m happy about that I guess.

It’s been another tough year for the Thunderchickens who will most likely end up in last place but we still have some highlights to share. 

Hitting

Outfielder JD Martinez made his presence known from the start once we acquired him in a trade.  He led the team in batting (.301) in a pitching-rich Illowa League.  He also paced the team in rbis (73) and slugging (.559). 

Jose Reyes started the season off slow but he came out of his slump and led the team in runs scored (74), stolen bases (29) and even hits (143). 

Who led the team in homers?  Well, Martinez did for most of the season.  Around the 144 game mark, catcher Yan Gomes caught fire and hit seven dingers in eleven games.  He ended up with 30 homeruns and eclipsed Martinez by just two.  Gomes also came in second in rbis with 72, one behind leader Martinez. 

Pitching

Stephen Strasburg was our main force in the Thunderchicken rotation all year.  The only pitcher in double figures in wins, he led the team with a 14-6 record and ERA with a 2.89 mark.  He also led the Chickens in strikeouts (212), innings pitched (212), and was tied with Francisco Liriano with three shutouts. 

Jeurys Familia was our go-to guy in the pen when the game was on the line.  He racked up 17 saves and had a 2.69 ERA.  Curiously, Aaron Crow (CW) had the second best ERA from the pen (2.69).  Even curiouser, Jeremy Hellickson our mop-up guy, put together a 2.72 ERA in 36 1/3 innings as a DY. 

Final thoughts

Earlier on in the season, I wrote that our team batting average was down and “nobody was hitting”.  Well, we must have picked things up.  I remember most/many hitters were hitting a buck-something.  By the end of the season, only three hitters were hitting under .200.  Either I was rolling better or other teams were looking at their limits and were forced to go to their C pitching more often. 

Here are the full stats for the 2015 Twin City Thunderchickens.  Good luck to the IAL teams who go the playoffs. 

Posted by: | Category: League Updates | Tags: , | 2 comments

16
January

1966 replay: Marichal can’t fight off Drysdale and the Dodgers

giants rot-003

dodgers rot-003

Tonight, I played the highly anticipated Dodgers-Giants two-game series in my 1966 replay which took place on May 3-4, 1966.  The first game had a tough pitching matchup between Juan Marichal (AXZ) and Don Drysdale (CYZ).  Marichal was coming off of two straight shutouts but it seems nobody can stop LA this season.  They came in with a 15-4 record and haven’t lost since April 20th.  Meanwhile, San Francisco had been sub-performing with a 9-10 record despite the efforts of Willie Mays who is tied for the league lead in homers.

Well give Marichal credit.  For eight innings, he didn’t give up a hit.  In the second inning though, he gave up three.  Two of those hits were homeruns too.  One was a two-run shot by Jim “Frenchy” Lefebvre.  Johnny Roseboro immediately followed it up with a solo shot, his first homerun of the year. 

For his part, Drysdale did pretty well too.  He pitched a five-hitter.  He got into a little trouble fueled by a Lefebvre error.  Jimmie Ray Hart hit a bases loaded single to drive home two runs for San Francisco’s only score of the day. 
LA 3  SF 2

On the next day, Claude Osteen (B) just did have what it took and gave up six runs in three innings.  Willie Mays continues his torrid season (.315, 6 HR, 14 rbis) and went 3 for 3 with two doubles. 

San Fran had Joe Gibbon (CYZ) on the hill and he finally put the Dodgers in their place with a complete game win giving up just two runs. 
SF 6 LA 2

Lefebvre’s homerun in the first game puts him in a tie for the league lead with Pittsburgh’s Bob Bailey and the Giants’ Willie Mays. 

Player Team Homeruns
Bailey, Bob Pit 6
Mays, Willie SF 6
Lefebvre, Jim LA 6
Alou, Felipe Atl 5
Javier, Julian StL 5
Wynn, Jimmy Hou 5
Bateman, John Hou 5
Kranepool, Ed NYM 4
Brock, Lou StL 4
McCovey, Willie SF 4
Fairly, Ron LA 4
Allen, Dick Phi 4
Ferrara, Al LA 4
Clemente, Roberto Pit 4
Aaron, Henry Atl 4
Hart, Jim SF 4

 

The ERA leaderboard changed a bit in last two games.  Marichal (2.09) dropped a few spots and Drysdale passed him with his nifty 2.00 ERA.  Osteen who was hanging in there dropped out with his still very respectable 2.45 ERA.  Unfortunately, he has four of LA’s five losses. 

