SteveMRyan's Blog

November 16, 2017

People do what they want to do…

Filed under: Uncategorized — stevemryan @ 8:30 am

It’s been around three months since I posted on this blog.  I have quit one part-time job, received a car as a gift from my wife, seen my wife change jobs and been absolutely enjoying my coaching job.

Today is my yearly preventative visit.  Since my wife now works for an insurance company, I have been versed in the art of what to discuss to make sure this visit is 100% paid for by my insurer.

My truck is running well, but with weekly trips to school for road trips, my wife bought me a car that gets about ten more miles per gallon than my truck does.  I’ll drive the truck once a week to keep it ready, but it is now my secondary vehicle.


I worked my two-week notice at the trucking company.  I hated to do this, but coaching is taking a lot of time and I need to be available to help out a bit more at home.  The door is open if I desire to return in the off-season.

Coaching is going well.  Our women’s team had not won a game in three years but are now 3-0.  We play tomorrow evening and that should be a challenge.  Our men’s team is 2-3 but getting better.  We have one returning player and ten freshmen.  The freshmen are having to grow up quickly.  Our returner started playing basketball his junior year of high school but is doing well and is a fantastic leader.


Jayla Stone drives to the hoop as Judson’s Madison Casale looks to defend on the play. Stone had 22 of her 24 points in the second half to lead the Lady Bobcats to a 65-58 victory on Tuesday.

My schedule has not allowed me to make much progress on my 2010-2016 APBA Playoff Tournament.  I have completed the two play-in rounds and six of the first round match-ups.  The 2010 New York Yankees are tied with the 2013 Los Angeles Dodgers at one game each in the seventh series.

This last month I flew to Minneapolis to participate in the Eighth Twin Cities APBA Tournament.  I played with the 1998 Atlanta Braves, but my managing skills were on display as I led the Braves to a dismal 3-7 record.  The other teams had much better leadership so I was happy for them.  A losing record in an APBA tournament is still better than not playing in an APBA tournament.


(Clockwise from left: Cleon Pavlicek, Steve Ryan, Dave Norlander, Gordon Rodell)

Next Spring, I will play in the 4th Greater Michigan APBA Tournament in Jackson Michigan.  I plan on taking the 2002 Boston Red Sox.  Maybe by then, I will be a better manager?

As always, Life is good and even better now that I have more time with my wife!




August 19, 2017

Almost Four Months later…

Filed under: Uncategorized — stevemryan @ 8:59 am

A lot has happened since my last post on April 20, 2017.  I got a part-time job that I enjoy.  I went to the APBA Convention and had a great time.  I have been working more in my coaching position and enjoy it as well.  I have finished my 1938 Cincinnati Reds 1-Run Replay with the Reds winning the pennant but losing the World Series to the New York Yankees.  I have started my 2010-2016 Date-a-Game Tournament.  Life is good!

My new part-time job is on a dock at a trucking company.  I drive a fork truck and move freight around from trailer to trailer.  The biggest advantage is that I leave work at work and don’t get called in when I am off.

The APBA Convention is the highlight of my year.  I see old friends and make new friends.  I was able to see one of my cherished APBA friends inducted into the APBA Hall of Fame.  I participated in the APBA Football Tournament using the 2010 New England Patriots.  I lost my first game in the one-and-done eight-team tourney, but had a blast and may have to participate next year!  Then proceeded to lose my first two games in the APBA Baseball Tournament using the 1998 Atlanta Braves.  I attempted to win my final eight games but failed and went 6-2.  6-4 overall wasn’t good enough to win my division but our division winner made the semi-finals, so that was good.  All four semifinalist were making their first appearances in the APBA Convention Tournament playoffs!

Coaching Men’s and Women’s basketball has been a challenge.  I have been reviewing books and some videos on YouTube to refresh my memory since it has been almost ten years since I coached basketball.  The head coach has an outstanding class of new recruits and we hope to have a successful year.

My 1938 Reds Replay was also a lot of fun.  I constructed my batting order from the actual lineups available and tried to manage the pitchers realistically based on usage in actual games.  I tend to do things a little differently which is aided by the advantage of hindsight and knowing how the players performed during the season.  The Yankees were just too tough but my Reds won a game which was one more than the Cubs won in 1938.

