Tag Archives: Twin Cities APBA Tournament

What Do You Do When You Have the APBA Blues?

Hey Everyone!

It’s been a LOOONG time since I’ve made a post.  WAY TOO LONG!  I plan on several blog posts about what I’ve been up to APBA-wise here in the coming weeks.  Teaching, coaching, raising three kids, and just life in general has really shelved my APBA Baseball playing since the Spring.  After I wrapped up my 1984 Minnesota Twins Replay and my Father-Son Series, I’ve sort of had the “APBA Blues.”  I’ve had some very long stretches without APBA, which has been the case for me at times since I began playing back in 2010.

I started a “2nd Chance Tournament” last spring that I’ve posted results of on the APBA Facebook site.  I played it through the early summer, shelved it, and then after five months of no solitaire play, I finally picked it back up here last week.  I played in both the Spring and Fall Twin Cities APBA Tournaments and had a blast there.  I also built an APBA Ballpark this summer.  I’ll highlight these events in the coming weeks.

I also have to give a big shoutout to John Asalon and his new weekly show, “This Week in APBA.”  For years now, I’ve slowly squeezed out most forms of media or talk shows out of my schedule.  Why?  Because they’re all negative and seem to give less than the facts.  Plus…I have better things to do.  However, this exciting venture by John and the APBA Game Company is well worth the listen!  On Tuesday after my three kids and wife were in bed, I went to my classroom at the school I teach to decorate the room for Christmas.  I was there from about 9PM to just before midnight.  I listened to the first four episodes of the show….and it was SO REFRESHING!  Hearing all of this discussion about the game we’re all so passionate about was like nothing I’ve ever listened to before!  Make this a regular part of your APBA-therapy!  Hearing from Mr. John Herson was especially interesting and eye-opening!  Below is the link to all of the archived episodes:

http://www.ustream.tv/channel/ttLw83mMwq7

So to those of you out there – Do you ever get the APBA Blues and shelve the game for an extended time?  If so, is it by choice or does life get in the way?  For those of you that don’t, what’s your secret in keeping a steady diet of APBA Baseball when it’s hard to find time for it?  What projects do you do to keep from getting out of the APBA loop!  I’d like to hear your stories!  Thank you!

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April Twin Cities APBA Tournament a Rousing Success

Hello All!

Yep — this is a little tardy, and the post is a bit gargantuan, but life continues to pass by with little “down” time for this 35 year old.  I’ve decided to dust off the ol’ blog and get back at it after hiatus.  My name is Beau Lofgren and I’m what you could call a baseball junkie and APBA Baseball enthusiast.  I’ve played APBA for about six years now after discovering it while watching my laid-back uncle-in-law Doug, who’s an incredible guy, would play it in his pop-up camper at family reunions (see earlier entries to get my full APBA story). After years of curiosity, it got the best of me and now, it’s the ONLY game I’ll play (when I have time to play).  I’m an elementary teacher and am in the middle of summer break.  You’d think you’d have more time to play APBA right?  Well, not necessarily.  When you’re a father of three young boys (Jonny 7, Carter 4, Luke 1), and your wife works and doesn’t come home until 7-8 PM some nights, time available after the kids are finally in bed is usually used to “catch up” on life by squeezing in a short conversation with my wife (Tonia), do what you didn’t get done and then try to get ready to do it all over again the next day!  Meals, naps, diaper changes, bike rides/walks, get the mail at the PO, swimming lessons, baseball practice, summer reading program…..days are JAM PACKED! On top of that, I am having my gall bladder removed on Friday after passing a gall stone (worst pain I’ve ever endured), so I’m hoping maybe I’ll be able to play some APBA next week as I can’t really do any physical activity.  I’m not worried about it, but I just have to be smart in the short term after it.  Amid the business, I wouldn’t want it any other way, though.  I am lucky, having a front-row seat seeing my boys grow up while making memories along the way.   They’re happy and healthy, and I have the good Lord to thank for that! God is Good – All the Time! I know I’ll have plenty of time on the backside of my teaching career and beyond to pursue personal interests at a more liberal pace.

Back in April of this year, I was fortunate enough to participate in the 5th installment of the Twin Cities APBA Baseball Tournament. Mr. Twin Cities and tournament organizer  himself, Jim Fraasch, included me on the tournament emails and information back in February of 2015.  He stumbled upon my blog, invited me to join his “mob,” and now there’s no turning back!  My first tournament experience was back in October of 2015 at the 4th TC Tournament. Gracious tournament host Darrell Skogen along with Jim had everything ready to go.  I couldn’t believe so many guys as die-hard as me about baseball were there….playing a BOARD GAME no less!  It was awesome, and my 1989 A’s even squeaked into the playoffs!

In April, my brother Ben Lofgren (who went from APBA nay-sayer to ABPA-ADDICT) and I traveled down the night before the tournament.  We live in Hawley, MN, which is about a 3.5 hour drive from the Twin Cities.  The whole way down was rather fun!  We both teach in the same building – Hawley Elementary School – but even THAT doesn’t allow us to be as close as we’d like to.  So – this budgeted time is an excellent way to not only discuss current events, but to also turn back the clock and feel like we’re stuck in 1992 again!  As we did before, we stayed with my uncle-in-law Doug as we rolled in at about 10 PM that night.  A few weeks prior, Doug totally floored me when his wife Nancy brought up a huge box to my house.  What was in the box??  SEVEN APBA BASEBALL SETS!!  1996-2002, and all were as close to mint condition as you could get!  He didn’t want them anymore as he knew they’d just collect dust, and figured I’d be able to put them to use.  Someday, I certainly will as that timeframe was very exciting in baseball for me!  I felt I had to pay him back with something – he didn’t want money – so I stopped by the local Ramsey liquor store and bought him booze – a ton of Red Dog and Pabst Blue Ribbon beer (his favorites).  I filled up the trunk of the Crown Vic, left the liquor store, and we finally made it to Doug and Nancy’s.  They are generous hosts and always welcome us like royalty.  We had a few drinks, talked baseball, life, and after midnight, Ben and I managed to get some shuteye.  The next morning we awoke to some blustery conditions! Snow and ice caked my car and it was crazy-windy.  We said our goodbyes to Doug and we were out the door at 7 AM.  We made the 20 minute drive down to Darrell’s in the Crown Vic Police Interceptor with a quick breakfast stop at McJobs (can’t beat a good ol’ hearty meal of preservatives once in awhile!). Travel was a bit dicey with blowing snow in some cases – it was nuts!

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Official Lofgren APBA Baseball Tournament Escort Vehicle

We arrived at Darrell’s house right at 8 AM and boy, you could tell that this was BIG TIME.  All 30 players showed up (a tournament record) and it was like a class reunion!  Most players are somewhat local (MN), but several players from Wisconsin made the drive down.  Jeff Boeding and George Adams made their way up from Missouri, Ron Emch came in from Ohio, and Tom Shores (Chris’ dad) represented Massachusetts!  Incredible!  It’s rewarding to be in company of my kind when it comes to baseball and APBA.  Guys were laughing, joking around, telling stories, predicting their fates, and just anxious to get rolling!  Jim gave a quick rundown on the rules and procedures while Darrell, the happy-go-lucky host of this event, filled in the blanks and before we knew it, it was tourney time!

