Friday, March 28, 2008

Dan Szymborski's DMB Playing Time Tool

I won't be using this for my replay (too many starts for too many players), but for those of you who create seasons, take a look at this tool.

April 23rd, 1908: Boston (AL) at Washington

I just got done revising my Japanese History research paper, and decided to reward myself with another 1908 Co-op game. By the way, for fans of 1908, I recommend you sit back and read this account of a 1908 APBA replay. JIMSCE sure wrote up a nice, readable replay, even though it is almost 2000 posts.

April 23rd, 1908

WASHINGTON – Fred Burchell is synonymous with clutch pitching. With the bases loaded and the game on the line, Burchell induced Nationals leadoff hitter Milan to swing at a bouncing pitch, striking him out to end the game.

Burchell had no one to blame but himself for his predicament. With a two run lead in the bottom of the 9th and one out, Fred proceeded to hit Warner with a pitch. After moving to second on McBride’s ground ball, Fred then proceeded to hit Shipke and give up a single to pinch hitter Altizer. What looked like a disaster was barely averted, thanks to Milan’s impatient batting.

Bonehead play by Delahanty almost destroyed Washington’s chances. First, a crucial error in the top of the 6th inning allowed Boston to score their first run of the contest, destroying Burns’ whitewashing. Then, after reaching first on a single with one out, Jim foolishly tried to run before pitcher Burchell threw a pitch. Delahanty was thrown out in a rundown. On the very next play, yesterday’s hero Clymer hit a monstrous triple. Oh Jim, why couldn’t you wait? Were it not for Jerry Freeman’s seeing-eye single, Otis’ efforts would have been for naught.

Clymer later made his bid for the title of defensive hero, with a sliding nab of Burchell’s slicing line drive in the top of the 7th. Unfortunately, it was not enough to stop the scoring barrage of the visiting Beantowners, who came up with 3 in their half. In the end, it was Heinie Wagner’s incredible nab of pinch hitter Ollie Pickering’s line drive that earned play of the day honors.

Click here for boxscore.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Team Preview: Tokyo Giants

I had a heck of a day today. The UPS guy came with my new Strat-O-Matic game the other afternoon, but nobody was home. Like a fool, I called up UPS and arranged to pick the game up at their warehouse. Of course, I have no car, which meant I had to rely on Utah's awful bus system, walk 20 blocks, then walk 20 blocks back while carrying a big package. It wasn't much fun, but I've got the game now, and that makes up for all the hassle.

I've been asked when I'm actually going to start playing games with this season. I'll start as soon as I finish inputting the schedule by hand, which hopefully won't take too long. I'll probably finish that before the team previews are done, which means I'll just have to do both at once (my blog's hits go way up every time I write one of these long entries).

Anyway, let's get on with the show. Today's team is the Tokyo Giants. I'll admit, I purposely made this team strong and full of nothing but non-white players. I thought it would be interesting to see how it plays out. As it stands, they are clear favorites to win their division.

Thanks to my early morning antics, I've now seen two games from the Tokyo Dome on TV. It's refreshing to watch baseball in a park with a lot of foul territory, and I thought it was interesting to see fly balls die in the outfield. It's still a hitters park, but it's not as extreme as one would think.

Starting Pitchers
1. Bob Gibson
2. Juan Marichal
3. Satchel Paige
4. JR Richard
5. Minoru Murayama
SS. Yasuo Yonekawa
SS. Masahiro Yamamoto
SS. Tetsuya Yoneda

Can you say formidable? That's a pretty wicked starting rotation, clearly the best we've seen thus far. Still, Yonekawa, Yamamoto and Yoneda aren't exactly the cream of the crop. An injury to any of those five would be disasterous.

Masahiro Yamamoto's homepage is here.

Relief Pitchers
Shigetoshi Hasegawa and here
Hirotoshi Ishii
Mariano Rivera

Rivera is awesome, but, once again, his Japanese bullpen mates are a tad weaker. Remember, Tokyo will be playing in the 2001 Era, which means they'll likely wind up going to the bullpen more often than not. This may be their weak point.

Starting Lineup
1. Hank Aaron CF / Joe Morgan 2B
2. Oscar Charleston 1B / Shigeo Nagashima 3B
3. Barry Bonds LF / Oscar Charleston CF
4. Josh Gibson C / Barry Bonds LF
5. Hiromitsu Ochiai 3B / Hank Aaron RF
6. Shigeo Nagashima 3B / Josh Gibson C
7. Roberto Clemente RF / Tank Carr 1B
8. Ernie Banks SS

All I can say is this should be fun. I'll admit -- I couldn't stop myself from making one team as strong as possible. Parity is fine, but it's also fun to have a big Goliath team to root against (or for, if you like).

