Team Selection for Tournaments: It’s Puzzling

Greetings!

I hope all of your “APBA-nings” have been enjoyable and a positive diversion from your day-to-day tasks.  Thanks for reading this blog!  Feel free to read earlier entries to get more of my APBA stories, but basically, I firmly believe APBA Baseball is truly the most wonderful board game ever invented.  I’m a cards/dice guy, and I’ve been playing the game since 2010.

I’ve shelved my 1984 Minnesota Twins Replay using the Master Game for awhile to play some basic games with some different teams.  Why?  Tis’ the season for APBA Baseball Tournaments, and I’ll be participating in 5th Twins Cities Area Tournament on April 2.  There’s already a pretty impressive field that’s been put together (see below).  This will be my second go around in this tournament, and I’m extremely excited for this!  The games alone will be the bread and butter of the tournament with a minimum of nine face-to-face games.  The pinnacle of the day, however, will likely be when I receive an extraordinary ballpark from the Ballpark Godfather himself, Mr. George Adams.  I had the pleasure of meeting George last fall, and split a pair of games against him.  I treasured the conversations we had — a very passionate baseball enthusiast.  Polo%20Grounds%20001After much debating, I put in an order to George to make me scaled-down version of the Polo Grounds to roll in.  I’m beyond anxious to see this in person!!  His work is unheralded!

Now, the team selection process for any tournament is a tricky proposition.  Does one strictly look at team records, the makeup of a team and their APBA cards, and pick the best team you can possibly find?  Or do you choose a team with your heart and pick your sentimental favorite??  Or…is it possible to kill two birds with one stone?  It is stressful because you want your team to perform, but then again, emphasis on having fun should trump success – the dice will ultimately decide.  I would really like to get some input on how others out there select tournament teams.

For the fall TC Tournament, I used the 1989 Oakland A’s.  I’m a huge A’s fan, and I’d also recently completed a A’s Master Game replay with that same team.  Oakland beat San Francisco in the World Series, so I figured it was the perfect segway to use them in the tournament.  The 89 A’s squeaked into the final 8 teams, going 5-4 before falling in the quarterfinal round of the playoffs, losing a pair of tight games to the 2011 Texas Rangers and APBA Hall-Of-Famer Kevin Cluff.  This year, I’ve tossed a few teams around, but I’m likely going to stick with an A’s or an Expos team.

As of right now, I’ve officially selected the 2000 Oakland A’s.  This selection is based much more on sentimental value versus competitive value.  The ’00 A’s really were the team that got me back into baseball.  From 1993-1998, both the Twins and A’s were almost unwatchable — Kirby Puckett and Mark McGwire kept my interest level high until they reitred/traded.  In 1999, Oakland became respectable with a winning record, but it was in 2000 that the A’s surged to win the AL West during the final weekend of the year, and I skipped my four hour sophomore psychology class at Bemidji State University three weeks in a row to watch Oakland down the stretch/playoffs before their bitter defeat to the Yankees in Game 5 of the ALDS.  Little did I know, the pain and anguish of being an A’s fan post-1900’s was only just beginning.  However, of all the A’s post-season teams from then until 2014, the 2000 club is by far my favorite!  Sure…the team had a plethora of stars – Jason Giambi, Miguel Tejada, Eric Chavez, 1999 ROY Ben Grieve, Barry Zito, Tim Hudson….but players like Matt Stairs, Doug Jones, Randy Velarde, Sal Fasano, Jeff Tam, Jim Mecir, and Olmedo Saenz were guys I loved to watch.

APBA-wise, the 2000 A’s certainly have some potential.  I can put together a pretty formidable lineup, but after a litmus test of 20+ games, they’re very much feast or famine.  Below is the lineup I’ve been using in my scrimmages:

Piatt – CF

Chavez – 3B

Giambi – 1B

Tejada – SS

Saenz – DH

Long – LF

Stairs – RF

Hernandez – C

Velarde – 2B

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The four man rotation for the 2000 A’s consists of:

Tim Hudson – BX

Barry Zito – BX

Gil Heredia – CZ

Kevin Appier – CY

My top three hurlers in the bullpen are:

Jeff Tam (AZ)

Jim Mecir (AY)

Doug Jones (BYZ).

After deciding on this club, I rolled a slew of games against some pretty stuff competition as I took on several World Series/Pennant-winning squads, either from my GTOP collection or from season sets I have.  I used the basic boards circa 1995 and played the game “as-is” straight out of the box.  I alternated home and away for all 21 games.  I used the four man rotation above and correlated the opponent’s starting pitcher based on mine (1 vs. 1, 2 vs. 2) Here are the results:

A’s 5, 1969 Orioles 3

A’s 5, 2000 Yankees 4 (walk-off win in 9th)

1934 Cardinals 5, A’3

A’s 4, 1969 Mets 2

A’s 4, 1990 A’s 2 (walk-off HR in 10th)

2008 Rays 4, A’s 1

1919 Red 4, A’s 2

1931 A’s 7, A’s 2

1946 Red Sox 7, A’s 2

2003 Marlins 3, A’s 2

A’s 4, 1954 Giants 1

1922 Browns 12, A’s 5

A’s 8, 1906 Cubs 3

A’s 1, 2010 Giants 0

1984 Tigers 10, A’s 6

1953 Dodgers 9, A’s 6

1981 Expos 4, A’s 2

A’s 6, 1944 Browns 0

1912 Giants 7, A’s 2

A’s 2, 1995 Braves 1 (walk-off win in 11th)

AND THEN—a game known as “The BLOODBATH”