Before I go into how my team did, I really stressed for a great deal of time as to WHICH team to take.  In my first APBA tournament, I took the 1989 A’s because I was right at the end of their season replay – it was a no brainer.  The Bash Brothers, Eck, Rickey — what a fun team to play with!  Last fall, I started a replay with the 1984 Twins – a replay I’m really enjoying but in no way could they compete in one of these tournaments.  I then did a little pool play/tournament with four random teams – 1931 A’s, 1990 A’s, 1981 Expos, and 2000 A’s.  I’ve always been a huge A’s and Twins can, and I became an Expos fan later in college before their ill-fated demise.  The 1931 A’s came out on top, but I just had a hard time taking a team I wasn’t connected with or “grew up” watching.  Long story short, I said, “Heck with it,” and selected the 2001 A’s.  I’d looked through their cards when I bought the 2001 set a few years back and knew they’d be able to compete.  From the A’s run from 2000-2003, I truly believe the 2001 was not only the best, but was snakebitten the worst of those teams. I skipped several hours of classes at Bemidji State University in 2000-2002 to watch A’s games, and I certainly don’t regret it.  Those A’s teams, along with the success of the 2001 Twins, rekindled my interest for baseball.  My goal was to make amends for Derek Jeter’s miraculous flip play that turned the tide and give the 2001 A’s another shot at glory!

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Derek Jeter’s flip in Game 3 of the 2001 ALDS spelled the beginning of the end for Oakland….AGAIN!

When the divisions were released two weeks before the tournament, I felt I had realistic shot at making the playoffs. The 2001 A’s featured a pretty potent lineup, decent starting pitching, and a pair of AZ relievers in the bullpen.  Jason Giambi had a monster season in 2001, his last in Oakland, and I was excited and expecting him to carry the load!  Eric Chavez, Ron Gant, Jeremy Giambi, and Greg Myers also had big cards. I was concerned about the team’s defense (fielding 2), particularly with Miguel Tejada’s 8 SS rating and Frank Menechino at 2B (7).  Win or lose, I just wanted my games to be close and to get to know fellow APBA players.  It all depends on the dice!

My first round of games was against none other than Jim Fraasch and his 1930 Senators!  Before the tournament, I knew very little of the Senators history other than they won the 1924 World Series, lost in 1925, Walter Johnson, and that they moved to Minnesota to become the Twins in 1961.  It was a pleasure to roll a pair of games with Jim!  At TCABT-IV, I didn’t have much of an opportunity to have a quality visit with Jim.  This time around, we made up for lost time. As we played, he was always ever so optimistic in his Senators with every roll — something I had trouble with playing with my A’s!! Out of all the first round of games, we took the longest to complete, simply because we had so many great conversations in between rolls.  I consider Jim a true APBA-Dignitary of sorts.  This tournament had become one of the best in the country because of Jim’s dedication, communication, and opened-arms approach to making this a tournament for any and all who love APBA.

2001 A’s 3, 1930 Senators 2

Our first game was tight throughout! Not knowing really anything about the 1930 Senators coming in, I found out that this team really had potential to string together hits.  Mark Mulder (BYZ) and General Crowder (BZ). Tied 1-1 in the bottom of the 8th, Jeremy Giambi connected for a two-out, two-run homerun. The Senators put the pressure on Jason Isringhausen (AXZ) in the 9th.  With one run in, the Senators had runners on first and second with one out.  A groundout by Ossie Bluege to the pitcher moved the runners up with two outs. Jim went deep to his bench and had Joe Kuhel pinch hit for Buddy Myer in the #9 slot.  Kuhel hit one deep to right, but Jermaine Dye settled under the ball for the out, giving the A’s a close 3-2 win.

1930 Senators 11, 2001 A’s 9

In another close ballgame, the Senators would jump out to a 6-2 lead against Cory Lidle (BYZ).  Back-to-back two-out errors by Tejada and Lidle allowed four unearned runs to cross, partially in thanks to Heinie Manush’s three-run double.  Bump Hailey (BY) cruised  along for the Senators until the 5th.  Greg Myers hit the first of his three (yes THREE) solo homeruns and a two-out error by the Senators’ Buddy Myer at second led to four more runs.  Eric Chavez’s three-run double helped put Oakland back on top 7-6.  Heading into the bottom of the 9th, Oakland led 9-8 as Myers’ homers gave them the slim lead.  With one out, Isringhausen gave up a triple, walk, and then the fatal walk-off homer to Dave Harris.  It was a tough blow, but that’s baseball….and that’s APBA Baseball!

Next up was a two-game series against Curt Bartel and his 1922 St. Louis Browns.  I had some great talks with Curt! He came to the Twin Cities with his son Andy, who won the spring tournament in 2015 with the 1902 Pirates.  Curt could be defined as polite, passive, and positive.  I ALMOST picked the 1922 Browns initially.  It’s quite a unique team.

1922 Browns 10, 2001 A’s 1

It was all St. Louis in the opener.  Ken Williams went deep and had 3 RBIs, Raymond Kolp (CZ) breezed through the Oakland lineup, and the Browns took advantage of Barry Zito’s (BX) 7 walks in four innings.  The Browns even left 12 runners on base, so it could’ve been much worse!

2001 A’s 10, 1922 Browns

Oakland turned the table on St. Louis in the nitecap by winning 10-1 themselves.  Jason Giambi’s three-run homer in the first got the A’s on the board.  Up 4-1 in the 5th, the A’s plated two runs on a Jeremy Giambi single and four more runs in the 6th.  Greg Myers continued to tear up the APBA Tournament, launching a two-run homer.  Tim Hudson (BX) tossed five innings and allowed one run to earn the win.  Oakland left 12 runners on base and used 8 walks allowed by Dave Danforth (CY) as the A’s stood 2-2 after four games.

Next up were the 1998 New York Yankees, led by the energetic Scott Ellingworth!  Scott’s a fun guy! I was able to rub shoulders with him at the fall tournament.  He grew up in New York Mills, MN, a small town about an hour east of Hawley.  We traded stories about growing up in west-central Minnesota and some laughs as well. Scott was playing against the clock as he was called in to work later in the afternoon.

1998 Yankees 3, 2001 A’s 2

Game one in the series was a white-knuckler.  David Cone (BXYZ) and Mark Mulder (BYZ) locked horns in a pitcher’s duel.  Darryl Strawberry’s solo homer in the 2nd put NYY up 1-2.  In the third, Derek Jeter’s two out triple plated Jorge Posada, and Paul O’Neill’s single scored Jeter to put the Yankees ahead 3-0.  Cone had a no hitter through four innings, but a solo homer by Miguel Tejada cut it to 3-1.  Neither team threatened at all as the game went to the 9th inning with Mariano Rivera (ACZ) took the hill for his second inning of relief.  With two outs, Eric Chavez’s solo home run to center made things interesting, but Tejada flew out to the track in right to end the game.  Cone and Rivera combined for 12 strikeouts while Mulder, Isringhausen, and Mike Magnante (AZ) had 13.  This was a tough loss to swallow.

1998 Yankees 14, 2001 A’s 7

New York obliterated Oakland pitching early and never relented.  Darryl Strawberry and Scott Brosius each hit two homers while Chuck Knoblauch had one to lead the offense against Cory Lidle.  Jason Giambi connected for two homers while, you guessed it, Greg Myers added a two-run shot.  Both men hit homeruns against Rivera, a mild consolation prize in the beatdown NY handed the A’s.

With my A’s stumbling to 2-4, there was still a chance to make amends but time was running out.  My next opponent was Jeff Boeding and his 1977 Philadelphia Phillies.  I had the wonderful opportunity to roll with Jeff last fall, and he’s an incredible man.  I have a lot of respect for Jeff as he’s followed by replays, blog and even my life with great fanfare and support.  He edged me twice last time with the 1905 NY Giants.  He would take me to the cleaners again with his Phillies.

1977 Phillies 9, 2001 A’s 5

Oakland used a two-run Jermaine Dye homer and a Terrance Long sac fly to go up 3-0 after two innings.  Holding a 4-2 lead in the top of the 6th, the Phillies got to the A’s bullpen, and specifically, Mike Magnante.  Ted Sizemore belted a two-out two-run homerun to tie things up. Ron Gant doubled and scored on Frank Menechino’s single as Oakland reclaimed the lead.  Philadelphia took the A’s to the cleaners in the 7th.  A pair of two-run homers by Mike Schmidt and Jay Johnstone and a solo homer by Gary Maddox put the game away.

