Sunday, January 12, 2014

Seasonal Dilemma

It's a dilemma I face each time I near the completion of an APBA baseball season replay. What should the next project be? What is the next season that I'll throw myself into entirely, committing a year or more of my time to replaying each game and logging some stats.

It's quite an undertaking and you have to be dedicated to the game in order to see it through. It's also why each time when I'm about a month or so from being finished with a replay, my thoughts turn ahead.

For most of the time that I've been rolling the 1942 season, I've planned upon doing 1991 next. I missed playing games with the Minnesota Twins while doing this season, and 1991 is the year they defeated the Atlanta Braves in the real World Series. I did 1987 before and, despite Minnesota taking that Series as well in real life, in my game Kansas City played St. Louis.

I usually jump from era to era when doing replays so I can get a feel for a particular style or genre. I went with 1942 this time since I've never done a replay of any season in the 1940s and the game, with Stan Musial, Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams has been enjoyable. It followed my replay of 1981.

A change is always welcomed. And there are factors that can help precipitate a replay decision. For example, in all the replays I've done, I've never rolled an at bat for Pittsburgh Pirates' outfielder Ralph Kiner. I have the seasons of 1950 and 1954 in which he played.

I also have never played a season in the 1900s or 1910s. I own 1901 and 1906, along with the 1919 season I bought last year.

I think I've narrowed it down to three possibilities for the next replay. Here they are:

Pros: The fact that I can play games for the Minnesota Twins is the major point in favor of doing this year. I watched that season closely while it developed; I enrolled at Texas Tech University in Lubbock in the fall that year to pursue a doctorate degree in English. I bluffed my way into the program and when I realized I was in way over my head and should have stuck with journalism, I quit college and returned to Arkansas. But, it was during the World Series and, because the Twins are an important part of my existence, I coordinated my dropping out of college to coincide with a travel day of the team. I was able to drop my classes, reassign two teaching positions I had, fill out whatever paperwork they shoved at me, turn in my stuff and drive 16 hours home between Games 2 and 3. Sure, I was a college dropout, but I was smart enough to not miss a single pitch.

Cons: It's really tough getting excited about rolling some games late in the season among teams that aren't really that good. I foresee slow times when, replaying August contests, Cleveland and California clash. Houston vs. Montreal isn't that mouth-watering either.

Pros: I like the 1950s era a lot. And Ralph Kiner played in 1950. There were fewer teams, and each team played 154 games in the season. I could knock out this replay in about 10 months.

Cons: It may be too close to 1942 and lots of the players would overlap. I wouldn't learn much new by doing this season.

Pros: Ty Cobb, the Chicago White Sox, Rogers Hornsby, Babe Ruth still with the Red Sox, not too many home runs. I read Al Stump's book “Cobb” last year and it was enough to motivate me to call the APBA company and buy the 1919 season.

Cons: There may be a lot of fielding errors in this season. I played 1925 long ago and, by midseason, actually rerolled dice whenever an error came up in a situation because there were so many. Also, I know very few of the players from that era.

The debate continues. I didn't include 1954, which features Henry Aaron, Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays. I omitted 1969, which was the first season I really obsessed over as a fan when I was young. I have the 1979 season that includes the We Are Family Pittsburgh Pirates World Series team. And I have those really early seasons of 1901 and 1906 that would show me the roots and origins of the game.

Lots to think of. Lots of decisions, and not a lot of time. Any suggestions are welcomed.

And, to really throw this all askew, I haven't even considered yet whether I should instead replay a hockey or basketball season with the APBA games that I own for those sports.


  1. Love your blog. Reading it is getting me closer and closer to picking up the dice again. Thanks for taking the time to do it.

  2. I agree with Tony - you're a gifted writer and I look forward to your posts. I'm doing a 79 replay and really enjoy it (yes, Seattle at Oakland in August is tough). I think you would enjoy the 1919 replay the most, though. Whatever you choose, we'll be following.... Bob

  3. Thanks for reading this guys. Tony C., grab those dice and start rolling. You'll get hooked and, later, when you order new cards, you can relive that childhood anxiety of an approaching Christmas when you wait for the cards to come in the mail.