1969: The 100th Anniversary of MLB My favorite column in the old APBA Journal was written by the late Daryl Hollis. The “APBAlone” column which ran monthly through most of the 70̵…
February 25, 2017
February 21, 2017
I just saw a Survival Kit with a Selfie Stick. Well, it looked like a selfie stick to me. I am guessing it was a survival kit for the impending zombie apocalypse.
Last week was my last day at work. My wife wanted me to quit my job for her birthday. She now says it was the best birthday gift she has ever received. I am currently evaluating my gift giving abilities.
I am semi-retired. I emphasize the retired but should probably concentrate on the semi. I am waiting to sign papers authorizing my background check so I can become an assistant basketball coach at a local college. Last Thursday, I went and watched the men’s and women’s teams play and it was interesting. Saturday I saw the men play again. I am looking forward to this opportunity.
Meanwhile, I am recharging my batteries and trying to become reacquainted with the concept of eight hour nights’ sleep and getting up after it is light outside. This is a peculiar concept and I am curious to embrace it.
I made a four-minute video yesterday for my YouTube channel describing how to import teams to iScore. I created a spreadsheet to help with this and it is much better than entering players one-at-a-time!
On the youtube page, there is a link to my dropbox site to download the Excel Spreadsheet Template I use in the video. It works pretty well and includes everything except uniform numbers.
In approximately ten days I am heading to Jackson, Michigan for the Greater Michigan APBA Baseball Tournament III hosted by Pastor Rich. I was a late entry and selected to use the 1915 Chicago White Sox. They are a decent team that finished in 3rd place during the season. Hopefully, they will do better for me.
The divisions have been posted so I hope to play some practice games before I leave for Michigan. The other division opponents are 1907 Chicago Cubs, 1912 Cleveland Naps, 1912 New York Giants, 1919 Cincinnati Reds and the 1919 Cleveland Indians. Should be some good competition. I look forward to the games.
I am three games into my 1938 Cincinnati Reds replay of their one-run games. So far the Reds have won all three and historically, they only won one of the first three one-run games so they have improved by two games. It is fun to play the games and the research for the replay has been almost as much fun.
I am staying busy as a kept man and actually enjoy the honey do lists my wife has created for me. Life is good and I look forward to my next chapter.
January 13, 2017
Tonight, I return to work after I have 72 hours off. Yes, I count off time in hours because I am that pathetic. My last 72 hour off stretch was, I forget. I know I was off 48 hours from 6 am Christmas Eve to 6 am December 26. I may have had another 48-hour stretch off work but I don’t remember. Sleep deprivation seems to play games with my memory. Who knew? Well, my wife knew and she likes to remind me.
I have been playing APBAGo recently. I can play it on a variety of platforms. My favorite way to play is on my Surface, but I like playing on my iPad as well. I can play on my iPhone, but it is a tad cumbersome as the full screen doesn’t show up on my display. This isn’t a big deal during games, but it makes setting my lineups a struggle. I am closing in on 350 games. I have won more than I have lost but that could change with a few losing streaks. Most of my games have been against the micromanager, Malcolm. I have been fortunate to play in a couple of APBAGo Online Tournaments. Using the 2013 Chicago Cubs, I was able to advance to the semi-finals. Currently, I am using the 1927 Yankees. After receiving a first round bye, I have two rounds and not sure how many rounds are left. I defeated the 2016 Cleveland Indians two games to one in my first round. In my second round, I defeated the 1997 Baltimore Orioles.
I have been able to play my second game in my current project with the 1938 Cincinnati Reds. In this project, I am replaying the one-run games for the Reds. I believe the were eight games under .500 in those games and just finished six games behind the Chicago Cubs. If I can navigate the Reds to a .500 record, they could catch and maybe pass the Cubs. I would then play the 1938 New York Yankees in the World Series. Could be interesting.
I have been using BallStat for a couple of years. Recently, I was shown iScore on the iPad and I like it as well. My concern is that the developer of BallStat passed away shortly after I started using the program so ongoing updates aren’t likely. With iScore, it is currently supported. They do the same thing as far as scoring games,, but BallStat is much better for viewing stats and keeping ongoing records. I like iScore after scoring several games and it does offer some different reports. One thing I like is the Hit Location chart. I use the play description to score with iScore and that is nice as I visualize the results in my head. I have entered the games from my recent trip to Minnesota for the TCABT VI using the 1998 Braves. Here are the Hit Locations from those games:
For some reason, WordPress will not allow me to upload or save the *.png file so maybe the link will work.
I have created several youtube.com videos of APBAGo games. I believe the uploads are automatically sent to Twitter which is also linked to my Facebook page. All of these were set up when I was younger and not experiencing sleep deprivation. In other words, I have no idea how I did it. Ask my wife, she is younger and aside from a major brain injury, I rely on her for just about everything.
That is about it for this update. It is 5:30 am EST. I return to work tonight at 6 pm. I use military time on most of my devices so at least I know if it is before noon when I wake up. Sad.
