Thursday, May 31, 2012

The 1981 Mulligan

With the next roll of the APBA dice in my 1981 baseball replay game, I will enter a world that never was. After playing the season for nearly six months now, I’ve reached the games for June 12.

It’s the day in the real baseball world that the games stopped. The players union went on strike that day, canceling hundreds of games and creating a weird, minor league-type scenario when the games resumed in August.

The league split the season; the team that finished first in its division faced the second-half division winner in a precursor to the Wild Card playoffs.

I remember that strike and it was the beginning of a series of disappointments that surfaced in the realm of sports. The 1981 strike, the 1994 strike, Boston coming back from a 3-game deficit to beat the Yankees in 2004, most of the Minnesota Twins’ seasons, the list goes on.

But in APBA, it’s different. I have more control over things and I can correct the wrongs.

I won’t have a strike. I’ll keep the season going as if everyone is in accord and there are no labor disputes and money issues.

And I’ll see what happens. There’s not many chances in life where you can alter the outcome. It’s a mulligan of sorts.

I mentioned here before that 1981 was a transitional year for me. I had broken up with a great girlfriend at the end of 1980 and I was acclimating to life without her. Another ex-girlfriend found me that spring after our breakup of two years prior. She told me about her boyfriend and how great things were. Weird times then. And I fell back on sports as I always do when things get weird.

But the strike happened and we suffered through six weeks or so of no sports.

I am rectifying that now. With the first part of my replayed season completed and upon the brink of going where no 1981 baseball player has ever gone, I reflect on what can happen.

In my replay, Montreal is the best team with a 39-18 record. (There are no rain outs in my APBA replays and the standings reflect all the games scheduled to date). Los Angeles leads the National League West, the Yankees are a half game ahead of Milwaukee in the American League East and California leads Kansas City by a half game.

So, I’ll roll the dice tonight. Baltimore will play Seattle in a game that never was. And then I’ll play more games to see how things turn out. It’s a rare chance to fix things that should never have gone wrong in the first place. I’m looking forward to it.


  1. I turned 16 in May of 1981. I got my first APBA Baseball game the previous year and spent most of that summer playing games. With the strike I played more games to fill the void.

    If there was a strike today, I would still play games, but part of the void would be filled by the bombardment of NFl coverage, the NBA playoffs into July(?) and how long do the NHL playoffs go? I don't know much about hockey, but I think I can match the appropriate Kings logo with the proper franchise.

    Love the Blog, keep it up!

  2. I hit 18 in May of 1981 and remember the strike like it was yesterday. Thankfully I had been playing APBA since the 1972 season was released and had every card set thereafter. It certainly helped ease the pain of no MLB for what seemed like an eternity.

    Thanks for bringing me back to those great Expos teams ....