Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Prairieland and your plans for tomorrow

Well, I didn't get a chance to play in the First Annual Prairieland APBA Tournament.  I was home visiting in Minnesota and my Uncle died.  He was very dear to me and a huge Twins fan.  I would have given him constant updates on the 1969 Twins in the Prairieland had I played.  It is a good time to pause and remember that we all have plans for tomorrow and we must make the most of our time, as tomorrow may not come.

Here is a great photo of me and my uncle Roald playing APBA: The 1991 Twins v. the 1987 Twins.

Who won? Jim Welch with the 1941 Red Sox!  Congratulations and well done.  He holds the trophy for a year and will receive a new-in-the-box APBA Negro Leagues set.  

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

The Prairieland

The first annual Prairieland APBA tournament takes place April 16th in Illinois.  There is a field of 16 teams for this first time tournament at a busy time of the year.

I am fielding the 1969 Twins (97-65) in the Prairieland and go up against the 1982 Brewers, 1920 Tribe, and the 2015 Blue Jays in the Gary Gaetti Division.   Looks like this is a heavy hitting division and it should be fun.  After that we will just have to wait and see who makes the play-offs. 

I like their hitting as you can see Carew and Oliva lead in average and Killer in Home Runs and I have decent speed at the top and middle of the line-up card.

I field a #2 defense with no chance to go to a #1.  I am a bit suspect on Killer and Reese hitting into double plays, but that was the '69 Twins.  The real disappointment is Bobby Allison at #9, he hit .223 that year and is a fielding 1.

The line-up:

1.  Cesar Tovar 3B-3 F

2.  Rod Carew 2B-8 F

3.  Tony Oliva LF-2 F

4.  Harmon Killebrew  DH S

5.  Rich Reese  1B-4

6.  Leo Cardenas  SS-9 F

7.  Ted Uhlaender  CF-3 F

8.  Johnny Roseboro  C-8

9.  Bobby Allison  RF-1

Tovar at the top is my only question.  I like a fast guy with some on base percentage at the top and Carew to move him around or get on himself.  A few more practice games are needed to see if Tovar hits first or 6th. 


Jim Kaat  B-yz

Jim Perry  B-yz

Dave Boswell  B-y

Tom Hall  C-yz


Ron Perranoski  A* z

Bob Miller  B* z

Dean Chance C-y

Overall, I like the arms. Especially the Z's.

Best of luck to everyone in the tournament!  I will give a full report after the tournament has run its course. 

Monday, April 4, 2016

The Neil Ess Tournament

The Neil Ess Memorial APBA tournament was held this weekend in Minneapolis.  It had 32 managers!  These tournaments have really grown in popularity and variety and it is such a great thing for the game/hobby. 

My impressions: 
  • Very well organized and the congratulations here go to Jim Fraasch and Darrell Skogen.  The pre-tournament information is clear and timely, and the post-tournament information is also clear and timely.
  • The home we play in is all set up to accommodate close to 40 people and 32 mangers for the entire day.
  • The game play is smooth and the additional rules work very well. The organizers provide a sheet for all tables and plenty of new APBA rule books.
  • The mangers are a fantastic group of people, all very gracious, funny, good spirits, and knowledgeable about the game
  • I was engaged is so many interesting side-conversations I can't begin to describe the variety.
  • The way that players have begun to build rolling-pits is a new phenomena in my experience in APBA and looking over all the creative ball-parks to roll dice in was fascinating.  George Adams (pictured below on left rolling against Scott Egge's 2015 Mets) took the crown here with his custom built parks, and he was gracious enough to allow me to take one home to use and copy if I can find the time. 
I strongly recommend you attend either the Fall or Spring iteration of this APBA tournament.  

How did I do?  Let's talk about the winner first.  My good friend and master manager Kevin Cluff (pictured above on right) won with those dreaded 2011 Rangers. They can hang runs on you like nobody's business.  They killed me in Michigan and killed me in Minnesota.  I am glad they are retired from the Neil Ess. 

I managed the 2015 Kansas City Royals this year.  They are a very fun team to manage with a 44 defense (w/o the pitcher's #) and a "1" at all positions (the way the Ess accounts for defense).  A decent starting rotation and a killer pen; I thought I had a shot. 

The 2015 Royals went 5-5.  The highlights:

Split against the 1920 Tribe, but they hung 11 runs on us in the first game, most of them on Cueto.

The 2011 Rangers, the victors.   I split with them also, shutting them out in game two with Ventura on the bump.

2015 Cards I took both from holding them to just 2 total runs over both games, Cueto allowing both in #1 and Volquez shutting them out in the second.

I split with the 1999 D-Backs  and was swept by Craig Chritian's 1988 Mets in very close games: 2-3 and 1-3.

I scored 35 runs over 10 games and gave up 35. I will take that in any tournament. 

However, I could not hit!  Over the 10 games the team batting average was .185-well below the Mendoza line.

Hoz hit .292 with 1 HR and Perez hit .285 with 3 long balls.  

Cain only hit .222, Moose .111, Morales .179, Zobrist .138 and Gordon .166 (but he did go deep 3 times).  Those 4 killed me, and in the "Managers mistakes" category, hitting Dyson lead-off was a mistake.

I could not pass up that speed-card at the top of the line-up.  He did steal 5 bases for me, hit his actual league average .250, but struck out too many times.  It is a possible mistake, as Cain only hit .222 and he is the other obvious lead-off guy. Feel free to comment on this issue or any other. 

With stellar defense and solid pitching the bats can slow down a bit, but not below the Mendoaz line and have any expectation of winning and going deep in a tournament. 

I may take them again.  Given they under-performed at the plate, they may be able to make a playoff run as that even run differential is enticing. 

Some rolling pits:

Next Stop: the first annual Prairieland Tournament in Illinois.  I take the 1969 Twins.