December 3, 2016
I don’t think I’ve played ten APBA Games in the past two months. I’ve had a couple of weeks where I have worked 84+ hours, so there is that. Hopefully, we will get the new guy at work trained and I will be back on a normal schedule. Besides the money, I have listened to several audiobooks. These eyes don’t read much anymore, but aside from some slight hearing loss, audiobooks are my way to keep up with one of my favorite ways to pass the time.
I generally listen to sports, mostly baseball books, with the occasional piece of fiction thrown in. Right now, I am listening to Bums by Peter Golenbock. In the past month, I have finished Stan Musial by George Vecsey, The Era: 1947-1957 by Rager Kahn, Gill Hodges by Danny Peary & Tom Clavin, Seasons in Hell by Mike Shropshire, Ahead of the Curve by Brian Kenny, From 33rd Street to Camden Yards by John Eisenberg, In Pursuit of Pennants by Mark L Armour & Daniel R Levitt, The Only Rule Is It Has to Work by Ben Lindbergh & Sam Miller, American Jews and America’s Game by Larry Ruttman, Walter Johnson by Henry W Thomas, Baseball Maverick by Steve Kettmann, Yogi Berra by Allen Barra, Red Sox Nation by Peter Golenbock, Negro League Baseball by Neil Lanctot, Ty Cobb by Charles Leerhsen, Big Data Baseball by Travis Sawchik, The Last Hero by Howard Bryant, Willie Mays by James S Hirsch, Stengal by Robert Creamer, Great Baseball Writing by Editors of Sports Illustrated, Ball Four by Jim Bouton, Pinstripe Empire by Marty Appel and The Kid by Ben Bradlee Jr.
I have also listened to a few other books: When the Game Was Ours by Jackie MacMullen, Larry Bird & Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson, Dr J Unabridged by Julius Erving & Karl Taro Greenfield, Wooden by Seth Davis, The Last Cowboy by Mark Ribowsky, American Sniper by Chris Kyle, Jim Defelice & Scott McEwan, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty by James Thurber, Football 101 by Gilbert Klein, The History of Rock ‘n’ Roll in Ten Songs by Greill Marcus, Fantasy Life by Matthew Berry, Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson, Namath by Mark Kriegel, Parcells: A Football Life by Nunyo Demasio & Bill Parcells, Tender Hearts Taste Better in Butter by Weston Ochse, Fifty Years of Great Writing by The Editors of Sports Illustrated, The Legends Club by John Feinstein, The Three Musketeers by Alexander Dumas, Shelter by Harlan Coben, When Pride Still Mattered by David Maraniss, The Match by Mark Frost, The Innocent: A Novel by David Baldacci, Great Football Writing by Rob Fleder (editor), The Playground by Ray Bradbury, Fool Me Once by Harlan Coben, A Mind for Numbers by Barbara Oakley, The Woods by Harlan Coben and The Sign of Four by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.
There are also several other books I have on CD that I picked up in second-hand stores but I can’t remember off of them. I am thankful to my wife for the Audible Membership among the many other things I thank her for. She is the best!
Hopefully, I will be back in the saddle of my APBA chair and rollin’ them bones and flippin’ them cards. At least I have made good use of the time.
October 14, 2016
On Friday morning, September 30 at 6:27am EST, my wife and I left for Maple Grove, Minnesota. I had just completed a 12-hour shift (at 6:00am) and not slept particularly well the day before. My wife started the drive because she was better rested. The idea was that I would sleep and take over later in the afternoon. We were traveling with Honey, Coach had been dropped off at our Vet – for the reasonable price of $24/night, and Diane and Carla were left at home with two large bowls of food and a couple of large water bowls. We put a pillow by Carla’s bowl of food because we suspected she would guard her bowl all weekend while we were gone.
The purpose of the trip was for me to meet some new APBA Friends while competing in the Twin Cities APBA Baseball Tournament VI. (Click on the link for an awesome recap and pictures!) Darrell Skogen was the gracious host and Jim Fraasch organized the event. The odd numbered TCABT events are held on the first Saturday in April while the even numbered events occur on the first Saturday in October. My wife had started a new job in early August. She was still in her 90-day probation period but had notified her boss that she needed this particular weekend off for our trip. I can’t say enough about our relationship and the lengths to which my wife goes to prove her devotion to me. I am truly a very fortunate man!
On the drive, my excitement and opportunity to spend time with my wife prevented me from sleeping much. I work a lot of hours. With my wife now working this was an opportunity to spend time together. We talked and generally enjoyed the trip. We laugh a lot when we are together. Most of our amusement comes from sharing thoughts before we even speak them. We hit Nashville smack in the middle of morning rush hour but there seemed to be a little less construction than usual for the Music City. My boss had been touting Waze as an exceptional navigational app. My boss’ previous recommendations have been questionable due to a couple of poor movies. After watching one of his recommended films, my wife’s feeling was that we would never get those two hours back and I agreed. By the end of our trip, my boss was further vilified by his suggestions – now expanded to the app arena. I’ll just say we used Google Maps for our return home.