1977 Phillies 6, 2001 Oakland A’s 5

I was licking my chops having the opportunity to go up against a D pitcher in Jim Kaat. I thought that maybe my luck would turn for the better.  It did in the first inning as a walk, three singles and a double led to four runs for Oakland.  Philadelphia scored three runs in the third, including a two-run two-out triple by Mike Schmidt to inch their way back.  The Phillies took the lead in the 5th on a two-run shot to left by Greg Luzinski.  Trailing 5-4 i the top of the 9th, Oakland led off the inning with a walk to Long and a single by Jason Giambi.  An Eric Chavez groundout moved the runners up.  Tejada laced a single to left as Long scored with ease, but Giambi was gunned down at the plate.  With Tejada on second and two outs, Jermaine Dye grounded out.  It was in the Phillies’ hands to win it in the 9th.  With Bake McBride on second base with two outs, Schmidt delivered off Isringhausen with a single to center, scoring McBride to make the Phillies walk-off winners.  In defeat, rolling with Jeff was one of the highlights!

With my chances of making the bracket play all but gone, I wanted to soak up the final two games as best as I could, because nothing beats face-to-face APBA Baseball.  My last opponent was Joe Pavlicek and the 1976 Oakland A’s.  This would be interesting to play another A’s team.  I knew I’d be facing two “A” pitchers so this would be a tough task.  I had fun playing with Joe. We were both WAY out of the running at this point.  Joe was very down-to-earth, laid back, and comical all at the same time. He was the perfect person to roll against to wrap up the tournament.

1976 A’s 5, 2001 A’s 0

Vida Blue (AYZ) handcuffed the 2001 Oakland team by throwing a three-hit shutout.  The 2001 A’s had a chance to score in the top of the first when Jeremy Giambi doubled and was at third with one out, but he was thrown out at home by Bert Campaneris on a fielder’s choice.  The 1976 A’s used an error to score three unearned runs, a bases-loaded three-run double by Billy North put the ’76 team up 3-0.  The 2001 A’s were able to put a runner in scoring position three times later in the game, but Blue dug deep to squelch any possible comeback.  He was TOUGH!!

2001 A’s 5, 1976 A’s 4

The Art Howe-led Athletics book their five game losing skid by earning a one-run victory to cap off the tournament.  In the bottom of the 1st, the 2001 A’s tagged Mike Torrez (AZ) for five runs.  A two-run single by Eric Chavez, an RBI single by Dye, and a two-run home run by Ron Gant gave Oakland a healthy 5-0 lead.  Torrez was able to settle in and managed to throw seven full innings, not allowing another run.  The 1976 team chipped away, getting a big shot in the arm on a two-run home run by Gene Tenace in the 4th.  Magnante and Isringhausen were able to hold on to make Cory Lidle a winner as the 2001 A’s finished their tournament run with a 3-7 mark.

CONCLUSION

This was another well-worthy event – an outstanding way to spend a weekend! I’m thankful to have a wife that supports my APBA-antics as this provides for the perfect weekend getaway with my brother. Looking at how my team did, the A’s averaged 4.7 runs a game – not too shabby – but they also allowed a tournament-high 65 runs.  That tells me that the dice were just against me, especially considering my two “A” relievers had high ERAs, giving up 10 of my 14 homeruns.  My shoddy defense and lack of Z rating didn’t help me, either.

Everything that Jim and Darrell provided was top-shelf for sure.  From the constant communication before the tournament, the custom-made team envelopes, the stories, the camaraderie, it’s all worth it no matter how your team does.  The week before the tournament, all players submitted their roster information (lineups, pitcher grades, etc).  This was really helpful and timesaving as we were all able to get all of that info upfront.  I scored all of my games on my iPad using iScore, and it was a cinch!

I was able to meet many new APBA players and became better acquainted with ones I already knew.  If you enjoy playing APBA, it should be on your bucket list to attend one of the many APBA Tournaments that have popped up in recent years!  They’re only going to become more popular, so don’t wait!  My brother’s 1985 Toronto Blue Jays fared better than my A’s, but he also missed out on the playoffs.  Ben and I stayed and watched the bracket portion of the tournament.  All of the teams left could all put up runs!  I felt some solace in the fact that both Jim’s Senators and Curt’s Browns both made it to the semifinals, teams that my A’s beat.  It only seemed fitting to see Darrell and Kevin Cluff duke it out for the title.  It’s crazy, though, how TIRED I was that night just by simply playing a game.  We were bushed! So what did my brother and I do?  When we arrived at our destination (my brother-in-law’s house in Minneapolis), we played more APBA before calling it a night.  A VERY SPECIAL thank you to APBA BallPark Master George Adams for “lending” a Fenway Park replica as he hadn’t yet completed my Polo Grounds park yet.  It’s been getting a lot of use, so thank you George!  This is totally changed my APBA time for the better!

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The ballpark (upper right) built by George Adams. You can clearly see it’s the beacon of my APBA master game setup. Thanks, George!

The next tournament will be held October 1st at Darrell’s house in Maple Grove.  For now, I’ve selected the 1951 Brooklyn Dodgers.  I bought the master game team set (along with the 1951 Giants) on eBay.  When my Polo Grounds park is in my possession, I want to play a best of seven between these two teams.  Brooklyn’s lineup is killer, almost perfect fielding, and decent enough pitching.  I have about three other teams I’m contemplating so we shall see.  I rolled a best of seven against my brother and the ’95 Indians and lost in 7.  I still have almost two months to make up my mind.  Below is the tournament field as of July 20th.  It’s an impressive list of participants!

1. 1946 Red Sox – Chris Shores (Minneapolis, MN)
2. 1930 A’s – Garth Anderson (Ramsey, MN)
3. 1911 Giants – Gary Borthwick (Crystal, MN)
4. 1948 Indians – Dave Norlander (Bloomington, MN)
5. 1984 Tigers – Rob Skogen (Forest Lake, MN)
6. 1939 Yankees – Paul Van Beek (Winona, MN)
7. 1995 Indians – Ben Lofgren (Hawley, MN)
8. 1951 Dodgers – Beau Lofgren (Hawley, MN)
9. 2014 Orioles – Darrell Skogen (Maple Grove, MN)
10. 1957 Braves – Jim Sce (Burbank, CA)
11. 2001 Mariners – Phil Geraffo (Minnetonka, MN)
12. 1953 Dodgers – Fred Johnson (Cottage Grove, MN)
13. 2010 Twins – Kevin Cluff (Apple Valley, MN)
14. 2015 Dodgers – Dan Walker (Woodbury, MN)
15. 1981 Expos- Craig Christian (Eau Claire, WI)
16. 1988 Twins – Eric Berg (Jacksonville, IL)
17. 1930 Senators – Jim Fraasch (Savage, MN)
18. 1906 Cubs – Chris Lyons (Apple Valley, MN)
19. 2008 Cubs – Pat Martin (Brooklyn Park, MN)
20. 1977 Phillies – Leroy Arnoldi (Prior Lake, MN)
21. 1968 Tigers – Bill Lilley (Akron, OH)
22. 1930 Cardinals – Bruce Tyler (Elk River, MN)
23. 1927 A’s – Jeff Boeding (Platte City, MO)
24. 1966 Astros – George Adams (Kansas City, MO)
25. 1998 Padres – Ron Emch (Toledo, OH)
26. 2004 Yankees – Cleon Pavlicek (Bloomington, MN)
27. 1985 Cardinals – Roy Langhans (Cockeysville, MD)
28. 1962 Giants – Danny Skillings (Edina, MN)
29. 1998 Braves – Steve Ryan (Harrison, TN)
30. 2015 Astros – John Kalous ( Shiloh, IL)

In my next post, I’ll update my 1984 Twins Master Game Replay as it nears the All-Star Break.  The Twins are struggling but still hold a slim lead in the AL West.  Below are the TWIN CITIES TOURNAMENT RESULTS from April (compiled by Jim Fraasch) and numbers from the 2001 Oakland A’s in the tournament.  What a tournament!  Who kn3w cards, dice, and a bunch of random guys could be so much fun!

