jimsceblog

There's a fine line between visionary and wrong. Unfortunately, it takes a visionary to see it.

SPRING TRAINING – SCOTTSDALE – AND APBA

This past weekend my wife and I hopped on a plane for the short 65 minute flight from Burbank to Phoenix. A short cab ride to the hotel in Scottsdale and by 12:30 we were at the Giants Spring Training facility for the Giants-Mariners game.

If you have never been to Spring Training it is an absolute delight. The crowds are relaxed and friendly, the ballparks small, (like Baseball used to be?), and the atmosphere – party-like. In many ways the actual game is incidental – watch a few innings, walk around, grab a beer or two, watch another inning or two – repeat process.

During one of the ‘walk-around” jaunts I came upon Gaylord Perry, Rollie Fingers, and Darrell Evans, signing autographs. Being a big kid, albeit old at heart, I HAD to get autographs. (How old? you ask; well, if a Cougar was interested in me she’d be in her nineties).

Perry just signed, little to no conversation; Fingers was personable enough – just a few polite sentences; Evans was spectacular. I started my conversation with him by saying his 1985 APBA card killed my chances at my APLA League title as he hit three homers in Game 7 of our World Series. (He he, I believe, 40 homers that year, maybe 41)! His eyes sort of lit up and he asked if I still played APBA.

Now, ordinarily, I get embarrassed playing a game that “seven years old and up” on the box, but, I thought, “what the hell” and I blurted out “YES” – probably with more veracity than I should have. He said a lot of people ask about Strat, but, he was, and still is, an APBA player. For over 30 minutes, while the lined formed behind us, we talked APBA and Baseball. I mentioned that I was costing him money, as I looked at the line behind me, and he said he didn’t care. At any rate he is considering going to the APBA Convention and Tournament in June in Alpharetta and he said he would contact John Herson, APBA’s owner, if I would give him John’s contact info. With that he gave me his email address, I contacted John, he said “absolutely” so, I sent the information to Mr. Evans.

EPILOUG: Saturday, before the ‘Backs-Royals game I was to attend, I met two fellow APBA players for breakfast. Paul McEvoy, (who upgraded BBW 5.5 to 5.75), who lives in the area, came to the hotel. Paul is one of the greatest guys you could ever meet, even if he does have a heavy Boston accent and is an unabashed Red Sox supporter. Paul and I have met on several occasions including, about two weeks before this trip, when he drove round trip from Phoenix to Burbank and back, for an Southern California APBA lunch we have 3-4 times per year.

Also coming to the hotel for breakfast was Jim Fraasch. Jim is an avid APBA player. All it takes is one trip to his web site, (jimsapbabarn.wordpress.com), and you will know what an avid APBA player he is. I had never met Jim before, but, between APBA, baseball, and the whole atmosphere, we hit it off. The three of us  just BS’d for over two hours. As they say – “It don’t get no better than that.”

On the way home on Sunday my wife, (who accepted this short trip as a Valentine’s and Anniversary present – although probably not willingly), pointed out that I talked more about the time I spent with Paul and Jim than anything else, including the time I spent with Darrell Evans and the two HOF players next to him. I thought for a moment and it hit me – the time with these two guys was the highlight of the trip. And that time is what I will remember most about Spring Training 2016.

 

 

TABLETOP SPORTS SIMULATIONS – WHICH IS THE BEST COMPANY?

This question has always intrigued me. There are several companies who make sports simulations games. I am not talking about the hand-eye coordination games like EA Sports, but, rather, the text based games that tout “realistic” stats based on the actual players abilities during any given season.

In my opinion there is no right answer. It’s like asking a guy if he prefers blondes, brunets, or red heads. It’s all in the eye of the beholder. In reality, this is a small niche market. It always seemed to me it should be a “brotherhood” because it is so small; in reality, players of Game “A” usually have a distain for players Game “B” and on it goes. APBA players, for instance, do not like Strat-O-Matic players and vice-versa. It is a strong rivalry not unlike the Giants and Dodgers or the Cubs and Cardinals or the Yankees and whoever they play. It is palpable.

