Tuesday, February 17, 2015

2 Million Dice Rolls And Counting

There are times when I'm replaying an insignificant game late in an APBA baseball replay season when my mind tends to wander. Sometimes I think of work, which is counterproductive to the game because I roll the dice to forget about the job.

Sometimes, I think about other games ahead in the season and how the pennant race for whichever replay I'm doing is going. Sometimes I think of ideas I have for writing something for a magazine.

Sometimes I think of inane, mindless things.

The other night, while rolling a 1950 contest between the Washington Senators and Detroit Tigers, I thought of the inane. I've reached Aug. 8 in the replay. The Tigers, while starting well and making noise in the American League early on, are now about 10 games out of first behind New York and barring any miracle, they won't challenge the Yankees for the pennant. Washington is … well, Washington.

So, while rolling the Senators-Tigers clash on autopilot, I began thinking of how many times I roll the two dice in an APBA baseball game.

For the uninitiated, APBA is a brilliant game that allows people to replay various baseball and other sports seasons. The athletes are given cards with numbers on them. Gamers roll dice, compare the results to numbers on the players' cards which are computed based upon their actual batting statistics for that particular season. The gamer then matches those numbers to game boards. The final numbers give play results. It sounds complicated, but after memorizing many of the resulting numbers, I can knock out a game in 15-20 minutes.

During that recent Tigers-Sens tilt, I began tallying the number of times I roll the dice for a game. I use a mouse pad to roll the two dice upon. If they roll off, I roll them again. I average about 12-15 rolls per inning. Add the miscues and the occasional extra-inning games or slugfests that require more rolls and I'm looking at roughly 120 rolls per game.

Some players use computer generated dice rollers, others use actual dice towers where they drop the dice in a bin and let them roll to the bottom to get results. I used to use the plastic yellow cups the game company provided, but the clackety-clack noise kept my dad up late at night when I was a kid playing the basketball game into the wee hours, so I rolled by hand only. I still do, even though now I have no one to keep awake with the noise.

I continued with my math exercise while the Tigers took the lead. Since I began playing baseball in 1998, I've done nine full season replays. (I know, I have no other life.) I've rolled replays for 1932, 1942, 1957, 1964, 1974, 1977, 1981, 1987 and 1998. I've also rolled half of 1925 before, regrettably, I burned out and quit. And I've tossed 842 game so far in the 1950 season I'm currently playing.

I've replayed 17,224 games since I began this APBA baseball obsession.

Multiply the 120 dice rolls per game by 17,224 games and come up with 2,066,880.

I've rolled the dice playing baseball more than 2 million times!

And that's just for baseball. Throw in all the basketball, football and hockey games I've played since I began APBA in 1977 and it has to be another million or so rolls.

The inane things one thinks of while playing the game ...

Saturday, February 7, 2015

1950 Season Update: July 31, 1950

I've reached Aug. 1 in my 1950 APBA baseball replay in a season has been slow for me to play. I began this on March 7, 2014, exactly 11 months ago today and I'm only 65 percent finished. Before, in a 154-game season with eight American League and eight National League teams, it would take me less than a year to complete.

I don't know if it's life butting in, changes in my work hours, being more tired at night, not as enthused by the season, other ventures or some different excuse, but the game has remained at a slower pace.

But I've reached Aug. 1. It's a time when the seeming endless games of spring and summer begin culminating and there's that proverbial light at the end of the tunnel. Games take on more importance now with two-thirds of the season over.

All that said, here's a look at the season so far. The Yankees, led by the tandem of Joe DiMaggio and Johnny Mize, have taken over first place and are seemingly in the driver's seat for the rest of the season. Joltin' Joe has 30 home runs to lead the league and hit 11 in the month of July. Mize clouted 25 of his own. Ed Lopat leads all pitcher with a 16-2 record. Hitting and pitching will carry the Yankees, I'm sure.

Boston, Detroit and Cleveland are in a dogfight for second place, The three teams switch places after each three-game series. It'll be interesting to see how they play out. Early Wynn, like Lopat, is 16-2 on the mound and Art Houtteman is 15-3 on the mound for the Tigers.

Here are the standings for the league:

                  W    L    GB
New York  68    31       -
Boston       61    40      8
Detroit       58    39      9
Cleveland   59   43    10.5
Washington 43  57    25.5
Philadelphia 39  62   30
St. Louis      37   63   31.5
Chicago       36   66   33.5

The National League continues to be a close race and , like I said, the games take on more importance this late in the season. The Cardinals, which actually took over first place just before the All-Star break, have gone 9-9 since the three-day stoppage, including losing two of three games twice to the Giants and going 3-3 against the Dodgers.

Philadelphia remains the most frustrating team to play. In the real 1950 season, the Phillies won the division. In this replay, they are happy to have moved from seventh to sixth place by half a game. Cincinnati's team is one-dimensional. Ted Kluszeski hits two home runs a game, but the Reds typically lose, 9-4 or 7-5. They stunned the league winning five games in a row, but three of those contests were against the hapless Phillies.

Kluszewski and Hank Sauer lead the National League with 29 home runs each and Ralph Kiner has 28 for Pittsburgh.
Here are the National League standings through July 31, 1950:

                 W      L     GB
Boston      58     40      -
New York 58     43    1.5
St. Louis    54    43    3.5
Brooklyn   54    44     4
Pittsburgh  51    46    6.5
Philadelphia 46 58    15
Chicago      42   55   15.5
Cincinnati  32   66    26

There are still 436 games left to play. If I pick up the pace, I can complete this replay by late May, perhaps. I will try; there are other seasons waiting. I may have slowed because this season is similar to the 1942 campaign I competed last. Both seasons had dominating Yankee's teams and no Minnesota Twins teams. I know the Washington Senators moved to Minnesota in 1961, but it's not the same thing. I'm ready to roll some games for the Twins soon.

Maybe since I've reached the tipping point of the season, the time when games take on a bit more importance, I can roll more games and get fully back into the one.