TCABT-V          
Saturday, April 2nd, 2016  
JERRY KOOSMAN DIVISION W L R OR RDIFF
1954 INDIANS (PAT MARTIN)* 8 2 39 26 13
1985 BLUE JAYS (BEN LOFGREN) 5 5 46 32 14
1962 GIANTS (RON EMCH) 5 5 44 40 4
1969 TWINS (DAVE NORLANDER) 4 6 53 55 -2
1997 MARINERS (GREGG NELSON) 4 6 35 49 -14
1961 YANKEES (LEROY ARNOLDI) 4 6 26 41 -15
TOTALS 30 30 243 243 0
ROGER MARIS DIVISION W L R OR RDIFF
2011 RANGERS (KEVIN CLUFF)* 7 3 51 34 17
1988 METS (CRAIG CHRISTIAN) 6 4 37 45 -8
1920 INDIANS (GARY BORTHWICK) 5 5 51 37 14
1999 DIAMONDBACKS (ANDY BARTEL) 5 5 43 41 2
2015 ROYALS (ERIC BERG) 5 5 35 35 0
2015 CARDINALS (PHIL GERAFFO) 2 8 28 53 -25
TOTALS 30 30 245 245 0
JOE MAUER DIVISION W L R OR RDIFF
1922 BROWNS (CURT BARTEL)* 7 3 50 28 22
1930 SENATORS (JIM FRAASCH)* 7 3 51 40 11
1977 PHILLIES (JEFF BOEDING) 6 4 58 54 4
1976 ATHLETICS (JOE PAVLICEK) 4 6 38 49 -11
1998 YANKEES (SCOTT ELLINGWORTH) 3 7 45 53 -8
2001 ATHLETICS (BEAU LOFGREN) 3 7 47 65 -18
TOTALS 30 30 289 289 0
PAUL MOLITOR DIVISION W L R OR RDIFF
2015 METS (SCOTT EGGE)* 7 3 46 39 7
2004 CARDINALS (DARRELL SKOGEN)* 6 4 58 41 17
1975 REDS (TOM SHORES) 5 5 56 46 10
1987 TWINS (DAN WALKER) 5 5 62 63 -1
2007 YANKEES (CLEON PAVLICEK) 4 6 43 60 -17
1949 ATHLETICS (GEORGE ADAMS) 3 7 39 55 -16
TOTALS 30 30 304 304 0
DAVE WINFIELD DIVISION W L R OR RDIFF
1912 RED SOX (CHRIS SHORES)* 8 2 46 31 15
1910 ATHLETICS (BRUCE TYLER)* 8 2 36 19 17
1972 PIRATES (ROGER PARSONS) 5 5 36 33 3
1968 CARDINALS (ROB SKOGEN) 4 6 34 32 2
2006 TWINS (CHRIS LYONS) 3 7 22 35 -13
1929 ATHLETICS (FRED JOHNSON) 2 8 18 42 -24
TOTALS 30 30 192 192 0

*  Qualified for Bracket Play

BRACKET PLAY RESULTS

Seed TCABT-V   QUARTER-FINALS G1 G2 G3 SERIES
1 1912 RED SOX (CHRIS SHORES) 2 5 3 1
vs
8 2004 CARDINALS (DARRELL SKOGEN) 3 4 13 2
2 1954 INDIANS (PAT MARTIN) 5 2 0
vs
7 1930 SENATORS (JIM FRAASCH) 7 11 2
3 1922 BROWNS (CURT BARTEL) 4 5 2
vs  
6 1910 ATHLETICS (BRUCE TYLER) 3 3 0
4 2011 RANGERS (KEVIN CLUFF) 4 8 2
vs  
5 2015 METS (SCOTT EGGE) 0 3 0
Seed TCABT-V   SEMI-FINALS G1 G2 G3 SERIES
3 1922 BROWNS (CURT BARTEL) 7 13 4 1
vs
8 2004 CARDINALS (DARRELL SKOGEN) 11 4 6 2
 
4 2011 RANGERS (KEVIN CLUFF) 5 7 7 2
vs
7 1930 SENATORS (JIM FRAASCH) 7 5 1 1
Seed TCABT-V   CHAMPIONSHIP G1 G2 G3 SERIES
4 2011 RANGERS (KEVIN CLUFF) 6 3 7 2
vs
8 2004 CARDINALS (DARRELL SKOGEN) 5 5 5 1

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Here Goes Nuthin’

Greetings!

Happy Last Day of January! Thanks to all of you that read and responded to my latest blog post regarding a tournament team selection. I really appreciate the feedback!  I took a great deal of applicable information from the advice of my APBA brethren. TC Tourney organizer Jim Fraasch also sent me a helpful email that sort of steered me along to my decision….or at least a fun method that will nail down my decision. After reading your responses, I decided to whittle my options to teams that have I’m interested in and/or have sentimental attachments to compared to just picking one the mightiest teams of all times (which means I’ll likely NEVER select a Yankees team – DARN).

I’m down to five teams that I’m interested in rolling with down in the Twin Cities come April. The teams are (insert cheesy drumroll here):

2000 Oakland A’s – sentimental

1990 Oakland A’s – sentimental

1981 Montreal Expos – sentimental and of interest

1931 Philadelphia A’s – interest

1912 New York Giants – Since George Adams is making a Polo Grounds for me to roll in, it might not be a bad idea to throw a Giants team into the mix. Plus, I wanted to add a dead ball team in here to see how the other teams would do against one collectively.

What I’ve decided to do is have the five teams compete in a pool play. It will be very similar to the TC Tournament as each team will play each other twice with each team hosting a game apiece per series.  Each team will use a four man rotation and follow all the rules of the tourney. This pool play will have a fun twist, though. Because there are five teams, one team would theoretically have an “off” day, so to ensure no team suffered any kind of a mental lapse, the odd team out will play one game versus the 1899 Cleveland Spiders (20-134). Special thanks goes to Kevin Burghardt for sharing these cards with me! I haven’t rolled any games with the Spiders yet so this will be something to look forward to (like there isn’t enough already!!). Below is the tentative schedule of the Pool Play:

Day One

1912 Giants vs. 1899 Spiders

1931 A’s vs. 2000 A’s,

1981 Expos vs. 1990 A’s

Day Two

1981 Expos vs. 1899 Spiders

2000 A’s vs. 1912 Giants

1990 A’s vs. 1931 A’s

Day Three

1990 A’s vs. 1899 Spiders

1981 Expos vs. 2000 A’s

1912 Giants vs. 1931 A’s

Day Four

1931 A’s vs. 1899 Spiders

1981 Expos vs. 1912 Giants

1990 A’s vs. 2000 A’s

Day Five

2000 A’s vs. 1899 Spiders

1931 A’s vs. 1981 Expos

1990 A’s vs. 1912 Giants
The games featuring the Spiders will count in the standings of the pool play.  Just as in the TC Tournament, the top two teams will play in a best of three to determine the champion, and the team I’ll take down “south” to Maple Grove (the Twin Cities suburb where this great event will take place).  I’m really looking forward to this! It’s the perfect way to step away from my Master Game project (84 Twins Replay) and continue to become acclimated with the basic game.  It’s fun to crank out games quickly. Once this tourney is over, though, I’ll continue on with my quest in trying to lead those Twins to the AL West crown.  Two questions for you as I wrap this up:

1. Which team will rise above the others and win this thing? (I really have no clue)

2. Will the Spiders win a game? (My gut says no, but….you never know!)

I’ll update the results after each “day.” Thanks for reading! Have a good one!

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)

 

 

 

 

Hrbek, Butcher Making Metrodome Relevant

Greetings!

