Monday, November 26, 2007

With Tabletop Baseball, It's Never The Offseason

Some of you may know that I'm a tabletop sports game player. You can have your fancy-shmancy X Boxes, Game Cubes, and PS IIs. I'll take cards and dice, thank you very much, to simulate my pro and college sports.

It might be cold outside, and nowhere near baseball season, but that doesn't stop the tabletop player from enjoying nostalgic baseball action.

I got the hankering late last week to break out my APBA baseball game. I only have one season -- 1974 -- and even though I had replayed the World Series a couple years ago (Dodgers swept the A's, even though the A's won in five games in real life), it dawned on me that I had skipped the LCS in each league.

So guess who's rolling the bones to pit the A's against the Baltimore Orioles?

Thanks to, I'm able to use the same starting pitchers and exact batting lineups that were actually used in these games.

APBA baseball cards

The A's won Game 1 in a pitcher's duel that they broke open late. Catfish Hunter and Mike Cuellar battled for six scoreless innings before Baltimore's Boog Powell clubbed a solo HR in the top of the 7th. Then the A's, who'd been leaving runners on base all game long, finally strung together some hits and hung a four-spot on the O's in the bottom of the inning. The crucial point of the game was in the 8th, when Hunter got into some trouble: bases loaded with one out. But he coaxed Paul Blair to hit into an inning-ending double play. A's win, 4-1.

In Game 2, the pitchers again were the story: Ken Holtzman for Oakland, and Dave McNally for Baltimore. The A's used an error by O's left fielder Don Baylor to score the go-ahead run in the fourth inning. Holtzman was brilliant, and thanks to a scoreless ninth by Rollie Fingers, the A's won, 2-1.

So the A's lead the best-of-five series, 2-0, with Game 3 in Baltimore -- which I'll probably play tonight.

After the ALCS, I'll get rolling -- no pun intended -- on the NLCS, pitting Pittsburgh and Los Angeles.

I'll only replay the World Series again if one of the two teams is different.

I have too many tabletop games, in all sports, for one person to own, to be honest with you. Baseball games account for seven of these (APBA, Strat-o-Matic, Pursue the Pennant, Dynasty League, Statis-Pro, Replay, Clubhouse). I know -- I'm sick.

They all offer some great features, but I think Dynasty League probably tops them all in terms of realism and encapsulating EVERYTHING that can happen in a real MLB game.

I got a kick out of my interview with actor Jeff Daniels last year, when he revealed to me that he's a closet APBA player. He told me that, to this day, his wife cringes at the sound of dice rolling.

So it may be the onset of winter outside, but it's a brisk afternoon in October for me in Baltimore tonight!


Blogger Lee Panas said...

Good article Greg. I was a big APBA player as a kid. I have the 1973 season. I think about the game whenever anybody has an usual season.
I wonder what Granderson's card looks like this year. There has got to be some twos on there.


1:29 AM  

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