1953 Yankees 25, A’s 2

In conclusion, the 2000 Oakland squad went 9-12 in those 21 games, averaging 3.5 runs per game.  They allowed 5.3 runs per game.  If you take away “The BLOODBATH,” they allowed 4.35 runs per game.  I was not entirely shocked at my record as I was hoping to be right around .500, but I was a bit surprised in the lack of run production.  The Oakland squad hit 31 homeruns, but 24 of them were solo shots.  Lacking hitters with 7’s, 10’s, and 11’s made it hard to sustain rallies against A and B pitchers.  The lack of “Z” pitchers really hurt this team as well.  There were several times where a two-out walk would score on a double or homerun.  A few times, their FIELDING TWO team fielding rating came into play, but that was the same for their opponents regarding their fielding rating.  I had a blast rolling all of these games, and it was great to roll against some classic teams that have pretty potent lineups. Other than “The BLOODBATH” debacle, these A’s were in the thick of it more often than not!

Now for my decision — Will I use the 2000 A’s in Darrell Skogen’s living room for the TC Tournament?  I’m undecided!  I have until March 19 to make my final selection.  I toyed with taking the 1922 St. Louis Browns, but that team was swooped up by Curt Bartel.  I’m going to play around with the 1981 Expos next.  It seems no one takes an Expos team to these tournaments, so they’re bound to get some love.  Their rotation has Bill Gullickson, Ray Burris, Steve Rogers, and Scott Sanderson – all BYZ’s.  Jeff Reardon and Woodie Fryman are both AXZ’s and Bill “Spaceman” Lee is a B in the bullpen.  That’s a very consistent pitching staff.  Their lineup is somewhat lackluster in the power department, but Tim Raines’ card is a beast for a leadoff hitter.  The Expos can boast a Team One fielding when the starting pitchers are on the hill, but slip to Fielding Two when a call to the bullpen is made.  Both the 2000 A’s and the 1981 Expos offer a chance to shed some limelight on two forgotten, but successful teams.  We shall see!  April 2nd can’t come fast enough.  Below is a list of the 5th TC Tournament Field:

1920 INDIANS – GARY BORTHWICK (CRYSTAL, MN)
2011 RANGERS – KEVIN CLUFF (APPLE VALLEY, MN)
1988 METS – CRAIG CHRISTIAN (EAU CLAIRE, WI)
1961 YANKEES – LEROY ARNOLDI (PRIOR LAKE, MN)
1969 ORIOLES – PAUL VAN BEEK (WINONA, MN)
1929 ATHLETICS – FRED JOHNSON (COTTAGE GROVE, MN)
2015 ROYALS – ERIC BERG (JACKSONVILLE, IL)
1972 PIRATES – ROGER PARSONS (TWO HARBORS, MN)
1912 RED SOX – CHRIS SHORES (MINNEAPOLIS, MN)
1985 BLUE JAYS – BEN LOFGREN (HAWLEY, MN)
1910 ATHLETICS – BRUCE TYLER (ELK RIVER, MN)
1997 MARINERS – GREGG NELSON (MAPLE GROVE, MN)
2015 CARDINALS – PHIL GERAFFO (MINNETONKA, MN)
2015 METS – SCOTT EGGE (WOODBURY, MN)
2004 CARDINALS – DARRELL SKOGEN (MAPLE GROVE, MN)
1930 SENATORS – JIM FRAASCH (SAVAGE, MN)
1954 INDIANS – PAT MARTIN (BROOKLYN PARK, MN)
1968 CARDINALS – ROB SKOGEN (FOREST LAKE, MN)
1998 YANKEES – SCOTT ELLINGWORTH (BROOKLYN PARK, MN)
1977 PHILLIES – JEFF BOEDING (PLATTE CITY, MO)
1976 ATHLETICS – JOE PAVLICEK (BLOOMINGTON, MN)
2007 YANKEES – CLEON PAVLICEK (BLOOMINGTON, MN)
2000 ATHLETICS – BEAU LOFGREN (HAWLEY, MN)
1922 BROWNS – CURT BARTEL (OCONOMOWOC, WI)
1975 REDS – TOM SHORES (GEORGETOWN, MA)

 

 

 

 

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3 thoughts on “Team Selection for Tournaments: It’s Puzzling

  1. jwfraasch

    Beau, fantastic write-up!! Loved the 21-game review of your 2000 Athletics. It is always a tough decision on finalizing the tourney team. My selection already changed once, from the 1920 Yankees with a monster Babe Ruth card, to the 1930 Senators who have a tough lineup 1-9. 1920 Yankees have better pitching, but after the 1930 Senators defeated the 1920 Yankees in a best of 5 series, I changed my selection. I’m still rolling games with this 1930 Senators team, testing out lineups, etc. Good times – Jim

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    1. Minnesota APBA Post author

      Thanks, Jim! I checked those Senators out – they can flat out hit!! It’s so fun to find those solid teams that have little or if any fanfare. I can honestly say that if I hadn’t known you, I likely wouldn’t have looked up the 1930 Senators other than randomly finding it on a whim! Good luck nailing down your lineup!

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      1. jwfraasch

        Beau, with Pinky Hargrave’s card being able to start at Catcher (he had over 100 PA playing for 2 teams in 1930, starting the season with the Tigers and finishing with the Senators), I knew I had a strong lineup 1 thru 9 (with Harris as my DH). I’ve rolled several games with the ’30 Senators and they can score runs. They need to be able to get by on the starting pitching they have, 3 B’s and 1 C. The other determining factor in decided to go with the ’30 Senators is their fantastic defense. The defense will help the pitching staff prevent a few runs. Cannot wait!

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