The rebirth of the 1984 Minnesota Twins via the APBA Baseball Game (Master Addition) is in full force.  The reincarnation of this somewhat forgotten Twins squad just completed its April games, and what has transpired has surprised many.  The season didn’t start out so swell with a near-capacity crowd on hand for Opening Day against the Detroit Tigers.

Not much went right for Williams and the Twins on Opening Day.

Not much went right for Williams and the Twins on Opening Day.

The Tigers took it to the Twinkies 12-1, bashing three homeruns off beleaguered starter “Big” Al Williams.  Minnesota dropped four of its first five games, all at the Metrodome, to start the year out 1-4.

The Minnesota brass made an early decision that helped change the course of the rest of the month.  Heralded prospect Kirby Puckett was brought up from AAA to take the place of struggling  Jim Eisenreich in center field to help bolster the offense.  In Puckett’s debut, he almost witnessed a no-hitter in the Bronx.

"Sweet Music" went from almost joining the No-Hit Club to the Choking in the Bronx Club, but he held on to defeat the Yankees.

“Sweet Music” went from almost joining the No-Hit Club to the Choking in the Bronx Club, but he held on to defeat the Yankees.

Frank Viola (BYZ, MG 14) won a 1-0 duel against Phil Niekro.  Viola’s no-hit bid ended with a two out single to Lou Piniella in the bottom of the 9th, beaning Don Baylor, and then inducing Dave Winfield with an infield popup to end the contest.  That victory seemingly springboarded this Twins team to cloud nine the rest of the month, going 15-4 the rest of the way.

With a 9-7 record, the Twins headed to Tiger Stadium in Detroit for an important two-game series. After day one was rained out, the two teams locked horns in a doubleheader down on “The Corner.”  In the DH opener, the Twins blasted the Tigers 7-1, outhitting Detroit 15-5 as Jack Morris was driven out in the 4th inning.  “Big” Al hurled six effective innings to earn the win.  Minnesota took the nightcap 4-2 in a see-saw game.  Gary Gaetti’s bloop single in the 8th drove home the go ahead run, and Ron Davis (CX, MG 6) pitched two scoreless innings to save it.  Those two wins pushed Minnesota home with added confidence and renewed fan interest in the squad.  The hometown club didn’t disappoint in a short two-game series versus the Yankees.  Mike Smithson (CYZ, MG 10) dealt the Yankees a four hit shutout and the Twins used four two-out RBI singles to nip New York 4-0.  The following night, John Butcher (BYZ, MG 11) tossed a two-hit shutout over the mighty Bombers, leaving the Yankees hitless over the final six innings. Darrell Brown and newly-crowned shortstop Houston Jimenez (who took over for Lenny Faedo mid-April) came through with two out singles to provide the Twins enough offense in their 2-0 win.  The shutout was Butcher’s THIRD of the month.  You read right….THIRD!!

Butcher's mound magic has the Twins bursting with optimism.

Butcher’s mound magic has the 84 Twins bursting with optimism.

The sparse crowds were very enthusiastic and energetic which provided a nice change for the 25 guys in the third base dugout – the ‘Dome is beginning to become a relevant place!  The Twins took that energy to the Oakland Coliseum to win three of four against the A’s.  Minnesota owned a seven-game winning steak until the final game of the series that saw Ron Davis allow a game-tying homerun to Dave Kingman in the 8th, and a two-out bases loaded walk in the bottom of the 9th to officially lose it for the Twins.  Nonetheless, the Twins own a 16-8 record and sit atop the AL West with a three game lead over those same A’s.  The Twins will open May with a three game series up at the Kingdome against the Mariners before heading back to the confines of the Teflon roof.

Team pitching has been the biggest surprise thus far for Minnesota.  The staff boasts a TEAM E.R.A. of 2.99 thru 24 games. Yes….that’s including Ron Davis (3.68, 6 saves in 8 opportunities).  The team has used a four man rotation with a spot-start by Larry Pashnick (DZ, MG 4) who only threw seven shutout innings in Oakland!  The dice will turn the other way eventually, but right now, the Twins will take their good fortunes until the dice roll dry.  Five shutouts and six total complete games round out the accolades.  The bullpen is patchwork at best, but a recent callup of lefty Len Whitehouse (CZ, MG 7) will help a little.  Below are some of the numbers of the Twins starting hurlers:

Viola: 4-2. 2.85 ERA, 1 CG, 1 SHO, 1.244 WHIP

Butcher: 3-1, 1.56 ERA, 3 CG, 3 SHO, 0.942 WHIP

Smithson: 3-1, 2.95 ERA, 2 CG, 1 SHO, 1.286 WHIP

Williams: 3-2, 6.00 ERA, 1.833 WHIP

The offense has been ignited by one main Minnesotan – Kent Hrbek.  “Herbie” came out of the gates blazing, and although he’s cooled off a bit over the last six games, his numbers are certainly MVP-worthy (see below).

The sweet-swing of Hrbek has the Twins' eyes set on a successful '84 campaign.

The sweet-swing of Hrbek has the Twins’ eyes set on a successful ’84 campaign.

The Bloomington, MN native hit six homeruns in his first ten games to provide the early punch the offense needed to be competitive.  The others have slowly followed suit. Mickey Hatcher and Puckett are great table setters for the meat of the order in Hrbek and Tom Brunansky.  Other than Puckett, no one is even a remote threat to steal, so the Twins must utilize the hit-and-run to move men along as the team has attempted to steal just six times (5 for 6).  Gary Gaetti will be mired in the bottom third of the lineup, but his defense is needed on the field (5 rating at 3rd) despite his offensive struggles (in real life, he hit just 5 HR in 1984 despite playing in all 162 games!!).  The team overall is hitting .288, which most teams would take any day of the week, and team on base is a moderate 0.326.  Minnesota is batting a hearty 0.316 with runners in scoring position.  Defense, however, continues to plague the team as it’s made 24 errors – an average of one per game.  With Jimenez now at short, his 8 rating is a huge improvement over Faedo’s miniscule 6.  Below are some offensive stats through April.

 

Hrbek: .394, 9 HR, 23 RBI, 8 2B, 19 Runs, 1.181 OPS

Puckett: .325, 25 total hits (2 XBH), 15 Runs, 6 RBI

Hatcher: .370, 2 HR, 14 RBI, 0.921 OPS

Brunansky: .293, 3 HR, 13 RBI, 0.737 OPS

Ron Washington: .455 (10 games)

Tim Teufel: .250, 2 HR, 9 RBI, .739 OPS

Gaetti: .202, 0 HR, 10 RBI, 0.456 OPS

Tim Laudner: .208, 1 HR, 3 RBI, 0.594 OPS

Darrell Brown: .292

Dave Engle: .288

Randy Bush: .275

Also, I want to give a quick shout out to Jim Fraasch for organizing the 5th Twin Cities APBA Baseball Tournament to be held in April of 2016.  Check out his blog – JIm’s APBA Barn – pretty unique stuff there!  I’m already trying to think of what team to bring next….I’ve narrowed it to about…..hmmmm…..20 TEAMS!  Oh well….I still have time on my side!  Thanks for reading and following this blog.  If you have any 1984 baseball memories, Twins or otherwise, I’d love to hear from you.  Enjoy APBA however you see fit!  66’s!  Enjoy what’s left of this Thanksgiving weekend.  We all have a lot to be thankful for without a doubt.

TWIN CITIES APBA TOURNAMENT – THE GAMES

Hello All!

Welcome to this HALLOWEEN edition of Minnesota Apba!  Thanks for reading this APBA baseball blog!  As the World Series continues to carry on, it got me fired up to post a blog today.  In this edition, I’m going to recap the games I played in the 4th Twin Cities APBA Baseball Tournament held earlier this month!  The tournament was coordinated by Jim Fraasch, and was hosted by Darrell Skogen of Maple Grove.  I still can’t believe that Darrell is currently in his 45th YEAR of teaching!  Kudos to you, Darrell!! This tournament was top-notch, and fun for any level of APBA player!

