Monthly Archives: October 2014

Another NLCS Highlight

Happy Halloween, everybody.

At this point I have one Strat project queued up for each of the four sports, but I’ve really only been rolling games for this one here – 1984 MLB.

For one, I’ve really committed to watching every game of the World Series. I’m not really ready to let go of the 2014 season and there is a long and cold winter ahead of us, so I wanted to savor every last pitch of the year.

Secondly, I haven’t yet laid down any of the “pre-production” for my other projects.

I had gotten started rolling up games for the 2004 NFL season and then got sidetracked by how long it takes to get games done.  I play with modified elementary rules and it takes me a good 2 hours to roll a game.  It’s a little too long for me, so I’ve been working on a web app that allows me to mimic rolling the game, albeit in less than an hour.

Is it taking a while to code?  Hell yes.  But good progress is being made and I hope I can start using it within the next month or two here.

My hockey project is an 8-team playoff, all rounds best of 7, using teams from the 2010-11 season: Anaheim, Boston, Chicago, Detroit, Montreal, NY Rangers, Toronto and Vancouver.

And, lastly, a 6-team, single-elimination tournament using 6 teams from the 2008-09 NBA season: Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, LA Lakers, Miami and Orlando.

Kind of excited about each of them and hopefully will start making a dent in each alongside this here MLB project.

This week, another flashback to game 5 of the National League Championship Series.

Sometimes it’s hard to remember that, while always an amazing hitter, Tony Gwynn also used to be fleet of foot.

Here he is, crushing the Chicago Cubs’ hopes and dreams in game 5 of the 1984 NLCS.

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NLCS Game 5 – Gwynn doubles

My wife is a Cardinals fan. (Please forgive her.)

So this year’s National League Championship Series, where Saint Louis fell to the San Francisco Giants, was not exactly a happy time for her.

Nor was this moment of the 1984 NLCS a happy moment in the household of my youth.

Damn could Tony Gwynn hit.

Even back then, when he was killing my team, I couldn’t find it in my heart to harbor any ill will towards him. He always seemed so classy and likable.

Some guys you despise because of how much they torpedo your team, but at the heart of it you’re really only upset that they aren’t on your team. And that seems a stupid reason to hate a guy.

With Gwynn, sure, I would’ve liked him to have been on my team all those years. But I still could never bring myself to dislike the guy.

Some of the other guys on this Padres’ team? Oh, absolutely! But Gwynn? Never.

Here he is doing what he did best, breaking a 3-3 tie in the final game of the National League Championship Series, leading the San Diego Padres over the Chicago Cubs.

Kirk Douglas narrates a basebrawl

Seriously.

More on that in a moment.

First off, I wanted to mention that I am participating in a mid-November APBA project in Woodstock, Illinois.

I grew up playing APBA before getting into computer games, so it’s not a foreign game to me.  I’ve basically moved on to other game companies, although I’ll still dabble with APBA from time to time.

A few years ago I used Diamond Mind Baseball to manage the 1946 Boston Red Sox through a full season and ended up winning the whole she-bang, besting the Brooklyn Dodgers in the World Series.

The memory of that replay is still fairly fresh in my mind, so that’s the team I’ll be bringing with me to the tournament.

I’ve only ever attended a face-to-face event like this once before.  It was a STAR Tournament in Chicago with 20 participants playing Strat-o-Matic.  Teams were drafted, which was honestly quite a fun experience if not a little stressful.

The game-playing experience itself, however, left some things to be desired. There were a few players who kind of soured the experience for me.

For example, there was a kid who drafted predominantly Phillies, even when better players were on the board still. I kept overhearing some guy bad-mouthing the kid’s drafting strategy and how awful it was and I kept thinking “Y’know, he loves the Phillies. Let him draft Phillies. He might go 6-14 this weekend, but he’s going to have fun because he’s holding cards for players he likes. Let it go, man.”

And then there was the kid I absolutely pantsed in the quarterfinals of the tournament. After the final out of something like a 7-2 win by my team, he threw his dice on the floor and stormed out. Easy, man. Easy. It’s a game.

Speaking of angry outbursts, this week’s video is from an August 12th brawl between the Atlanta Braves and San Diego Padres.

Braves starting pitcher Pascual Perez started the game off plunking Alan Wiggins on the very first pitch of the day.

In the bottom of the 8th, Perez came up with reliever Craig Lefferts on the mound and…  well, you’ll see.

Chicago Cubs 1984 Mid-Season

WGN TV broadcast a mid-season special on the Chicago Cubs during the 1984 season.

Some kind soul posted it.  Ain’t YouTube grand?

Over here in south-central Wisconsin, things are getting cold.

I usually try to commute via bike to work once a week and today was the first day that I noticed that I was pretty much in the shadows the entire time.

The sun is sitting noticeably lower on the horizon than it did even one week ago.

With that, of course, is colder weather.  And on a 30 mph descent down a hill, by the time I hit the bottom, my arms were each completely numb.

In the world of sports, I’m writing this up in front of the opening game for the Chicago Blackhawks as the 2014-15 season kicks off.

As a side note, I’m doing a little tournament with 8 teams from the 2010-11 NHL season, so look for occasional notes on that.

I’m greatly looking forward to the American League Championship Series this year.  I tend to “root for the story” and having two beleaguered franchises go up against each other in the junior circuit is very intriguing to me.  Good to know that we’ll have at least one team from that background in the World Series, so I already know that that will be interesting as well.

The NLCS, however, holds much less interest for me.

Seeing the Giants and Cardinals in there is like an NCAA Final Four that involves Duke, Kentucky, Kansas, and North Carolina.

Pass.

Also, happiest birthday to my big brother Shawn, who’s responsible for getting me hooked on this dice stuff in the first place.

The Sandberg Game

Aside from crying profusely after the Chicago Cubs fell to the San Diego Padres in the 1984 National League Championship Series, my next most vivid memory from the season is what came to be known as “The Sandberg Game”.

This was Ryne Sandberg’s arrival to Major League Baseball as he hit two clutch home runs off of St. Louis Cardinals’ closer extraordinaire Bruce Sutter.

Played on June 23rd of the 1984 season, I’ll always remember that The Sandberg Game was played on a Saturday.  That’s because our family always went to 5 o’clock mass on Saturdays and we were late for services because of this game.

Check out the fun Win Probability Chart at Baseball Reference here: http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CHN/CHN198406230.shtml#wpa

Sandberg’s taters gave 44 and 49% swings (pun!) in the win expectancy away from the Cardinals and towards the Cubs.

Definitely a day I won’t soon forget.