Aficionados of Game “A” will tell you their game is more accurate, or that it feels more like “Baseball” or whatever sport they are playing. Not surprisingly the Players of Game B will say same the same thing. This is like asking me which of my ex-wives do I dislike more. There is no right answer.

While I only have anecdotal evidence I believe  that most of these niche market game players prefer the game they grew up with. Brand loyalty to the “nth” degree in many cases. Everyone’s golden age of sports simulations is the game they grew-up with. I also suspect that these player are, lie myself, aging, and not young. At some point in out youth we saw advertisemen ts for these games in Baseball Digest or Street& Smith’s annual Baseball publication. Whatever caught our eye is the game we bought, and most likely, the game we stuck with.

For me, APBA is the game of choice. I do not like Strat. APBA is more accurate and feels more like Baseball. Incidentally. my best friend is a Strat player. He says the same about Strat. We’ve given up arguing about it. There is no “conversion” coming on either of our parts. The fact is, he is just wrong.

WHY I PLAY APBA BASEBALL

Some may ask why I play APBA Baseball and do season replays or simulations. I call my projects simulations because I do not use actual lineups or transactions. (Other, who do replays, use actual lineups and transactions.

Below is a write-up from a recently played game in my 2012 Sim. Atlanta’s centerfielder, Michael Bourn, throws out the tying run with two out in the bottom of the 8th and Atlanta goes on to win the game.

SUNDAY, MAY 27, 2012
(10 of 15)

WASHINGTON  6 – 7  ATLANTA
J Zimmerma (Byz; 5-2, 3.31) vs Beachy (By; 1-3, 3.12)

BRAVES WIN HOMER FEST, 7-6! DIAZ BLAST PROVES TO BE WINNER!

By all accounts this game was a war. This was the rubber match of a tree game series and, at times, it was clutch versus clutch and today the Braves came out on top, 7-6. There were unlikely hero’s on both sides. Mike Diaz, on a Braves roster spot because Chipper Jones is on the 15 Day DL was the unlikeliest of heroes. His pinch-hit two run bomb gave Atlanta a 7-5 lead a lead they barely hung on to but did.

Washington started fast scoring three runs in the top of the 1st. An RBI double bt Adam LaRoche and a two run jack by Ian Desmond made it 3-0, Washington. In the 4th Desmond delivered yet again, a solo home run that extended the Nationals lead to 4-0. And then the war began.

Juan Francisco, playing third for the DL’d Chipper Jones, became another unlikely hero. He hit a three run homer in the bottom of the 4th to pull Atlanta to within a run, 4-3.

Washington scored again in the 5th when Bryce Harper went deep for a 5-3 Washington lead, and the Atlanta crowd was silenced – but not for long. Solo home runs by Atlanta in the 5th by Martin Prado and Freddy Freeman tied the game at 5-5.

In the 6th Tom Gorzelanny took over for the struggling Jordan Zimmerman – and he struggled, also. Gorzelanny, (3-3), recorded two quick outs then gave up a single to Reed Johnson. Mike Diaz came in to pinch-hit for Atlanta and deposited the game winning home run into the seats for a 7-5 lead.

Washington made one more dash for the lead. It came in the 8th inning with Atlanta’s Chad Durbin on the mound. Desmond walked and one out later Tyler Moore doubled him home and it was back to a one run game. Kurt Suzuki struckout for the second out. Jayson Werth was summoned to pinch-hit for Gorzelanny, and Werth delivered a single to center. Moore tore around third as the next hero of the, Michael Bourn, threw a one bouncer to the plate to nail Moore and preserve the 7-6 Atlanta lead.

Nedless to say, even with Craig Kimbrel taking the hill to close out the game there was a ton of apprehension in the air. Pitchers had not fared well today. Kimbrel, however, was up to the task. He struckout the side – Lombardozzi, Harper and Ryan Zimmerman all went down via the strikeout route.