I selected the 1989 Oakland A’s simply because this team was one of my favorites as a youth, and I had just completed a master game season replay with the squad.  Fresh off reclaiming a world title, I was hoping for further success down in the Twin Cities.  My division consisted of some pretty stout competition.  In my six-team pool, the top two teams advanced to the playoffs. The teams in my pool were: 1905 Giants, 1961 Yankees, 1968 Tigers, 1977 Dodgers, and the 1989 Cubs.  My biggest concern was my offense.  This A’s team has a tendency to not produce runs, especially if the top of the order is stagnant.  I knew my pitching staff would hold their own, and was confident that I wouldn’t be blown out.

In my first two games I was matched up against the 68 Tigers, and Mr. Bill Lilley!  Bill won the Chicagoland tournament with this team, so I was shaking at the knees as I was about to roll my first ever face-to-face APBA tournament game of my life.

68 TIGERS 3, 89 A’s 2 (10 innings)

This was an epic tourney opener!  The Oakland braun was on display early.  Rickey Henderson led off the game with a 66-0, 33-1 homerun off 31-game winner Denny McClain.  With two outs, Mark McGwire dialed long distance with another solo shot, and now I’m up 2-0!  Not so fast….Al Kaline’s solo homer later in the inning made it 2-1.  The rest of the game offensively for me was excruciating and frustrating!  From the third inning through the 9th, I had at least one runner in scoring position EVERY INNING and didn’t score!!  Henderson had two doubles, and doubles by Carney Lansford, McGwire, and Dave Parker went all for not.  Meanwhile, Detroit knotted the game up in the 4th on a Norm Cash homer.  The Tigers threatened in the 8th and 9th, stranding two runners both innings.  Finally, the Tigers scored a run in the 10th.  With two outs, Gates Brown doubled, Willie Horton walked, and Cash singled to score Brown.  McClain allowed a two-out double to Lansford in the bottom of the 10th, but Jose Canseco capped off an 0-5 night with a strike out.  McClain earned the win, while Mike Moore (AY) suffered defeat.

89 A’s 4, 68 TIGERS 3

As was the first game, this one was a white-knuckler to the end.  Dave Stewart (BYZ) took on Mickey Lolich.  Detroit provided the early firepower with some clutch two-out hitting.  In the bottom of the 3rd, Brown’s two-out double plated Mickey Stanley and Kaline to put the Tigers ahead 2-0.  In the 4th, Stanley’s two-out double scored Bill Freehan as Detroit led 3-0.  I’m thinking, “Great…another loss.”  My PED dice, however, worked their magic in the latter half of the game.  Lansford led off the 6th with a single.  Bill Lilley went to the bullpen to summon John Hiller.  After Canseco flew out, McGwire launched a two-run homer to center.  Parker then doubled, but Hiller retired Ken Phelps and Terry Steinbach.  In the 8th, Lilley brought in Daryl Patterson.  Again, it was McGwire coming up big, with a 11-1 homerun down the line in left to tie the game 3-3.  In the bottom of the 8th, with Dennis Eckersley now on the hill (A&C, XZ), the Tigers had men on second and third with one out.  Willie Horten attempted a squeeze.  The bunted ball was caught by Steinbach, and his rifled throw down to Lansford at third retired a napping Dick McAullife off of third base for a nice 2-5 double play.  An unlikely offensive hero emerged for the A’s in the 9th.  With two outs and no one on, Walt Weiss slapped a double down the line in left.  Rickey came through with a single to shallow right to score Weiss.  Eckersely retired the side in the 9th as Oakland earned tournament victory #1.  Todd Burns (AYZ) earned the win in relief of Stewart with Eck earning the save.  Bill Lilley was a joy to roll against….he lived and died with EVERY ROLL!  So much enthusiasm!!

89 A’s 5, 77 DODGERS 3

I jumped over to the adjacent table to roll with Mr. George Adams in one of his custom built ballparks.  This was a highlight for sure!  Bob Welch (BY) and Tommy John was the marquee pitching matchup in this one.  Three singles by Mike Gallego, Rickey, and Canseco gave the A’s a 2-0 lead in the 3rd.  Rick Monday was not to be outdone, as he crushed a Welch fastball for a solo homer later in the inning.  In the 5th, Lansford singled in Rickey, stole second, and later scored on a McGwire double to make it 4-1.  LA fought right back in the 5th as Steve Yaeger’s two-out, two-run round tripper cut it to 4-3.  Small ball gave the A’s a much needed two-run cushion in the 6th.  Phelps drew a leadoff walk, and Billy Beane came into pinch run.  Gallego singled, moving Beane to third with one out.  Weiss executed a perfect squeeze bunt for a single with Beane sliding headfirst over home plate to put the A’s on top 5-3.  Burns and Eckersley combined to toss four shutout innings of relief with only one man reaching base as the A’s won their second straight ballgame.  Welch was the winner, John the loser tossing a complete game, and Eck earned another save.

77 DODGERS 5, 89 A’S 0

My greatest fear came to fruition in game four of the tournament.  While Storm Davis (BY) hurled a decent game, my bats went ice cold against Doug Rau as he tossed a five hit shutout while allowing four walks.  In four innings, the A’s left runners in scoring position, but could not come up with a timely hit.  That would have been vital considering it was only a 1-0 game into the seventh.  Reggie Smith belted a solo homer in the 4th, and then Steve Garvey took over.  He nailed a two-run homer in the 7th off Rick Honeycutt (AYZ), and another two run bomb in the 9th off Eckersley to separate the Dodgers from the A’s in their 5-0 win.  It was a pleasure to play George Adams!  His jovial, energetic persona helped me realize to focus more on fun and less on winning!  His custom ballparks are second-to-none!

1905 GIANTS 5, 89 A’S 0

As I moved back to my original table for my fifth game of the day, the silenced-bat spirits must’ve followed me over. Jeff Boeding and his dead-ball Giants deadened the Oakland bats in yet another 5-0 shutout.  I found out in a hurry that Christy Mathewson is one tough SOB!  Mathewson limited the Oakland offense to three lone hits and two walks.  The only man to get past first was Parker, who’s two out double in the bottom of the 9th meant nothing in the Giants easy win.  Moore suffered his second loss of the tournament.  8 of the 9 starting players for New York reached base.

1905 GIANTS 6, 89 A’s 5

As heartbreaking of a loss the A’s had earlier to those powerful 68 Tigers, this loss was more demoralizing for me in a classic back-and-forth matchup. In the top of the 2nd, Oakland plated the first run of the game on a two-out single by Gallego, scoring Parker.  The Giants stormed later that inning, stringing together a walk and three hits (all with two outs) to score three runs to take a 3-1 lead.  Trailing 4-2 in the 5th, Jose Canseco’s bat awoke by blasting a 3-run home run to put my squad up 5-4!  It was very uplifting to retake the lead.  Stewart was replaced in the bottom of the 6th by Todd Burns.  With two outs, a double by Roger Bresnahan and a single by Mike Donlin scored two runs off of my A-rated setup man as the Giants now led 6-5.  The salt-in-the-wound moment for me came in the top of the 7th.  Lansford led off with a walk, and Canseco singled Lansford over to third, with Canseco stealing second.  I have runners at second and third, no outs, and Mcgwire and Parker due up.  McGwire proceeds into a L-4-6 double play, lining out to second and having Canseco doubled up.  Parker lined out to second again to end the 7th.  Rickey came up in the 8th with two on and two out, but Joe McGinnity struck Rickey out, and retired the side in the 9th to edge the A’s by a run.  This one was tough, as I now had lost three straight games.  Jeff was the epitomy of a straight-faced roller.  We shared some great stories, and I valued his knowledge and interest of my A’s replays!  Classy for sure!