We were amused by the number of people participating in distracted driving, mainly phone use, but also eating and grooming. We did encounter one driver looking at the paper. We did do a fair amount of eating in the car during our trip. We tend to limit our driving food to items that require less effort and one-handed maneuvering. We brought some protein bars and some crackers along with other snacks. We had our Yeti cups with ice for our beverages. We also visited gas stations frequently to walk around, stretch our legs and bathroom breaks. Even with a lengthy trip, we wanted to stay as fresh as possible. We kept the gas tank from getting too low and kept an eye on our tire pressure. We both like to travel slow and steady. We resemble the turtle much more than the hare.
During our trip, we observed that Missouri, especially around St Louis, doesn’t have any type of vehicle inspection or other requirements for a vehicle to be considered road-worthy. Iowa is one big God-forsaken cornfield with a lot of two lane roads. Kentucky has signs that say the left lane is intended for passing slower vehicles which is mainly for a tractor-trailer going 50 to pass another tractor-trailer going 45 in a 65 MPH zone – forget using cruise control. Minneapolis/St Paul, MN has some of the most dangerous construction zones with the shortest on/off ramps and the worst detours ever! Other than that, Minnesota has the best roads.
We arrived at our destination around 12:30am CST. Around 10pm, while we were in an area of Iowa between cell phone towers, the place where we had reservations for Friday & Saturday nights called to see if we still planned on keeping our reservations. I called them back and assured them we were in route. I had called Wednesday evening to confirm our reservation and make sure they still accepted pets. This was confirmed along with the pet rate. The Ryder Cup was being held the same weekend in the area and we probably got one of the last remaining rooms. So I imagine the hotel was looking to make sure our room would be used. More on this establishment later.
We got to the room, brought our stuff from the car, set our alarm and went to sleep. My alarm was set for 6:45am since we were only a five-minute drive from Mr Skogen’s house. The shower rod was falling down and there was a unique smell in the hotel so I didn’t have any faith that the water would offer any refreshment properties. My wife is made of much sturdier stock so she actually took a shower and survived. I used deodorant and a fresh change of clothes and went down to check out the free breakfast. Free is a misleading word since the breakfast was included with our room but you get what you pay for. Have I mentioned that we called another budget-type hotel chain after calling Hampton Inn and Hilton Garden Inn and discovering there were no rooms available at the more trusted options? The budget option wanted $240 a night so that was when I researched local events and discovered the Ryder Cup conflict. We were paying $80 a night plus $15 a night for our dog.
I checked the breakfast and tried a bagel but I must have accidentally picked one of the rubber display bagels. That was the most visually appetizing item in the breakfast room so we checked Google and discovered a Chick-Fil-A on the way to the tournament. Breakfast was wonderful and since Chick-Fil-A is a Southern chain, they offer sweet tea north of the Mason-Dixon line. (I am not sure but I believe sweet tea north of the Mason-Dixon line is like Coors Beer east of Colorado – or a Smokey & The Bandit situation!) This was not lost on me due to a previous experience in Lansing, MI 25 years ago. My wife had some of her breakfast combo left over and decided she would save it for later. I had nectar remaining, which would come in handy for sipping on the rest of the day. She dropped me off and headed back to the room for more sleep.
I knew several people at the tourney and it was good to meet new friends as well. We went inside and mulled around for a few minutes before things got underway. There were several people I specifically wanted to meet that I feel I know from either their blogs or YouTube channels. There was one guy there who I didn’t get to meet but we are in at least one BBW email league together. My division was in Mr Skogen’s office area so we were a bit isolated from the other divisions. My second series was against Beau Lofgren, who writes the Minnesota APBA blog. He uses the iScore app to score games on his iPad and I was able to ask him a few questions about that during our games. He was a big help and I have since entered all of my TCABT VI Divisional games into iScore. (I somehow lost them and only have the first two playoff games in iScore.) I also got to play George Adams who has been featured in an APBA’view by Mr Fraasch. I was fortunate to win seven games while only losing three and qualifying for the playoffs as the 2nd Place finisher in my division.
The playoffs were held in the basement after a well done Announcement Show. I was the beneficiary of good rolls and hot dice and matched up with Darrell Skogen’s 2014 Baltimore Orioles in the first round. The dice were with me as I rolled to an 8-1 victory in the opening game. My dice stayed hot in the second game with a 4-2 win. I faced Leroy Arnoldi’s 1977 Philadelphia Phillies in the semi-finals and my luck ran out along with facing a very good team and manager. I am pretty sure if managing ability was more important, I wouldn’t have made it out of Divisional Play. That is one of the things I like about APBA. Hot dice are usually the most important thing which reflects the baseball dictum, “That how baseball go,” as uttered by the wise baseball sage Ron Washington. Mr Arnoldi swept me 3-1 & 4-2 but his hot dice failed him in the finals as Bruce Tyler’s 1930 St Louis Cardinals were crowned TCABT VI Champions. Mr Arnoldi had won the two previous October Twin Cities Tournaments.
