Monday, August 6, 2012

The Being of Lateness

How do you explain to someone that you’re late because a baseball game that never really happened went into extra innings and you had to see how it finished.

This has happened to me more times than socially acceptable, I think, as I replay the 1981 baseball season with the APBA game I obsess with.

I have a few quirky rules with the game and that may contribute to my lateness on occasion. I never leave a game unfinished. Before I leave my home for work, the game I’m rolling has to be completed, the player cards sheathed back in the team’s envelopes and the scores, stats and standings updated. I won’t even go to sleep until a game is ended and that little quirk bit me the other night when I had a game run 23 innings long on a work night.

So how do you explain to your bosses that you’re feeling a little groggy the following morning because Atlanta failed to score after putting guys on first and third with one out in the 17th inning? 

I am a newspaper correspondent who works in an office by myself, so if I’m late a few minutes coming in, it’s not that big of a deal. However, it’s kind of weird if I’m tarrying on an early morning interview and I tell the source that I’d been there earlier had Rollie Fingers, with his monster pitching card, not been in the groove and forcing the game into additional innings by mowing down opponents.

Or if the White Sox decide to go ballistic and score 14 against lowly Seattle. It takes time to progress a game, for example, when Chicago gets 18 hits.

The quirky rule of not leaving a game in progress may in part be due to my cat. At times she jumps on the APBA table to get a box seat for the game. She also enjoys pawing through the cards and scattering them across the desk and floor.

Once, and I can’t confirm this, my cat may have taken one of the dice. The game utilizes a large red die and a small white die to obtain game results. They are vital to the game. I returned home once and, as I sat to roll a game, I couldn’t find the white die. Fortunately, since I’ve been playing APBA for more than three decades, I had plenty of spare. But I still wondered about that die. I could not find it anywhere on the floor, in the hallway or anywhere my cat may have batted it about. I wondered if she ate it and, briefly, I considered carefully checking her litter box. I realize that was taking ‘craps’ way too far when dealing with dice.

So now I complete each game, tuck the dice away and close shop before leaving. And that puts me behind at times if I begin a game too late. I try to roll two or three games in the morning and, in a perfect world, I can get them in, hit the shower, dress and be at work when I’m supposed to.

But then you get a game where a pitcher can’t buy an out or the teams’ bats become anemic and the run of three-up, three-down stretches the game into late innings.

In the big scheme of life, there’s much more to worry about than maintaining the quirky superstition I have about finishing the games. I think a much more important issue I need to worry about is just where that lost die ended up.


  1. always blame it on the cat. I think the die may be in the same black hole as the one lost sock.

  2. I missed my train stop for work once while playing Diamond Mind Baseball, managing the 1989 Cubs through a full season. Maddux had a no-no through 7 innings as my stop came up and I thought "Well I feel like getting off the train here would just jinx things. I can't get up and move."

    As you'd guess, no sooner did the train doors shut and we started to pull away than the no-no was broken up in the 8th. D'oh!