89 A’S 16, 61 YANKEES 5

Sitting with a 2-4 record in my pool, I didn’t have any optimism of making the playoff round at this point.  With a twin bill against the 61 Yankees, I wasn’t going to expect much, and was praying to be at least competitive.  Gary Borthwick was my opponent, and he, too, was looking to break the skids of a five game winless streak.  What transpired was downright nuts!  New York broke a scoreless tie in the 4th.  A two-run blast by Elston Howard and a solo shot by Yogi Berra were a part of a four-run inning off Welch.  The A’s had the APBA gods on their side in the bottom half of the 4th.  McGwire walked, Parker reached on an error by Bobby Richardson at second, and Ken Phelps’ infield single loaded the bases with zero outs.  Ralph Terry dug in and struck out Steinbach and Gallego, but that Richardson error prevented  the inning from being over.  The onslaught was about to commence!  Weiss hit a bloop two-run single down the line in right to put the A’s on the board.  After a Rickey walk, Lansford’s single over second scored two more.  Canseco smacked a three run homer and all the sudden, Oakland held a 7-4 lead, scoring 7 unearned runs!  Leading 7-5 in the 7th, an even bigger inning loomed ahead for the A’s.  8 runs came across home plate on nine hits and a walk, with six runs scoring with two outs.  Oakland added a final run in the 8th as the A’s cruised to a 16-5 win.  Welch had more than enough run support to earn the win, hurling a complete game.  This win helped wash the taste out of my mouth from the previous three losses!

89 A’s 7, 61 YANKEES 6

This game had runs aplenty early, and a crucial hit late with bullpen help as Oakland escaped with another win.  Rickey led off the game reaching on another error by Richardson.  Canseco helped make the Yanks pay for that as a 66-1 showed up for a two-run homerun.  The “M & M” boys reared their heads later in the 1st as Mantle’s two-run homer and a solo blast by Maris of Storm Davis put New York on top 3-2.  Trailing 4-2 in the 3rd, it was Canseco who was the man of the hour for the A’s.  With one out, Rickey singled, stole second, and Lansford walked.  Canseco followed by drilling a three-run homerun to center, putting the A’s ahead 5-4.  Berra and Maris played home run parade in he 4th as their solo shots gave the Yankees a 6-5 lead.  Oakland tied the contest back up in the 5th on…..you guessed it….ANOTHER Canseco homer!  His solo round-tripper made it 6-6.  The A’s went to the bullpen in the 6th with Burns, and he retired six straight over two innings.  Oakland took the lead for good in the 8th when Gallego tripled and Rickey singled Gallego in.  Eckersley hurled two scoreless innings to preserve another Oakland win!  Gary had likely the worst luck in the tournament!  I couldn’t believe the rolls that were for him/against him all day.  He handled it with class, and it was fun to roll with him!

——————————————————————–

After my first eight games, the 89 A’s had a record of 4-4 following the sweep of the 61 Yankees.  The 1905 Giants were a lock for the top seed, sitting at 7-1 with one game to go.  Bill’s 68 Tigers and the 1989 Cubs, my final opponent, were both ahead of me at 5-3.  To have a chance to make the playoff round, I’d need to beat the 89 Cubs, the 68 Tigers had to lose to the 77 Dodgers, and my A’s would have to win the run-differential in a potential three-way tie.  Well, the first domino to fall was when those Dodgers nipped Mr. Lilley’s Tigers 6-4.  So….it was up to the A’s to take it to those 89 Cubs…..led by……my OLDER brother, Ben Lofgren!  I’ve played APBA now for five years, and it took that long to hook my brother on the game.  This upcoming game was really the culmination of a lot of things….the older/younger brother battle in almost everything we did as kids…..our first APBA tournament ever…..final game of pool play…..winner take all – playoff berth secured – loser DONE. I was eagerly awaiting the outcome of the contest. Moore vs. Maddux (BYZ).

Jose Canseco helped the cause for the 89 A’s in the bottom of first with his 11-1 two-out solo homerun to put me up 1-0.  After a scoreless 2nd, what evolved next was downright comical, insane, and…well….pure A’s pleasure!! Walt Weiss led off with a simple groundout to Ryne Sandberg at second.  No big deal. Maddux began to unravel in a way that not even a mid-80’s high-rolling Pete Rose could’ve hustled.  Back to back walks to Ricky and Lansford and a triple by Canseco plated two runs.  After McGwire was walked, Parker’s single to right scored Canseco.  Back-to-back infield singles by Phelps and Steinbach brought McGwire in, but Cobra was retired on a fielder’s choice by Gallego.  Leading 5-0 with two outs and the bases loaded, the nails were about to get hammered into the coffin.  Weiss came up clutch slapping a two-run single to left to score Phelps and Steinbach to make it 7-0.  Rickey capped off a 9-run third inning by blasting a 11-0, 33-1 three-run homerun, giving my A’s a 10-0 lead, leaving my brother in absolute bewilderment!  It was so funny to see this all unfold with everything at stake!  I couldn’t believe it!! Moore was dominant through seven innings. His lone blemish up through that juncture was a two-out triple by Shawon Dunston…that’s it.  A two-out, two-run single up the middle by #9 batter Luis Salazar made the final 10-2 as Moore allowed four hits, two runs, no walks, and struck out nine to earn his first win in three tries.  Ben, of course, was the classy big brother he’s been my whole life, and offered his me his congratulatory blessings, and I wouldn’t have wanted to play anyone else in that situation!  Talk about pressure and euphoria at the same time!  We were kids in the candy story!

With the win, my 89 A’s, 68 Tigers, and Ben’s 89 Cubs all finished in a tie for second place in our division, but with the run differential, I was fortunate to claim the second and final playoff berth from the Kent Hrbek Division.

KENT HRBEK DIVISION W L R OR RDIFF
1905 GIANTS (JEFF BOEDING) 8 1 45 25 20
1989 ATHLETICS (BEAU LOFGREN) 5 4 49 38 11
1968 TIGERS (BILL LILLEY) 5 4 40 36 4
1989 CUBS (BEN LOFGREN) 5 4 39 41 -2
1977 DODGERS (GEORGE ADAMS) 3 6 26 29 -3
1961 YANKEES (GARY BORTHWICK) 1 8 34 64 -30
TOTALS 27 27 233 233 0

WHEW!  I made it!  Truthfully, this was the highlight of the “playing” part of the tournament.  I’d been through a lot with these 89 A’s, and this was the coronation of sorts for them…..to be one of the final eight teams out of 23 participants.  Now, anyone has a shot at winning this thing!  After getting through to this point, anything after this would simply be icing on the cake.

Out of the eight playoff teams, I was the 8th and final seed.  My first round opponent would me the 2011 Texas Rangers, managed by APBA-legend Kevin Cluff.  Kevin is the main moderator of the APBA Delphi Forum, and was hand-picked by Mr. John Herson himself to continue this valuable commodity.  On top of that, Kevin was the 2015 National Convention Champion, taking the 1998 Yankees to the top amongst 48 total teams!!  I attempted to put my best poker face on and not be intimidated, but this would be a tall order for sure.  Before the tournament, I’d only played four APBA Baseball basic-version games in my life….I can’t even imagine how many Kevin has rolled!!

GAME ONE – Mike Moore vs. Alexi Ogando

The A’s won the toss, and I elected to be the home team.  His Rangers started the playoffs off right as Michael Young led off the top of the first with a solo shot to center.  After that blast, though, both staters settled in nicely.  The A’s got a leadoff double in the 4th by Lansford in the second, but my big three – Canseco, McGwire, and Parker all went belly-up.  In the 5th, it was a repeat of the previous inning. Ken Phelps doubled to begin the inning, but Steinbach, Gallego, and Weiss were retired.  Leading 1-0 in the top of the 6th, Kevin brought in Mike Adams from the pen.  The A’s were able to piecemeal a run when Rickey singled, stole second, and scored on Lansford’s second double of the game.  Canseco grounded out to shallow third, advancing Lansford to third with one out.  Probably the most frustrating event took place next.  McGwire lined up to Ian Kinsler at second, and fired the ball over to Adrian Beltre at third to double-up Lansford for an L-4-5 double play to end the inning. I’m thinking to myself at that point:

“A. How many times in McGwire’s career did he line up to second!….and B.  Carney Lansford would never be that stupid to get doubled off across the diamond in that situation!!”