My wife picked me up and I shared the days’ events and proclaimed that this was one of the two greatest days of the year, along with the APBA Convention in June. We headed back to the hotel to pack our things and hit the road. My wife said she had to leave the room to finish her breakfast as the smell was ruining her appetite. She tried to sleep but since our room didn’t include a Do Not Disturb door hanger, she was disturbed by housekeeping before she could get much sleep. While we were packing, the girl at the front desk called our room and asked if we had an animal. I replied that we did and when we booked our room as well as when I called to confirm our reservation I had made sure pets were allowed and reminded her we had also checked the fee. The front desk clerk told us that pets weren’t allowed and we hadn’t been charged. I told her we planned to pay the fee. She was a bit rude but if I had to smell that smell all the time, I would be a bit rude too. I reviewed the hotel on tripadvisor.com and it shouldn’t be too hard to pick out mine or my wife’s reviews. We checked out around 8:15pm CST and hit the road.
My wife drove since I was going on about seven hours sleep since I had woken around 2:30pm EST Thursday afternoon. My wife probably had about twice that since she went to bed Thursday evening. Maple Grove is a nice community and the weather was great. I even wore a hoodie I had bought on a clearance sale from the MLBshop.com shop for $17. We are a month away from hoodie weather in Tennessee but Minnesota was brisk approaching chilly. The MLBShop site will have items with previous year’s Playoff/All-Star patches on sale for very good prices. My hoodie was a 2013 Red Sox World Series Championship item for 75% off. I also got a Twins hat with a 2014 All-Star Patch for $15 along with some other items. I love baseball so I will wear almost any team item within reason.
The trip home was much better since we went through Wisconsin and Illinois. There were many more construction zones and even a toll road, but most of our trip was at night and there wasn’t much traffic at all. We did encounter one deer but that was more of a monster sighting/wake-up call than anything. We like the Illinois roads continued our stops every hour and a half or so for fuel, bathrooms, and other pit stops. We stopped at a Denny’s in southern Illinois for breakfast Sunday Morning and it was very good. We arrived home around 3:30pm EST, unpacked the car and I was in bed by 5:30pm. I had to be at work the following morning at 6am and needed some sleep. My alarm woke me up around 4:20am and my routine started over again.
When I finished that stretch of work days on Thursday evening at 6pm, I had a few things to do and was busy pretty much until I returned to work Sunday evening at 6pm. I wasn’t even able to play any APBA but more importantly, I got the lawn mower tuned up for what would be one of the last yard cuts of the year. We have even looked at different APBA Tournaments and hope to maybe return to Minnesota in April or possibly try another event in Michigan.
September 26, 2016
July 31, 1992 – September 25, 2016
Like a comet across the sky, if you weren’t looking for it, you might have missed it.
This Friday, my wife, Honey and I plan to drive to Maple Grove, Minnesota. Coach is going to the Vet Kennel for the weekend and Carla and Diane will be tasked with protecting the house. Honey loves a road trip and at her age, we are reluctant to leave her at home. According to GoogleMaps, it is approximately 2100 miles roundtrip. We are looking forward to a good time together. I will probably sleep a bit during the ride.
It is a long trip for me to play ten APBA games in the TCABT VI. While long and quick, this trip will be a welcome break. I am in a rough division and optimistically, hope to split with the 1966 Astros and 2008 Cubs. The 1939 Yankees, 1930 Cardinals and 1990 A’s are extremely tough and can score twenty runs in any given game. That makes 2-8 a realistic possibility. I hope to catch a few breaks and go 5-5. I will be competing against the other managers as well as my own fatigue. I do have some experience competing in the APBA Convention in Alpharetta the past few years. My first year there I started 1-4 and finished 4-1 to end with a 5-5 overall record. APBA is more about friends and community than a silly little tabletop baseball game. I expect to have a great time and am very excited regardless of the outcome during the games.
I am finishing an APBA project with the 1965 Baseball set. Using the challonge.com bracket site, I created four groups and am playing games to determine group winners. The four winners will play in a quick one-&-done tournament to decide the Champion. It has been a lot of fun. So far the Reds, Braves, and Yankees have advanced. The Dodgers are leading the final group at the halfway point. Like most of my APBA games, I am posting results at the Delphi site on the APBA Between the Lines Forum. If interested, look for The Twenty 65ers folder.
My next project will be something on a much larger scale. I have done my research and determined that the 1938 Reds had a dismal 16-28 record in 1-run games. They finished in 4th place just six games behind the pennant-winning Chicago Cubs. I am just going to replay those 1-run games for the Reds. If I can go 22-22, that should make it interesting depending on the head-to-head games with the Cubs. I don’t know much about that season beyond Johnny Vander Meer’s back-to-back no-hitters. Neither of those games was a 1-run game so I won’t be replaying either of those games. I am looking forward to getting into that project! Results will also be posted at Delphi in the APBA Between the Lines Forum.
