The View From Wisconsin

Just a random set of rants from a Sports Fan from Wisconsin.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Selig Series Update


I finished Game Three of my mythical Bud Selig Series (82 Crew vs. 08 Wild Card) last night, the first game at Miller Park - and it was a barn-burner.

The AL squad actually took its first lead of the series in the first as the famed Harvey's Wallbangers played little-ball with a dink single by Ben Oglivie, and a walk by, of all people, Gorman Thomas. Dave Bush settled down, however, and did not give up another hit in the next six innings before giving way to Seth McClung.

The NL squad seemed to put the game away after a dropped fly ball by Oglivie (he lost it in the sun angle of the first-base "arch" windows, apparently) let in the first run by the '08 Crew. Corey Hart doubled to right center to give the National Brewers the 3-2 lead.

The way Bush was cruising (and a solo homer by Prince Fielder in the bottom of the 7th off Pete Ladd), it looked like the latter-day Crew were going to take their third straight win of the series - especially as Salomon Torres took the mound in the top of the ninth.

That was when Ted Simmons laced a single to left. Kuenn took the lumbering catcher out for a pinch runner - Ned Yost. After Oglivie lined out to J.J. Hardy (who would be key in the coming drama), Gorman Thomas rapped a single to left that put runners on first and second with one out. Charlie Moore popped up to Craig Counsell (who had taken over for an injured Billy Hall in the 7th), and it looked like all Torres had to do was get Jim Gantner out.

On a 1-1 pitch, Gantner laced a single to right. Yost and Thomas were off with the pitch, so Yost scored and Thomas beat the throw in to third. Torres was rattled, and it took everything backup catcher Mike Rivera had to keep his first pitch to pinch-hitter Mark Brouhard from skittering to the backstop. Meanwhile, Gantner took second on the play.

Brouhard lanced a line drive up the middle to bring both Thomas and Gantner in, tying the score, 5-5. Torres ended up walking Molitor. Cecil Cooper, who had been switched to 2nd in the order by Kuenn after two horrendous outings in the first two games (including four K's against Sabathia in game 1), looked like he was about to clear the bases on a 2-0 line drive.

Hardy, however, managed to snag the ball before it headed into the outfield, ending the threat. Though Hardy drew a walk off AL Crew reliever Jerry Augustine, the NL squad couldn't muster any more runs in their half of the ninth, and the game headed into extra innings.

The latter-day Brewers were having issues on the injury front besides Hall, who looks to be out for the rest of the series. Catcher Jason Kendall was hurt on a freak play at first in the bottom of the eighth, when Pete Ladd made an error trying to field a comebacker. Kendall apparently twinged his ankle as he crossed first. Rivera was already announced as the pinch-hitter for McClung, so Dale Sveum sent out game one starter CC Sabathia to pinch run for Kendall. Rivera singled and Cameron and Counsell drew walks to score CC.

Mitch Stetter went out there for the top of the 10th, and Robin Yount greeted him with a hot smash to shortstop. Hardy couldn't get a good grip on the ball and it went flying out of his hands as Yount made it to first on the error. Yost struck out, but then Oglivie sent what looked like a tailor-made double-play ball to Hardy. He promptly tossed it over the head of Rickie Weeks, giving the AL Crew two runners on. Thomas loaded the bases on a little dribbler to left.

And that was when Mitch Stetter made a play he'd probably rather forget. Moore hit a chopper that hit Stetter's glove, bounced off the mound and over to an onrushing Prince Fielder. Prince tagged out Moore, but was late on his toss back to Rivera to get Yount.

Augustine went back out for the bottom of the ninth for the 82 Crew, hoping to protect the lead. Despite a single and stolen base by Mike Cameron, Ryan Braun came up with two outs, staring down defeat and a three-two count. Braun laced a single to shallow left, but Oglivie fielded the ball and kept Cameron from scoring. Braun actually stole second on the next pitch, but Yost didn't even bother a throw, not wanting to let Cameron tie the game.

Fielder took two big swings and misses on Augustine's curveballs, but managed to work the count full. And that was when Augustine hung one. The lefty knew it as soon as it crossed the plate - and as soon as he saw Fielder's eyes light up like a Christmas tree.

Fielder's drive hit the clock above the Dew Deck in right field, and Uecker was insistent that the ball was still going up as it did so. As Cameron and Braun rounded the bases, Fielder was almost joyously ripping his jersey off in celebration.