My 1938 Replay led me right into my 2010-2016 Project using the 66 playoff teams from those seasons.  I used a random generator in Excel to make some dates and I play the lineups the teams used on those dates.  So far, the 2015 Yankees have upset the 2016 Cubs and the 2016 Mets beat the 2015 Astros.  In the first series, the 2015 Yankees had ousted the 2016 Giants.  This may take a while as 63 teams remain.  Best of three series take more time than my usual one-and-done format.

I have completed my first season in the APBA BABL League.  I was pleased with the results.  I joined the league after the draft and just basically played games.  I was able to make a trade before games started but nothing that made a difference on my season.  I am looking forward to the draft and putting my mark on the makeup of my team.

Mostly, life has been good.  I am enjoying the extra time with my wife.  Just working part-time has also allowed me to spend time with friends and get caught up on my rest and relaxation.  I have even kept the yard cut!  When I get off work, I usually check to see if my parents are home and drop by for a visit with them.  As I said, “Life is Good!”

April 20, 2017

It’s a long season…

Filed under: Uncategorized — stevemryan @ 2:13 am

I was fortunate to join another APBA League a month or so ago.  It is called Basic APBA Baseball League or BABL.  It will be a bit different from


Screen Capture from my phone of iScore’s Scorecast.

my other ten or so leagues, because this one is a cards and dice league.  We exchange instructions for our teams through email and most of the instructions are in one page Word or Excel format.  I am looking forward to seeing how my team does in the league.

I inherited the team from a league member who had two teams in the league.  Time constraints dictated that he needed to give up one of his teams.  My team isn’t terrible but the offense has to be less than average.  I have scored three, two and three runs in my first three games against two D and one C Graded pitchers.  It will be fun but possibly a long season.

I have been scoring my games using iScore, an iOS, scorekeeping app.  This is done through my iPad2.  I like several of the features of the program not so much as being better than BallScore but being different.  One thing is the ability to send the link to the Scorecast of the game.  This enables someone to follow along as I score the game on my iPad.

iScore also gives me the ability to import team rosters.  This is much better than entering each team one player at a time.  One of our league spreadsheets has the players listed last name, first name but that doesn’t bother me.  I could probably mess with the names in the spreadsheet to fix that before I import the teams but it isn’t that big of a deal.

CardenalJI also like the feature that allows me to add a player picture.  I use the head shots from the player’s baseball-reference page.  This website also has the players’ uniform numbers and I matched it with the current season.  There are some duplicate numbers but again, this isn’t a big deal.

I know most of the guys in the league through the Delphi Forums or from the APBA Convention held the past four or five years in Alpharetta GA.  The APBA Game Company had been in Lancaster PA since 1951 or so but moved to Alpharetta after being bought around 2010.  I have been fortunate to attend the Alpharetta Conventions but wasn’t ever able to attend in Lancaster or the other cities that hosted the event.

Highlanders GS

In my stumblings around the Internet, I found a method for tracking daily progress of players in MLB using Google Sheets and importing the information into a spreadsheet.  I was able to modify the method to have the information for past seasons on a sheet so I could readily access the stats for my players.  ForschBThis is very helpful since most web pages have the information sorted for players by the team they played with during that particular season.  Our teams are drafted onto teams that don’t resemble the teams from the Major Leagues.

I joined the league after the draft for the current season but my team has several players I like.  Some of those players are good and some not so good.  Frank Duffy is one of those players I remember from the Cleveland Indians.  When I first started playing APBA, I liked the Cleveland Indians for some reason I don’t really recall.  I also liked Ron Reed but I believe that was because I had his basketball card.  Not many players play in the NBA and MLB. GrossG It seems more players have played in the NFL and MLB like Brian Jordan, Deion Sanders and of course, Bo Jackson.

I know Danny Ainge played baseball before gaining a few Championships with the NBA’s Boston Celtics, but I don’t recall anyone other than Ron Reed playing for the NBA and MLB.  It seems like there were a few guys in the 1960s who may have played for both leagues.  I would have to look it up.

Recently, Tony  Romo, of the Dallas Cowboys, suited up for the Dallas Mavericks but I don’t think the league approved his contract so he wasn’t able to play in a game.  ReedROne of his opponents in High School (who plays in the NBA) said Romo could have played professional basketball if he hadn’t pursued a career in the NFL.  We will never know for sure.