I read an interesting article concerning Bruce Springsteen and how the article’s author associated certain songs with the timeline of her life through the prism of Bruce Springsteen’s work. I got to thinking about the soundtrack of my life. What songs would I hear or better still, what songs take me back in time? I enjoy several recording artists and a few songs stand out. There are a couple I associate with breaking up from old girlfriends. There are a few that take me back to the summertime when I was young. And there are others that help me attain a particular state of mind.
Music can be a powerful trigger for memories or moods. I see our hot basement in August passing the time with AFX until school was back in session. I remember a college instructor asking us to choose a song that we felt currently captured our persona. I didn’t know a single song any of my classmates chose and they probably didn’t recognize the song I chose, Over The Rhine’s, “I Don’t Wanna Waste Your Time.” The song is from their album, “The Trumpet Child.” I have had that CD in my truck for close to six years. It is a favorite of mine but I chose that song for the title as much as anything. I won’t deny there could have been a tongue firmly planted in my cheek. Oddly enough, the teacher asked me to borrow the CD since she enjoyed the singer’s voice. It might have been due to me being twice as old as the other people in the class and closer to the instructor’s age than the other students.
Natalie Cole takes me back to a particular job since I had her “Unforgettable” CD in the CD player the four years I worked there and played it daily. Kenny Rogers’ songs make me think about hot afternoons stacking Little Debbie cases in trailers during my time with the Shipping Department at the bakery. Similarly, theme songs for TV shows have the same effect. Sanford & Son reminds me of evenings watching TBS with my grandfather since it came on before and after the Braves games. Other shows and songs rekindle different memories, some bad but the vast majority are good and make me smile.
This week should be fun and I only need to burn one vacation day for the trip. In the meantime, the excitement might make sleep difficult. Then again, sometimes fatigue simply wins.
September 11, 2016
In 1997 Keyshawn Johnson had a book published. In that book, he hoped to explain how he would help turn the Jets from losers into winners. The title of the book sounds interesting but if I was writing a book, I would change three words in the title to chronicle my drive to work. I would change the second word from Give to Hang. I would change the third word from Me to Up. Then I would change the sixth word from Ball to Phone.
My daily commute on the way home when I work days or to work when I am on the night shift is between 5:30pm until about 6:30pm. I am usually in the minority when I work nights because I am on my way to work when everyone else is on their way home. People feel they have to be taking advantage of the drive time by communicating with other people. Hands-Free is the second best way to go. Just driving is the best way. Today I was crossing Chickamauga Dam, speed limit 55, and I passed a woman who was in the fast lane. I was going 40 Mph so she was going 35ish. But she was doing two things at once, driving and talking on her cell. Granted, traffic was bumper to bumper but there were close to 200 yds between her car and the car in front of her.
I wish Tennessee had some type of law against cell phone-distracted driving. Maybe they do. My wife and I have made a pact with each other not to talk when we are driving unless we can do so using a hands-free device or speaker phone if we are stopped at a red light. We both feel that anything we have to say to each other is secondary to surviving the journey to our destination. This is even true if we need to make an extra trip because we might have needed something from the store along the way.
I enjoy listening to books and have a monthly membership to the Audible.com Book Club. For about $15 I can download one book each month. I also receive daily specials, usually under $5, that might interest me. Usually, I get one of those specials about once every three months or so. A couple of weeks ago I bought a David Baldacci book that was very good. It was part of a series with the main character who does some type of contract work for a government agency. In that particular book, the hero saved the President from an assassin. He also helped a girl who became an orphan.
Lots of kids overcome difficult situations in becoming who they are as adults. I have been fortunate to have great parents who have guided me and helped me throughout my life. There have also been other people who have had a lot of influence. I have been very fortunate. If I have had much adversity or difficulties to overcome, those situations have been 100% self-inflicted.
One Saturday this past December, my dad came by my house and I remember we had a discussion about installing a motion sensor security light above our garage doors. He said he could help me and I looked forward to spending time with him as much as installing the light. My dad is probably the most reliable person I have known in my whole life and I strive to be like him.
I’m still waiting to put up that light. The Wednesday after that conversation, my Dad had a terrible accident while driving his delivery route. Our best Christmas Gift was him surviving the crash. He is still recovering from the injuries he received almost 270 days ago. That has caused me to think about my dad a lot in the past few months. He has had a positive outlook and keeps hoping for a full recovery even as he is still walking with a walker or cane and on a feeding tube.