However, this is APBA — anything is possible, but at least now the game was tied 1-1.  Moore was holding his own, so I left him in to toss the 6th.  Elvis Andrus singled and stole second to begin the inning.  That gosh-darn Michael Young was at it again, this time singled over McGwire’s head to right as Andrus chugged home to put Texas up 2-1.  Moore retired the next three to avert further damage. Eckersley came in and threw shutout ball in the 7th-8th, and Honeycutt tossed a scoreless top of the 9th.  Trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the 9th, the stage was set for a walk off win with Lansford, Canseco, McGwire, and Parker due up against Koji Uehara.  With one out, Canseco walked to give the A’s hope.  McGwire, though, grounded to short and advanced Canseco to second with two outs.  Cobra’s infield single put runners at first and third as Ken Phelps walked to the plate.  I made the decision to start Phelps over Dave Henderson simply because of the 66-1 on his card. “Hendu” had a very vanilla season in 1989, and didn’t have a single-column 1.  For this reason, I inserted Phelps in, and to this point in the tourney, he hadn’t really done “jack” for me, but here was his chance. Kevin pondered for a good minute to throw to him or walk him. Kevin decided to “play ball.”  I rolled a  12-25 – groundout to second, and the game was over!  UGH!  I was SO CLOSE!  Adams earned the win, Moore the loss, and Uehara the save.

GAME TWO – Dave Stewart vs. CJ Wilson

Needing to win twice, and my lone A pitcher now done for the series, I’d seriously need my lumber and bullpen to carry me through if I had any hope of advancing to the semifinals of the tournament.  The bottom of the first for Oakland was downright ugly.  Several times, Kevin would describe his Rangers as the following: “These guys can RAKE!”  Well, they sure did to start this game off!  Two singles, two doubles, a walk, and a sac fly led to a three-run inning for the Rangers.  “Great,” I thought.  But….my A’s clawed right back in as the bottom of the order dialed up three-straight extra-base hits with two outs.  Phelps doubled and scored on Steinbach’s double.  Steinbach came home on a triple hit by Gallego!  Weiss stranded Gallego at third after he struck out.  Stewart breezed thru the 2nd-5th innings, allowing just two hits.  Another golden opportunity slipped through the cracks in the top of the 3rd.  With two outs and men on first and second, Parker reached on an error by Kinsler at second to load the bases for….PHELPS.  Could he clutch up and get me that big hit??  Well, not exactly, as his 34-31 flyout to the warning track in center was just not enough as the A’s left the bases loaded.  In the 6th, Texas gave itself some breathing room.  A rare error by Weiss at short, and doubles by Mitch Moreland and Andrus put two more runs up for the Rangers.  Burns had to relieve Steward in the middle of the 6th, and retired Young and Josh Hamilton to get out of the jam.  Oakland was able to inch closer with a run in the 8th off Uehara as Parker’s single to right drove in Canseco, but that was it.  The 2011 Rangers defeated my 1989 A’s by a score of 5-3.

Kevin would end up falling in the semi-finals to the eventual champion 1937 Yankees led by Leroy Arnoldi.  As you can see, a majority of the playoff-games were tight!

TCABT-IV BRACKET RESULTS:

Seed TCABT-IV   QUARTER-FINALS G1 G2 G3 SERIES
1 2011 RANGERS (KEVIN CLUFF) 2 5 2
vs
8 1989 ATHLETICS (BEAU LOFGREN) 1 3 0
2 1906 CUBS (ERIC BERG) 2 2 0
vs
7 1937 YANKEES (LEROY ARNOLDI) 3 3 2
3 1905 GIANTS (JEFF BOEDING) 5 2 7 2
vs  
6 2013 RED SOX (CHRIS SHORES) 4 7 5 1
4 1976 REDS (PAUL VAN BEEK) 2 8 5 2
vs  
5 1911 ATHLETICS (CRAIG CHRISTIAN) 3 1 4 1
Seed TCABT-IV   SEMI-FINALS G1 G2 G3 SERIES
1 2011 RANGERS (KEVIN CLUFF) 2 3 0
vs
7 1937 YANKEES (LEROY ARNOLDI) 8 7 2
 
3 1905 GIANTS (JEFF BOEDING) 2 8 4 2
vs
4 1976 REDS (PAUL VAN BEEK) 5 5 3 1
Seed TCABT-IV   CHAMPIONSHIP G1 G2 G3 SERIES
3 1905 GIANTS (JEFF BOEDING) 5 2 0
vs
7 1937 YANKEES (LEROY ARNOLDI) 10 3 2

CONCLUSION

My 89 A’s finished the tournament with a 5-6 overall record.  That doesn’t appear to be too stellar on the surface, but the grit they showed when they needed to makes that record far less blemished!  Considering the stout tournament field, I was more than tickled to be in the final 8.  As I continue to play this addicting game, somehow, someway, these dice “know” more than meets the eye.  It’s all in what those two six-sided cubes warrant in any given situation.  I’m further hooked on this game after playing in this tournament, and just like Halloween, Christmas, and Tax Day, the Twin Cities APBA Baseball Tournament will likely be a ritual now for me!  Below are some final statistics of my 1989 A’s .  Thanks for reading!

1989 OAKLAND ATHLETICS

Rickey Henderson .304 (14-16), 12 Runs, 5 Doubles, 2 HR, 9 RBI, 7 BB, 8 SB

Carney Lansford .261 (12-46), 7 runs, 4 Doubles, 1 Triple, 6 RBI, 5 BB, 3 SB

Jose Canseco .378 (17-45), 10 Runs, 4 Doubles, 6 HR, 17 RBI, 4 BB, 11 K, 1 SB

Mark McGwire .214 (9-42), 6 Runs, 2 Doubles, 3 HR, 7 RBI, 6 BB, 8 K.

Dave Parker .217 (10-46), 2 Runs, 4 Doubles, 3 RBI, 1 BB, 3 K

Ken Phelps .235 (8-34), 4 Runs, 2 Doubles, 1 RBI, 5 BB, 6 K

Terry Steinbach .212 (7-33), 3 Runs, 2 Doubles, 2 RBI, 9 K’s

Mike Gallego .219 (7-32), 4 Runs, 1 Double, 2 Triples, 1 RBI

Walt Weiss .194 (7-36), 3 Runs, 2 Doubles, 5 RBI, 4 BB, 4 K, 2 SB

Ron Hassey .500 (3-6)

Dave Henderson .000 (0-9), 1 BB, 3 K

Billy Beane .167 (1-6), BB, K

Tony Phillips .000 (0-4).

TEAM BATTING AVERAGE .247 (95-385)

Mike Moore (1-3)  32.67 IP, 3.03 ERA, 25 Hits, 14 BB, 15 K, 3 HR

Dave Stewart (0-2) 15.67 IP, 6.89 ERA, 20 Hits, 7 BB, 14 K

Bob Welch (2-0) 14 IP, 5.14 ERA, 13 Hits, 1 BB, 4 K, 4 HR

Storm Davis (0-1) 11.33 IP, 6.35 ERA, 9 HIs, 8 BB, 12 K, 5 HR

Rick Honeycutt (0-0)  6.67 IP, 1.35 ERA, 2 Hits, 3 BB, 4 K

Todd Burns (1-0) 10 IP, 0.90 ERA, 4 Hits, 0 BB, 3 K

Dennis Eckersley (1-0, 2 Saves). 7.67 IP, 2.35 ERA, 5 Hits, 1 BB, 3 K