So after three games, I have two wins and one loss.  The team I am playing is managed by a young man I have had the pleasure of getting to know at the APBA Conventions.  He works for a Minor League team affiliated with the Philadelphia Phillies.GarrR

All of the other leagues I am in use APBA’s Baseball for Windows Program.  Some are using players from the 2016 season and other use players from the past beyond the 2016 season.  BABL is using the 1975 season cards but my BBW seasons mostly go from 1968 through 1988. ValentineB One league is using the 1928 season.  I was previously in a league using the 1910 season, but it folded.  I enjoy baseball in all forms and BBW and APBA C&D are just another way to enjoy this great sport.

There are several Youtube channels dedicated to baseball card & dice games.  One of my favorites isTabletop Baseball.  I also enjoy Baseball Demos.  Other channels also play baseball games but these two are my favorites.  The games used are APBA, Strat-o-Matic, History Maker Baseball, Replay, Payoff Pitch and Statis Pro.  I have forgotten a couple but those are the ones I can recall off the top of my head.  PoleDGames are played live and games are played offline then posted later.  Some games are tournament games, season replays or mini-seasons of 20 to 30 games.  There may be one and done tournaments or best-of series.  Everyone who played does things a little different but the key is to have fun and play the way that keeps the games interesting.  I believe there is no right or wrong way to play the games.  I prefer to make my own lineups.  It keeps me interested and I like to see if I can do better than the historical manager did.

I am probably addicted to these channels and like listening to them in the background as I roll my own games. I find them relaxing and just another way to enjoy baseball.  It seems I have been rambling for a while but it is late and that is what I do.  Like playing baseball games, writing a blog is similar in that sometimes there isn’t a right or wrong way to write.  The key is to have fun and stay interested.

After looking through the players from my team and the pictures I used in this post, I wish I could have a team photo to include.  That would be very cool!

April 3, 2017

For my next project…

Filed under: Uncategorized — stevemryan @ 11:05 am

I am excited about my next APBA project. I watch a lot of videos on YouTube, follow several blogs as well as read recaps on the Delphi Forums’ APBA Between the Lines. I am amazed at the discipline people have in playing games and completing their projects. I usually do much better with shorter projects, especially now that I am working a part-time job.

My current project is a replay of the one-run games for the 1938 Cincinnati Reds. They played 44 one-run games and only won 16 while finishing six games behind the league leader Chicago Cubs. If I can guide the Reds to a .500 record (22-22), that is the six-game improvement that will be needed to possibly overtake the Cubs. It will come down to which games I win or lose but so far I am doing well against the Cubs. The Giants have my number. I haven’t done well against them at all. It is a good thing that 44 games is a lot and I am just replaying the one-run games. Anything can happen.

I believe my next project will be a lot of mini-projects using teams that qualified for the playoffs from the year the coin-flip game began, 2011 or 2012, through the 2016 playoff teams. I will seed the World Series Winners in the top spots with the World Series losers after that. Then the League Championship losers will be next, etc… The seeding with probably be by either run differential, wins, Pythagorean W-L or something along those lines.

I am also undecided if I will use as-played lineups, my lineups, or the players from the lineup on a particular date but in the order I prefer. The problem with as-played lineups is figuring out what to do about players who aren’t carded or were on another team on the date I use for the lineup. That may be a bit confusing, but it will make sense once I determine the final format.

There are tons of way to play the games and I am considering implementing some of the innovations like the APBA Baseball Error Card and Unusual Play Card. The main reason for this is the frequency with which the E4 seems to occur. The Twin Cities APBA Baseball Tourney in which I was fortunate to participate used these charts and I like the outcome. A little randomness with the only downside being an extra roll or two is probably worth it. That is the best thing about APBA. When playing alone I can do it my way. When playing against others we agree to how things should be done before we start.

This is a great game and provides many hours of enjoyment. One of my goals in my project is to use different teams I have. I have all of the seasons since 1901 and a few specials card sets like Original Franchise All-Stars and the Baseball All-Time Stars plus the Negro League Baseball Set. There are also several Great Teams of the Pasts Collections and those are fun to play as well.

The initial investment can seem like a lot. When the time played is taken into account, this hobby is usually pennies per hour. I hope there is a decent following for the Triple Crown races. The year we had the Triple Crown Winner, the cards for the horses were made available to replay the races using the APBA Saddle Racing Game. I am looking forward many more hours of enjoyment!