As I grow older I enjoy my technical devices and enjoy being able to ‘Google’ information or watch instructional videos on YouTube. I understand that technology is a tool and not the be all and end all – to use a Shakespearean phrase. (And yes, I googled that.) I recently acquired some wooden items to assist my enjoyment in my APBA hobby. I watched some YouTube videos to help me put a coating on the items so they would be protected from the wear and tear of constant use and travel. I also understand that I could find information using Google or YouTube to put up the light but I’ll wait for Dad.
Rudyard Kipling grew up in India and was sent to a boarding house for his education at the age of five. The boarding house parents treated him and his sister cruelly. As a child, he felt it was meant to be and would just get worse if he said something. Most of his stories revolve around a theme of children needing their fathers. The Jungle Book is basically about how Mowgli needs his dad. Most of the statistics indicate that having both parents plays a vital role in how offspring approach and succeed in life. I couldn’t agree more.
This past Father’s Day, Gillette had a commercial titled, ‘Go Ask Dad.’ Young men were placed in a room with a computer and asked to look up various information such as how to ask a girl out, how to tie a tie or how to cook an egg. First, the kids tried to perform these tasks using the computer and Google. Then after a few blundered attempts their father walks in and they ask him. The dads all understood their sons and enjoyed showing them how to accomplish these seemingly trivial tasks. At the close of the commercial, the sons all say that their dad was much better at helping them because there is a relationship.
My best source throughout my life has been my dad. I remember a couple of years ago he was helping me repair my dryer. We had gotten the broken part out and replaced it with a new part. We tried it out and it worked well. As we are packing up our tools and Fix-It Book, my dad told me that he and my mom were buying a new place to live and would be moving. I was shocked since I didn’t even know they were looking to move. My mom was having some trouble getting around and was scheduled to have her knee replacement redone. Having everything on a single level made sense. A two-story house wasn’t all that practical for two people approaching their mid-seventies.
I am in my fifties and my wife is in her forties. She is my rock and we love being together. She has been a great help to my parents through their trials in the past few years. I have no doubt that my parents like her better than me at times. I don’t blame them. She is awesome and absolutely my better half.
I am a knucklehead and have made my share of knuckle-headed decisions in my life. I am responsible for my mistakes and have suffered the consequences in spite of my parents’ best efforts. I know that I make my own choices and don’t blame others when things turn out badly. I also know that I must share the credit if by some miracle I can overcome my inefficiencies and things work out well. My best quality is being able to rely on others and accept guidance and direction when it is available. If I am left to my own devices, then things will usually turn into a train wreck. This is part of the aging process and as I get older it seems the more I learn, the less I know.
Currently, I am listening to an audiobook from Sports Illustrated, “Great Football Writing.” This is a good book but some of the stories don’t really interest me. Mainly because sports talk radio killed my enjoyment of the sport of football. Usually, there are two weeks between the NFL Conference Championship Games and the Super Bowl. I understand ratings drives radio, but in those two weeks, there is talk about football that can barely be classified as talk. Well, that is if listening is a qualifier for talking. If a tree falls in the woods and no one hears it…blah, blah, blah. There are so many sports talk radio shows and so few interesting topics that the hosts of those shows try to turn the color of shoe laces into a riveting conversation. I cried, “Uncle!” I stopped listening to talk radio, playing Fantasy Football and in general turned my back on football. With the Super Bowl being played in the early part of February, there are usually plenty of teams still in the hunt for college basketball conference championships plus even more teams on the proverbial Bracket Bubble. I won’t even broach the topic of the Hot Stove, my personal favorite. Football used to be nice distraction between the end of the World Series and Pitchers and Catchers reporting around Valentine’s Day. When I coached middle school basketball the season fit nicely in the void.
Now in all sports, I generally avoid discussions about the qualifications for Halls of Fame. The key word to me is Fame. It falls in the same category as Most Valuable Player with Valuable being the key word. Classifying the various categories for qualifications is ludicrous and inane. That said, while listening to this football audiobook there was a name mentioned that aroused my curiosity, Ken Anderson. I got to looking and he isn’t in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I looked at his numbers on pro-football-reference.com and I guess he is just below the threshold but I liked him and thought that might be an oversight, but I guess not.
I looking at the HOF Inductee list by schools and only two schools’ inductees took up two lines – Notre Dame (13) and Southern Cal (12). None of the schools I attended have any inductees but that might change if Terrell Owens gets elected. Interestingly, the Jimmy Johnson in the Pro Football Hall of Fame went to UCLA and not Arkansas.
I have recently played a few APBA Football Games and it is a lot of fun, even playing solitaire. I have a friend I used to play various football games with either on the computer or video games. I am hoping to get together with him when my work schedule returns to normal because I am certain he will enjoy the game. He was an All-City QB in his town, but that just meant he started on his high school team, the only school in his town. I take credit for a teammate on my high school soccer team being All-South because he was making up for my mistakes. Wouldn’t that sort of make me 2nd team All-South?
