Despite the changes in my life and the lack of as much free time as I once had, I still manage to roll a few games in my 1991 APBA baseball season replay. I used to average four to five games a day played. Now, I'm lucky to toss five games a week. (And, now, I average a blog posting only about once a month.)
But I'm not complaining. It's been three months since my Illinois girl moved down here with me and my life has been enhanced greatly. I mean, the APBA game is great, but my new lifestyle has been amazing.
Still, though, I find time to play the game every so often and last week a run of games I rolled showed me yet again, as it has many times, why the APBA game is so good and why it remains a staple in most of us game players' lives from childhood through our adult years. It's the only game I've found that continues to do that.
I opened the string of games with Detroit traveling to Minnesota. I lived in Minnesota and have been a Twins fan since I was about seven years old. I saw Kirby Puckett and Dan Gladden and Kent Hrbek play in Minneapolis and in the 1987 World Series in St. Louis. Their 1991 World Series victory over Atlanta is the reason why I am replaying the 1991 season now.
In the game against the Tigers, Mickey Tettleton hit two home runs and drove in six runs, pacing Detroit to a 9-5 win. The loss dropped the Twins to 18-13 and a game behind American League West leader Seattle. Minnesota is 3-9 in its last 12 games as well, giving me a bit of a panic feeling and, have I been playing the four- to five-game pace each day, I'd be feeling it more, I'm sure. When you immerse yourself into seasons like I had, you begin to feel their intensity more.
I followed that game with a quick 1-0 win by the New York Yankees over Oakland. Yankees' pitcher Tim Leary gave up only four hits and struck out 10 in the victory.
Montreal continued to lose, dropping yet another game against San Diego and falling to 5-25. Fred McGriff hit a home run for the Padres.
Dennis “Oil Can” Boyd struck out 11 for Texas as he defeated Boston, 7-5, and Rafael Palmeiro, probably stocked up on steroids, hit a three-run home run for the Rangers.
Danny Tartabull hit his eighth home run of the season to lead Kansas City over Milwaukee, 4-0. Hal McRae added a two-run shot for the Royals.
And it was a bad night to be a catcher in Cleveland on May 12, 1991, in my replay. Ron Tingley struck out five times in six at bats for the Angels in their 12-inning win over Cleveland. Meanwhile, Indians catcher Joel Skinner K'd three times in four at bats.
Kal Daniels hit two home runs for Los Angeles and the Dodgers improved to 16-13 after their 5-3 win over Philadelphia. Bob Ojeda is now 5-0 for the Dodgers.
And finally, the New York Mets — vast over-achievers so far in this replay with a 17-12 season record — pounded San Francisco, 10-0. Dwight “Doc” Gooden recorded a complete game and every Met in the starting lineup either scored a run or drove one in, including Vince Coleman. I invoked his name only because somewhere in my possessions I have a photograph I shot of Coleman giving me an international finger sign. I got a press pass to see a double header against Atlanta in St. Louis in 1989 and I was able to go onto the field of the old Busch Stadium during batting practice. I shot several photographs of Braves' outfielder Dale Murphy for the daughter of a friend where I worked. I spotted Coleman in a tunnel leading from the Cardinals' dugout where scores of bats were stored in a rack. Coleman was selecting a bat but noticed me shooting his photograph. He promptly raised his middle finger, ruining my pictures and being, well, being himself. Remember, this is the guy who threw the firecracker at fans in Los Angeles in 1993 and injured three children.
The games I managed to fit in last week brought back a lot of memories. It was fun seeing the names of those players I had watched 25 years ago, including Coleman's. The games took on meaning once again and, although it will take me a long, long time to complete this replay, I was able to briefly get that feeling again of the personality of the teams and the progression of the season. Usually, because I had no real life, I could complete a full-season replay in about a year and a half. This time, at the rate I'm on, it'll take five years to finish the 1991 season.
But every so often, I'll find time to get out the dice and cards, toss a few games and get back into the magic that APBA had on us even as youngsters.