Monday, February 11, 2013

1981 AL East Race, Sept. 12, 1981

With about three weeks remaining in the 1981 season that I'm replaying with APBA baseball, the American League East division is featuring the tightest pennant race I've seen in the 14 years I've been playing the statistical based game.

For those of you new to the game, APBA uses dice and player cards with numbers printed on them that replicate closely their actual statistics complied for that particular season. Players roll two dice, match the number rolled to that on the player's card and then compare it to a corresponding number on a board to determine the batter's action.

The game company has created cards for most of the previous seasons, so enthusiasts like me, can replay virtually any season. It's a great way to learn baseball history and, as in this case, provides pretty neat results.

I began replaying the 1981 season in December 2011 and decided to act like the baseball strike of that year never happened and play each team's full 162-game schedule. Fourteen months later, I've reached Sept. 12, 1981.

Here's how the AL East looks:
                   W     L     GB
Detroit         85    57      –
Baltimore    85    58     .5
Milwaukee  85    58     .5
New York   81    61     4

Here's the games remaining for those teams:
Baltimore: at Mil (1); at Cle (2); Mil (3); Det (3); at NY (4); at Det (3); NY (3)
Detroit: Cle (1); at Bos (4); at Cle (3); at Bal (3); Mil (3); Bal (3); at Mil (3)
Milwaukee: Bal (1); NY (3); at Bal (3) at Bos (3) at Det (3); Bos (3); Det (3)
New York: Bos (1); at Mil (3); at Bos (3); Cle (3); Bal (4); at Cle (3); at Bal (3)

In the American League West, Kansas City leads California by 3.5 games. The two teams play each other three more times, so that division could turn into a dogfight as well.

Both divisions in the National League are virtually decided. Montreal, with speedsters Tim Raines and Rodney Scott and home run slugger Andre Dawson, is leading Philadelphia by 12 games with 21 games remaining for both teams. Los Angeles, with a chance of having four 20-game winners on its pitching staff, leads Houston by 11 games.

It's why we play this game. I've learned about the 1981 season doing this replay and each night, as I roll games, I create the drama and excitement that comes with real pennant races.

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