Saturday, April 6, 2013

Goodbye, Bert Blyleven

There is a sense of nostalgia and even my own mortality as I draw near to finishing a season replay of the APBA baseball game I play.

This may come across as a bit weird, as a bit goofy romanticism and as an over-analytical diatribe, but that’s how I’m wired, I guess. I’ve had many an ex-girlfriend accuse me of analyzing our failed relationships too closely when, and if, I ever got a chance to do the post-game interviews following a break-up.

But so be it. It’s there, and it reared again last week when I rolled a game featuring Boston and Cleveland.

It was a meaningless game in the 1981 replay I’m doing. It was the next to last day of the season and both teams were far behind the leaders. It was just a game with little significance.

Bert Blyleven was pitching for the Indians. He ended up losing the game; in the seventh inning, I pulled him for a reliever and realized it would be the last time I’d ever use his player card. 

It’s a sobering idea when considering your own mortality. I doubt I’ll play the 1981 season again. I began the replay in December 2011 and now, 16 months later, I’m about three days from finishing the season. It’s a long, arduous journey to do a complete season game by game. I took on 1981 as a means to see what would happen had there been no baseball strike and to relive a tumultuous year in my own life — one filed with lost love, a turning point from being a kid to an adult and of self-awareness of the way things were to be.

When the game was over, I slid the Indians players’ cards back into the envelope. Cleveland has one more game remaining in their season, but Blyleven won’t pitch again. And he may never pitch in any other season for me.

Next up, when this season is done — perhaps by mid next week — I will tackle 1942. Then, I think it will be 1919 and then maybe 1969. That’s four or five years of work ahead just for those three seasons. 

And there’s plenty more seasons to replay. Couple that with the fact that I’m no longer a kid, I may not be alive to finish all the seasons I have left to play. And, new card sets come out each year for the previous season. It’s an endless conveyor that could stretch for eternity as long as the APBA company prints seasons.

Each season takes on a personality and, for a lack of better wording, the players become “friends” in a sense. Replayers learn their characteristics on the field. We look forward to rolling the dice for certain players and when we put them away, there is a melancholy feel to it all.

See? I do tend to romanticize and overanalyze too much.

So, Bert Blyleven goes back into the card envelope, destined for the shelf once this season is completed. I’ll pull out 1942 and then, as that season reaches its conclusion, I’ll go through this all again. Weird, ain’t it?

Despite my quirks, though, it did make for interesting post-game interviews with those exes.


  1. What boards are you using for your replay?
    Thank you for your posts. I greatly enjoy reading your musings on the '81 replay, and life in general.



  2. I'm using the ones that came with the 1998 basic game - the first baseball game I bought from APBA. It's copyrighted 1995 and has the old MMI logo on it, along with the APBA diamond. They're the color coded ones.. green equals hits or errors, pink equals outs.

  3. You can always pull out your favorite teams and conduct a World Baseball Legendary Team Classic!