Life is good and this particular blog has been written over a span of about four calendar days. I have been working nights for the past eight nights and will return to work for one day after I leave work this morning. For all the talk about safety in my workplace, fatigue is probably the silent assassin. I do try to get my sleep and rest but sometimes it is a struggle. That said, I have been fortunate to have the support and assistance of my wife. Several nights I was happy to have her bring some supper by work so we could have a little time together. When I leave work this morning we are planning on going out for a breakfast date. Nothing fancy, but being with her always make it seem special. Plus, I am sure my dad would be happy to know I watched him my whole life and I had a great role model for how to treat my wife!
August 22, 2016
…And I won’t play. I used to play fantasy baseball and it helped me in my understanding of baseball. Fantasy Football caused me to dislike football. This year I might try to watch some football games other than the Super Bowl. I might not.
The last time I played Fantasy Football, my team was named the Harrison Redskins. I created an offensive logo for my helmet and I believe I let the online league website draft my team.
My biggest problem with Fantasy Football is the injury process. Some teams, like the New England Patriots, seem to respect the players’ privacy in the aspect of the HIPAA Law of 1996. My wife has worked in the healthcare field and understands the HIPAA Law much better than I do. My understanding is that personal healthcare information is a private matter and the injured worker controls the release of that information. This also applies to work related injuries which are what most Fantasy Football Injuries appear to be. My dad had a bad wreck last December 16th, 2015 and it is a Worker’s Comp situation. I hope Football Players don’t have to deal with Liberty Mutual for their claims. The nicest way to say it is Liberty Mutual’s Worker’s Comp division sucks.
My other problem with an injury situation, as it relates to Fantasy Football, is the waiver player pickup process. Most pickups are the first-come-first-serve variety for people actually watching games and trolling the waiver wire looking for available players. This is particularly advantageous when a starting QB or RB experiences a season-ending injury and an obvious replacement is waiting in the wings.
That is just another reason I love APBA Games. Last week, I played a football game. I rolled play results that would have been injuries for key players but I chose to ignore those results.
I do the same when I play APBA Baseball using cards and dice. When I play Baseball for Windows, I let injuries stand since ignoring them isn’t an option.
This morning I rolled a game between the 1965 Twins and the 1965 Cardinals. Jim Kaat won the game for the Twins beating Bob Gibson’s Cardinals 4-2. No players were injured in the rolling of this game and an angel got their wings.
I am still playing my 1965 Tournament and am halfway through Group C with the 1965 Cincinnati Reds and the 1965 Milwaukee Braves advancing to the Knockout Round from Groups A & B respectively. It has been a fun tournament and I am sure I won’t be done until all of the available Fantasy Football Leagues have drafted and teams are claimed.
August 9, 2016
In the Summer of 1977, I was 12 years old and between sixth and seventh grades. I remember following Spiderman in the comics. And every day I checked the standings for the National League West. My Reds seemed to be facing an uphill battle as they tried to win their third World Series in a row. The Reds had the best player in the game in my opinion as George Foster slugged 52 homers. Cincinnati was in 2nd place, 6 1/2 games back of the Dodgers on June 18th. The Dodgers would end up winning the division by 10 games but lose the World Series to the Yankees.
On June 18, 1977 the Yankees were in Fenway Park playing the Red Sox. In the bottom of six, Jim Rice hit a check-swing blooper to right field that Reggie Jackson played into a double. Yankees manager Billy Martin visited the mound to change pitchers and sent Paul Blair to right field for what he perceived as lollygagging on Jackson’s part. That is basically the opening scene in the ESPN presentation of The Bronx is Burning.
This is a well-made show chronicling the Summer of ’77 as the Yankees pursued the AL Pennant and World Series along with the serial killer Son of Sam. New York was in the midst of electing a new mayor and enduring a heatwave that precipitated blackouts due to the demands of air conditioning on the city power grid.
The ESPN story uses what appear to be actual clips from network broadcasts in their telling of the story. My family didn’t have cable in 1977 so the Game of the Week was a weekly event and my best chance to watch baseball. I believe that was the summer we got central heat and air. Even in mid-June, the afternoons were especially hot and we wanted to stay in the air conditioning. I recall watching the game when Blair was sent to right for Jackson. I remember the ensuing blowup in the dugout. It was definitely a zoo in the Bronx.
I didn’t discover APBA until the Spring of 1980. Ads populated the pages of Baseball Digest and The Sporting News. I ordered the game after writing several companies for brochures or information about their games. The brochure I received from the APBA Game Company was pure literature (plus a sample card). Any person studying Marketing should read the APBA brochures to get an idea how to sell a product. I ordered the APBA Baseball game with some money I received for my birthday. When I got home from school I checked the mailbox and front porch every day until the game arrived. My game came with the 1979 Season card set. The first two past seasons I ordered were the 1976 and 1977 sets.
