I wanted to see if I could pick up the pace while playing my APBA baseball replay of the 1942 season and aimed at playing 100 games in two weeks. I was mired in the dog days of June of that season, rolling games for teams like the Philadelphia As and the Chicago Cubs that, while enjoyable to watch, were not cliff-hanging, pennant-deciding clashes.
So, I aimed for 100 games and began the experiment on Aug. 1. Before any players out there with faint hearts begin palpitating and gasping at this massive proposal, take into consideration a couple of facts. First, I don't tally statistics as closely as many other APBA players do. I track home runs, won-lost records and saves. I keep those minimal records on notebook pages for each team. Once a game is completed, I log those three stats and move to the next game. Some guys record every statistic, including putouts and errors, and in essence create their own Elias Sports Bureau.
Not me. I've mentioned this before. I did stats and my computer has crashed each time. And, yes, I am aware of online deals that hold your stats, but I have yet to master that. Keep in mind I am computer stupid. The games in my replay are quick to play and quick to move on to the next contest.
Also, a second consideration is that I have a very limited social life. Work, come home, eat some quick gruel and hit the game. That's it. On weekends, I may really toss routine to the wind and let my hair down and mow the yard. I know. Crazy.
I began the quest whole-heartedly, rolling five games in the morning on that first day before work. I wrapped up the day with four in the evening and was ahead of the pace I had set. Seven games in 15 days would surpass the 100-mark. I was two games ahead.
The following day I played nine more games. But on Aug. 3, a Saturday, I slipped and only recorded five games. The following day, a Sunday, I went to a church for the first time in a few years. They held a homecoming ceremony with dinner and I ended up staying there for several hours. Only four games rolled that day. Briefly, I considered praying to meet the 100-game goal, but then realized that would be counterproductive. If I was that obsessive about playing the games, I wouldn't have gone to church and instead stayed home, religiously rolling the dice.
By August 8, the first week of the project, I had rolled 53 games and was still ahead of my pace. But then, I got sick. Aug. 9 was a Friday, a day I usually roll lots of games since I don't have to wake up early the following day for work. Instead, a vicious sinus infection felled me and I only played three games. It was my worst output of the two weeks. I rebounded on Saturday and played 10 games, but only because it rained all day and I was trapped indoors.
Then it slowed more. I realize the concept of burnout and diminished returns and just plumb tiredness. On Aug. 13, I worked at night, covering several special elections and writing news stories about them. I got six games in that day, but I played into the wee hours when I returned home after 11 p.m. that day.
By the end of Aug. 14, with one day remaining in the goal, I had played 87 games. I knew I'd not make 100 games, so I slowed the final day, opting instead to read a book rather than play games all night. I played only three that day.
I ended up with 90 games in two weeks. I failed to meet the goal, but still reached July 1, 1942, in the replay. The games also took more of a real feel during that two-week run since I often played games for teams on consecutive days as they do in actual life.
I continue playing on, perhaps not with the same fervor as I did during those two weeks. My next goal is to reach the halfway point of the season. I have about 23 more games to play for that landmark. Then it's the All-Star break and then the late August pennant drives.
And I looked back at the 100-game project. Had I not been under the weather with the sinus stuff — it's hard, and fearful, to roll games whilst always running for Kleenex — and had I stayed up just a bit later for only a few more games each night, and had I sought divine intervention for those Sundays, I may have hit 100.