NOTES:
– Kris Medlin, another unsung hero, worked 1.1 innings for the win and improves to 4-0.
– Atlanta wins the series, 2-1.

 Atlanta 7, Washington 6
Sunday, May 27, 2012

APBA- THE AMAZING HOBBY – PART 1

APBA is a company that make sports simulation game, most notably Baseball, Football, Hockey, Soccer and Golf. With the exception of Baseball all the games are board games. Their Baseball game also has a computer version called Baseball for Windows. All of their games do an excellent job of replicating the respective sports. Players will perform very realistically as long as they are use realistically.

For this post I am going to concentrate on the Baseball for Windows game. This is not how to, or, an explanation of how the game is played. This will be about being “transported” to another time and place in a hostile environment.

Recently a business trip took me from Los Angeles to Atlanta. My 2,000,000 miles or so on Delta alone, and probably another 1,000,000 on other airlines notwithstanding, I hate to fly. I have never seen an industry treat their customers with such distain as the airline industry – unless you count the government as an industry and it’s citizens as it’s customers.

You know the drill. You fight the traffic to get to the airport, you stand in the worst line in the world, (until you get to the security line), to check-in and check you bags. Then, just when it can’t get worse, it does and you are in the security line. It just got worse. Eventually, you make it to the overcrowded gate and start the archaic boarding procedure.

At that point you get to sit in a seat that has been reduced in size by about 33% over the years made all the worse by the fact that I have increased in size by about the same margin over the years. Oh, did I mention the distance between the seats is now microscopic?

This is where APBA comes in; more specifically, APBA’s Baseball for Windows. When we finally reach 10,000′ and I can turn on my laptop and boot up my oasis, APBA Baseball. I am replaying the 1970 season and, in the time it takes for my computer to boot, I am transported back in time by 44 years. I am no longer in a crowded steel tube, I am at Dodger Stadium. I no longer have on a suit and tie, I am in shorts and a tee short. ( few moments later it will be a Baseball uniform). I am longer staring at a seat back, I am standing on the dugout steps making out my lineup card. The Computer Manager makes out it’s lineup card and, in a moment, I am relaxed and ready to “Play Ball.”

The noise of the turbine engines fades into the noise of the crowd and the game begins. A few hours and three games later we are beginning our final decent. My Braves beat the Dodgers, the Cubs won their third straight game, and the Cardinals dropped the Mets.

And, I am relaxed – right until we pull up the gate and it’s time to deplane and the frenzy for aisle space begins. Did I mention I hate to fly?

THIS BLOG

Primarily this blog will be about Baseball, more specifically, a “game” that plays on a computer or a tabletop board game. The name of the game is APBA, and it provides an extremely realistic simulation of the real game of Baseball.

This blog will also touch on other issues, from current events to sports, or, whatever suits my fancy.

A bit about me. I consider myself a moderate conservative on most issues – not a religious right wing-nut. I do have some liberal leanings on other issues, but not a wild-eyed flaming liberal view on issues.

I had intended to start about APBA, what it is, why I enjoy it, and the numerous friend I have made along the way because of this great hobby, but, recent events have caused me to start elsewhere.

OK, so the government is shutting down. Just some random thoughts:
 + Why is the President, the Senate and The House still receiving paychecks? They are not doing their jobs. 
 + If Obamacare is so great why the President, the Senate and the House not subject to it. Why have their own plan when this is  so good. I am not saying it’s good or it’s bad, just that they passed it and touted it as being great, but, they don’t want to be subject to it.
 + Politicians need to have term limits – one term in office and one term in jail.
 + Does anyone else hate our government as I am beginning to? Not our “form” of government, but, the current government. I see our country as in the beginning of a second Revolution. NOBODY feels represented by the current class of clowns that are currently in office.
 + I would love to see a movement to vote every incumbent out of office regardless of party. Every last one. And keep doing it until we get people in office that want to represent us – not rule us.