Game four is set for "tonight" (by the way, a big thanks to Cassie Wells for her help with the series), with Manny Parra facing Moose Haas.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010


I finally got enough info and stuff together that I could play out a few games using LONGBALL. In the process, I remembered a few things about the game:
  1. It is incredibly tedious to go from looking up rolls on a rating card to the playing board.
  2. Some of the results on the boards can be very unrealistic. For example, in the first "test game" I played (2009 Brewers at 2009 Rays), there were a grand total of seven hit batsmen by both teams. Of course, I had to "guess" on a lot of the results when I recreated the playing board, since I still haven't found my copy of the playing board (and probably won't until I finally shell out $ for a replacement game - which won't happen soon).
  3. Though the pitch endurance concept that I came up with was good to start, it makes more sense to do it the way I do now - one d8 for the ball count, one d6 for the strike count.
  4. I'm currently playing out the "Selig Series" - the 1982 Brewers vs. the 2008 Brewers. In game one, CC Sabathia threw a three-hitter (with three HBP?) in a 6-2 game one win at County Stadium. Ryan Braun and J.J. Hardy homered for the New Crew off of Mike Caldwell. In game two, Pete Vukovich didn't even get through the fifth inning; Gabe Kapler (who was starting in place of Bill Hall, as the DH), Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun all homered to hang an ocho on the '82 Crew. Yovanni Gallardo went six innings, allowing three runs. Eric Gagne closed the game out, though it took a base running mistake by Gorman Thomas in the 9th to squash a potential comeback rally. With one away, he singled to right and Corey Hart threw to the plate to try to get Ted Simmons, who led off the inning with a single and was advanced to second by Ben Oglivie. Simmons was safe at the plate, but Jason Kendall threw out Thomas trying to take second on the play. Gagne got Roy Howell to pop out to third to end the game.
  5. That's the other thing about the playing board - a lot more pop fly outs than ground outs. I suspect that if I had a copy of the real board, I'd see that the grounders were spread out a bit more.
  6. Because of the HBP fiascoes I mentioned, I actually had to re-write the entire list for one of the results on the main board (namely, 44). I had a fun one that I added for runners on first and second (A bonus no-prize for the first person who gets where the play came from): "Batter hits dribble down first base line; as first baseman tries to tag him out, batter intentionally swats ball out of his glove; batter is declared out by umpire (3-UA; roll one die: odd - batter is ejected from game for arguing; even - batter remains in game); runners advance one base;"
  7. Doing the stats can be incredibly tedious, especially when it comes to guessing a player's Injury Factor. Molitor was healthy most of the '82 season, but I still rated him as a "2".
  8. I still haven't used the park factor add-ons that I'd created way back in '94, mostly because I'm not interested in using even more charts and tables to play a simple game.
  9. I've only used the stolen base a couple of times, though I could use it even more frequently, because neither Simba nor Kendall are very good at throwing out runners (Simmons is a T-4, Kendall a T-5).
  10. Hits and scoring plays all tend to happen at one time because of a series of bad rolls - which does detract from the play of the game. And the Pitcher Ratings (the I-II-III things) don't help minimize that as much as they could (though that is a symptom of not knowing the board, of course).
I'm in the middle of playing out game three of the Selig Series at Miller Park right now. The 82 Crew had a 2-0 lead, but the 08 squad just took the lead on a series of errors by Cooper and Oglivie. Cooper, by the way, is having a nightmare series: seven strikeouts in 11 plate appearances. Yeeeah.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Longball Update

I spent some time doing a "recreation" of the LONGBALL playing board, and actually did a fair to middling job of doing so - to the point where I could actually play a game between Tampa and Milwaukee (at Tropicana Field). The Brewers won in the 10th on a really weird play - bases loaded, runner on second was hit by a line drive while the winning run on third scored.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Longball Revisited

The latest project of mine that has me running about is a reconstruction of an old baseball simulation board game that I got back in the 1980's. It was advertised frequently in the pages of Baseball Digest (which was probably the reason why I bought a copy of the game).

The game was Longball, produced by Ashburn Industries. It was actually a pretty simple game to master, as you didn't have to know some rare calculus to create a player card as in APBA or Strat-O-Matic. If you had some basic stats (batting average, home runs, ERA), you could simulated a pretty reasonable facsimile of a major league baseball game.

About a dozen or so years after I bought the game, I tried to update the rules to reflect the increase in statistical knowledge of baseball - things like park factors, tying stats to particular hitting and pitching styles, adding a pitch count to endurance ratings, and things of that nature.

However, after I got married, the game got put on the back burner - especially since by that time I'd gotten into computer baseball games like Earl Weaver (EA Sports first foray into baseball games) and APBA and SOM's online versions.

Somewhere along the way, though, my playing boards disappeared. I still have the rating cards, the rule book and my "adjustments" to the rules - but no play result boards. The rule book did have some "alternate" versions of the playing boards, but they didn't help in some situations.

So, I've spent the last week or so doing some "recreation" of the playing boards, using what little I remember of the real boards and combining a little bit of what the charts in the rule book have for the results. I've actually done a pretty good job - including adding a couple of "updates", like a play description that turns a home run into a ground-rule double because of replay.

That doesn't mean that I've stopped looking for my playing boards, though. And, if anyone else out there has the game, and still has the game boards (the ones from Ashburn Industries, not from Skor-Mor), feel free to shoot me an e-mail. I'd love to at least have a detailed photo or scan of the boards.

I do wonder, though, whatever happened to Ashburn Industries and whether or not the copyright for the game expired. Who knows? It might be all retro to bring back the game to the 21st century.