It takes a while to prep a season to play.
For the uninitiated, I play APBA, a baseball game that uses player cards. Rather than pictures on their cards, numbers are featured. Game players roll dice, match the numbers to the player’s cards and then to corresponding numbers on play charts. It’s statistically based and gamers can replay any season the APBA game company produces.
I began playing the 1942 season, my first time delving in any season in the 1940s.
But before the dice is tossed, the game player has to set up the season, and that’s where it gets focused, at least for me. I don’t know how others do it; I’ve never actually spoken to another APBA player ever. I should post my phone number here sometime and urge gamers to call, but that’s for another day.
Here’s how I start: First, I set up team schedules. I go to retrosheet.org, a baseball website that lists every season and every game, and get the games played. But, because I want each team to play its full schedule, I find I have to often reschedule rainouts or forfeited games at times. For 1942, I found how many times each team played another team. Back then, teams played the seven other clubs in their league 22 times — 11 games at home and 11 on the road — for a full 154-game season. So, I meticulously find which games were not played and then squeeze them into the schedule.
I am old-school, so I handwrite everything in small block print. It goes back to second grade when my teacher held me from library privileges because I couldn’t do cursive writing well. Mastering the Q in cursive — the unexplained method of doing some curly ‘2’ for the letter — really threw me, and, as a result of banned from going to the library, I rebelled by printing ever since then. Some people throw up their arms in revolt. I print. Yes, I am a nerd.
Each team has a notebook page of its 154 games written in blue capital letters and snapped into a three-ring binder.
Then, I have team pages that list every player so I can track home runs and won-lost records.
I also set up pitching rotations, again found by using retrosheet.org, and write them down on index cards.
Finally, I write the games to be played on pages in a spiral bound steno pad and fill in lineups for several games in advance.
It takes three or four days to do all this and there are times when I almost stop and think, ‘I’m an adult here. If I put this much energy to, say, making money, I’d be in better shape.”
Then I shake the idea off and continue writing schedules, players and pitching rotations.
It’s something I’ve done with the baseball seasons since I began playing in 1998 and with APBA’s other games since 1977. It’s always worked for me, and it’s a hard habit to break.
And, if I ever were to be committed into a mental facility for my obsessiveness, I’d at least have more time to play the games.