March 7, 2017

The Greater Michigan APBA Baseball Tournament III

Filed under: Uncategorized — stevemryan @ 5:50 pm

This past Friday, March 3, 2017, my wife, sister-in-law, HoneyBee and I drove to Jackson Michigan so I could participate in the GMABT III.  We intended to leave around 8 am but ended up not leaving town until closer to 9:15 am.  We drove at a steady pace with a few stops for gas, food and to stretch our legs.  We checked into the hotel around 7 pm.

We got settled in then went across the street to Red Lobster to use some of the gift cards we had received for Christmas and our anniversary.  The food was good, but it wasn’t the same as our favorite local Red Lobster in Hixson.

When we arrived back at the hotel, I texted a friend, Greg – also in town for the tournament, and we met in the lobby to catch up and play a practice game with our teams.  Greg was using the 1909 Chicago Cubs and I had selected the 1915 Chicago White Sox.  If I recall correctly, Greg won our practice game.  Greg had also brought me a gift, a wood engraving with the twitter tag for our favorite podcast.  I hung it on the wall in the man-cave when I got home.


The following morning I met Greg in the lobby for some breakfast. Then we set out for Gene’s Steak and Eatery.  Pastor Rich Zawadzki is the host for the tourney and does a great job.  The format is eight games in division play with six division winners and two Wild Cards advancing to a one-and-done championship bracket.  Each division has six to eight teams with each team from the Deadball Era, 1901-1919.

File Mar 07, 3 45 08 PM

I had a tough division with my team, the 1915 Chicago White Sox, the 1907 Chicago Cubs, 1912 Cleveland Naps (Indians), 1912 New York Giants, 1919 Cleveland Indians and the 1919 Cincinnati Reds.  I was fortunate to get a lot of good dice rolls and win my division with a 6-2 record.

File Mar 07, 3 43 57 PM

In the quarter-finals, I played Randy Egan and his 1913 Philadelphia Athletics.  Randy hit and pitched his way to a 5-0 victory and my team was out.

Quarter-Finals GMABT 3

1913 PHA @ 1915 CHW 030417

Randy played Greg in the semi-finals and lost a close game only to see Greg lose a close game, 2-1 in the championship final.For the day, my team performed very well.  I was the 38th or so person to sign up for the tournament and team selection was first-come-first-serve.  I picked a team with three grade A starters and after that, it is just lucky dice.




Thanks to Pastor Rich, I was able to get all of the participating teams from the tournament Facebook page and import them to iScore on my iPad.  With my handwriting challenges, this works much better than me scoring by hand.  I also like the postgame records that are available.

While I was having a blast playing APBA, my wife and her sister were out sightseeing.  They drove all over Michigan and one of their goals was to see a Great Lake.

File Mar 07, 3 47 06 PM

File Mar 07, 3 47 28 PM

File Mar 07, 3 47 43 PM

Mission accomplished!  Did I mention it was cold?  Earlier in the week, the temperature was in the seventies a couple of days in Tennessee.  Michigan hasn’t seen those temperatures yet, or at least while we were there.  But it was a windy and dry cold if that helps to make sense of how cold it really seemed to a couple of Georgia girls.

We left Sunday morning around 8 am to return to Tennessee and got out of town by around 9:15 am or so due to some GPS complications.  We arrived home around 7 pm.  I am already looking forward to the next tournament.

Overall it was a good trip with very few inconveniences.  The vehicle performed well and we weren’t charged for the used toothpicks or chewed up straw the rental company provided.  The also were kind enough to leave a dirty jacket wadded up in the back floorboard, but again, we weren’t charged for that.

I am very fortunate to be married to a loving wife who enjoys my hobby and says that the dice rolling is a welcome and relaxing sound.  She has even played a few APBA games with me and one of these days, I hope she joins me for a tournament.

February 25, 2017

APBAlone Project: 1969 APBA Baseball Tournament

Filed under: Uncategorized — stevemryan @ 6:21 am

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…

Source: APBAlone Project: 1969 APBA Baseball Tournament

February 21, 2017

Sign of the Apocalypse…

Filed under: Uncategorized — stevemryan @ 9:17 am

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

Brief Update…

Filed under: Uncategorized — stevemryan @ 7:33 am

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 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

On the one hand…

Filed under: Uncategorized — stevemryan @ 6:32 am

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

36 Hours On the Road in Three Days

Filed under: Uncategorized — stevemryan @ 9:19 pm

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 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 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.


Custom APBA Envelopes from Jim Fraasch!


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.

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