I love the 1976 set because my Reds were awesome. I love the 1977 set because of the possibilities. I swapped Dan Driessen with Rod Carew because the Reds needed a better first-baseman. The Reds let Tony Perez go to the Expos in a trade with Will McEnaney for Woodie Fryman and Dale Murray. Driessen was better than the aging Tony Perez but Carew was the MVP of the American League after hitting .388 with a .449 OBP and .570 SLG for an OPS of 1.019 to lead the Major Leagues.
When I used my 1977 Reds, I didn’t play a set schedule. I pitted the Reds against most of the other teams. I enjoyed learning about other teams and players and usually I followed the suggested lineups on the APBA Roster sheet. The Reds won a lot of games and I seem to recall playing some tournaments and they won their fair share.
I played APBA in the mid-afternoon. The mornings were spent playing tennis because it was cooler in the morning and I could be outside. Later in the afternoon was cooler when the sun was behind the taller trees to the west of the basketball court across the street. Tennis, APBA & basketball. What a Summer!
I played Dizzy Dean Baseball but had broken my toe at school after the third game and limped through the rest of the season. The season ended about the same time the cast came off, a week or so after summer break began. My team didn’t make the playoffs and I was by no stretch an all-star. In Dizzy Dean, all-stars were picked to play on league teams that qualified for district then state playoffs. The previous year, my team had won our district, finished second in the state and gone to the Southern Region Tournament but I skipped all of that to go to camp with my cousin. I didn’t have a good experience with that team. It is a testament to my love for baseball that my passion for the game survived.
I never played for a better team but I had more fun and played for better coaches in other seasons. But once I discovered APBA I entered my own world where I was the coach. My players’ cards were treated fairly and without bias. The cards are still treated fairly.
I am currently playing a World Cup style tournament with the 1965 MLB teams. I have four groups with five teams. Each group plays ten round robin games, four games per team. Each team plays the other teams in their division once. I have completed two groups with the Cincinnati Reds and the Milwaukee Braves advancing. I could play twenty tournaments and probably get ten different winners. I love playing the games though and it is very relaxing.
APBA has been a constant for the last 35+ years. I score the games using Ballscore instead of by hand. I have all of the teams from 1901 to the latest set. Mostly I play eight-team, single elimination tournaments but I play other types of tournaments as well. I have played the APBA Golf, Saddle Racing, Basketball, and Football. Through the years, I always come back to baseball. APBA Baseball pleases me.
July 17, 2016
I jumped off the pop culture train in the late 1980s. Ask me a question about music or most popular TV shows (Seinfeld, Friends…etc) and I draw a blank. I have always followed baseball, but I lost track of the NBA, most of the NFL and I never really kept up with the NHL.
The Internet has helped some. I was working today and looking at a variety of blogs. One was referring to a game company’s Negro League card set for use with their game. The blog was several years old and said the set was still available. Being the curious type, I clicked on the link and discovered the set was available either with a full game or as an individual purchase.
I clicked around on the site and saw something else very intriguing. The company has a basketball game card set available for the 2001-02 NBA Season. One of the points of interest was the fact that the Nets made the NBA Finals. Somehow I had totally missed that. I love Sports-reference.com and the related sites. I looked on basketball-reference.com and sure enough, the Nets were swept by the Lakers. Who knew?
Friday I was surfing the internet at work and was reading about the many satellite APBA tournaments popping up mainly in the upper-Midwest. Several of the tournaments feature divisional round-robin play followed by a single-elimination playoff round. Baseball is not a game that is good at determining a champion in a single elimination format. I prefer at least a best-of-three playoff format.
There is a tournament in central Minnesota the first weekend in October with the best-of-three playoff format. Friday when I returned home from work I asked my wife if she would like to make a quick trip to Minnesota. She said that would be fun. Last night we found a hotel with a vacancy on those dates and we made a reservation. There must be something going on that weekend because there weren’t many vacancies at the hotel chains we were familiar with at reasonable prices.
So I will get to play in my first non-APBA Convention tournament and I am excited. It will be well worth the 30-hour round trip drive. The team selection is a bit less restrictive than the APBA Convention so I will still use the 1998 Atlanta Braves Great Teams of the Past edition. The hitting numbers are rearranged but for the most part, they are the same. There is a small bump for better strikeout ratings and one reliever is an A* up from a B*. Other teams get the same advantage I am sure so it will all even out.
With a new guy being hired at work the overtime should be reduced significantly. Hopefully, we should be back to working around 48 hours a week with no more than six 12-hour shifts in a row. The new hire is younger by 20+ years than the guy he is replacing so there shouldn’t be as many sick call-outs and the newbie probably won’t have as many vacation days. Work should be a less stressful atmosphere.
That is probably why my wife agreed to the quick trip. Last month I had some vacation days but other than that, I was only off work for two days. This month I may have four total off days. I am in the midst of 11 straight days at work. I tend to lose track of days.
So the APBA Tournament will be great. Win or lose I will have a blast. I will know a few people there from the APBA Convention in Alpharetta but I will also meet new friends. Plus, I will get to be with lots of people playing my favorite game. I am excited!