Player Team IP ERA 
McGraw, Tug NYM 18    0.00
Dierker, Larry Hou 27    1.00
Maloney, Jim Cin 25    1.80
Gibson, Bob StL 34 2/3 1.82
Koufax, Sandy LA 43    1.88
Drysdale, Don LA 36    2.00
Blass, Steve Pit 31    2.03
Sutton, Don LA 39    2.08
Marichal, Juan SF 43    2.09
Ellsworth, Dick Chi 27 2/3 2.28

 

Yes, if you’re wondering, the Cubs Dick Ellsworth (DZ) really does have a 2.28 ERA.  He’s the Cubs rotation’s shining star. 

Posted by: | Category: replay | Tags: , | 1 comment

15
January

Scott Fennessy’s 1903 replay: Pittsburgh wins a tight one on the road

October 12, 1903

Pittsburgh, PA

It’s a rematch from game 1 as Cy Young and Charles Phillippe square off. The mood in the Boston clubhouse was much more relaxed after their first win in the series, while player-manager Fred Clarke stressed fundamentals and staying within their abilities in the other room.

Both pitchers are dominating and the game was scoreless as the Pirates bat in the 4th. Ginger Beaumont drew a leadoff walk and was on second with two out when Claude Ritchey rips a double to give the Bucs the lead. Claude has had a great series so far and after Tom Leach walks Bill Bransfield hits a single just to the left of shortstop Freddy Parent for an RBI single. Ed Phelps walks to load the bases, but Phillippe is retired, and the inning ends with the Pirates on top 2-0.

The score remained the same when the Red Sox fight back when Pat Dougherty worked VERY hard and draws a leadoff walk from Phillippe and moved to second with one out. Jimmy Collins hits a single to right and the run scores. Collins moves to second with two out and Parent smokes a drive off the wall in left center for an RBI double to tie the game.

The home team gets the lead back in the bottom of the inning as Clarke walks and moves to second with one out when Leach slips a single just out of Hobe Ferris’ range at second to give the Pirates a 3-2 lead. Young retires the side with no further damage, so this game is not over by a long shot.

Phillippe settles in and keeps the Red Sox off the board, and the Pirates get an insurance run in the 8th on another RBI single by Leach, and Phillippe retires the side in the 9th as the Pirates win 3-2 in a thriller. They go for the series win tomorrow.

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14
January

Rod’s Replay Insider: Which box score system to use?

scoresheet ial

How you keep the box scores for the games in your replay is a very personal selection.  The number of box score formats available is endless. Google box score formats and you get hundreds of examples of different formats that are available.

Some questions worth considering before you settle on a particular box score format:

  1. Will the box score format I select be easy to maintain?
  2. At the end of each game, do I want to compile each individual game box score or do I simply want to have the information in plain view so I can convert the information into a cumulative statistical package?
  3. Will my box score format still be understandable months after I have completed the box score? (more on this later)

The simplest way I have personally found to keep the box scores in order is to record them in a five-subject, college-ruled notebook, (180 or more pages), with each page representing an individual game.

My personal box score format simply lists away and home teams and each team’s lineup, with enough space underneath each team to record the insertion of bench players, with replacements denoted by A, B, C, etc. Pitching changes are denoted with a heavy line at the point where the pitching change occurred, along with the name of the pitcher entering the game.

To denote the end of an inning, I simply use a heavy slash or ” / ” graphic to the immediate lower right of the batter’s name who recorded the third out.

The one-page format allows plenty of room for notes, from highlights to notes, in red, notes that showcase things you want to recall later. Really exceptional highlights are highlighted with a yellow highlighter.

Your choice of box score format is solely up to you.

But, do yourself a favor before you start a replay. Use a box score system that is simple, manageable, and allows you to keep the game information in order without having to overload yourself with too much paper-keeping administration.

Next: An illustrated example of a simple box score for replays.

Read all of Rod’s Replay Insider articles!

Posted by: | Category: replay | Tags: , , | 6 comments

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