Kevin Mitchell
Hiromasa Arai
Koichiro Yoshinaga
Yutaka Fukumoto
Yoshinori Hirose
Koji Akiyama
Mookie Wilson
Taira Fujita
Hiroyuki Yamazaki

Anyway, that's it for me today. I'm really tired. I'll post again tomorrow, and try to get a few more posts in this weekend.

April 22, 1908 Boston (AL) at Washington

Here's another game from the 1908 Co-op season.

April 22nd, 1908

WASHINGTON – Nationals pitcher Charlie Smith made short work of the visiting Red Sox, striking out five en route to a 4-0 victory.

Boston scarcely put up a fight, collecting a mere five hits in the contest. Washington, on the other hand, won the game on eight hits total, including three from right fielder Otis Clymer. In the process, Clymer drove in one run on an eight inning double which put the game away for sure.

Boston starter George Winter couldn’t get the drop ball to drop correctly, and was yanked after six innings.

After the shutout, Smith’s ERA stands at 1.06.

View the boxscore here.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Quick post

Just a quick post to let you know that I'm still around. It's really been a long day. I didn't get home until 8:30, and then it was two straight hours of Chinese essay writing.

For your viewing pleasure, here are a few old APBA advertisements from the Sporting News to counterbalance the 1969 Strat ad I had up the other week:
This first one comes from a 1951 Sporting News issue. That's right, it's an ad for the famous original 1950 season, the one that you'll never be able to find anywhere. For goodness' sakes, there were APBA Journal articles as early as the 1970s, way before the vintage card boom, about miraculously finding a copy of this season at a garage sale. It's interesting to note that APBA advertised this game as being based on 20 years of research, an obvious reference to Seitz' work on the original National Pastime game.

Both of the above ads come from 1952.
This one's from 1957. Notice that the earlier emphasis on APBA not being a "game for children" is gone. This, of course, is after APBA came up with the X, Y and Z ratings -- hence the statement about pitchers acting just as they do in real life.

Finally, here's a National Pastime ad from 1930:
I love it: "Nothing like it on the market - new and fascinating."

Anyway, I'm tired. Oh, if you're an APBA fan, check out this EBay auction. Makes me wish I bought the 1995 season.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Team Preview: Tianjin Lions

Okay, I'm back in the saddle again. I'm happy I woke up at 4 AM to catch the Red Sox - A's game from Tokyo. It left me pretty groggy all day, but it was well worth the sacrifice. I had to leave for my Econ 432 class right after Manny Ramirez hit his 10th inning double, but, other than that, I was able to watch every pitch. Even though this is officially the shortest winter in the history of Major League Baseball, it feels like it's been the longest. I'm happy that baseball's back!

I've been busy with a bunch of other stuff lately. I've got to revise a paper for my Japanese History class, write another paper for my Economics class, do a bunch of reading for Japanese Political Science, and I still have a big project on the Confucian Analects for when I've got some spare time. But there's always room for DMB!

On to another team preview! Today it's the Tianjin Lions

I've never been to Tianjin, I must admit. I've been close, though. Tianjin is a large city (third largest urban area in China, behind Beijing and Shanghai) just to the southeast side of Beijing. As the above map shows (click to view larger image, or see here), the two cities are extremely close to one another. Yet, Tianjin and Beijing are considerably different, featuring a different dialect (I'll admit, I'm no linguist; Wikipedia is my source for that) and I'm guessing some feelings of local pride. What ballpark symbolizes a large city overlooked by it's big, bad sister? You guessed it, Ebbets Field.

As usual, I renamed this ballpark, this time to Boxer Field, since the Boxers controlled Tianjin for quite some time in 1900.

Starting Pitchers
1. Curt Schilling
2. Stan Coveleski
3. Tommy Bridges
4. Charlie Hough
5. Sam McDowell
SS. Masaki Saito
SS. Mike Remlinger

If you haven't seen it yet (shame on you!), Curt Schilling has a wonderful blog here. It's much better than you'd expect -- he's quite a prolific writer, and he doesn't pull any punches. Come to think of it, I ought to stick it on the list of links. Curt's famous for his passion for APBA baseball, and I've heard that he plays Strat-O-Matic as well, though I can't remember the source. At any rate, there was a big article about him playing APBA in a Diamondbacks program I got back in 2001.

Stanley Coveleski is interviewed, of course, in Lawrence Ritter's classic The Glory of Their Times. He was the pitching hero of the 1920 World Series, and his older brother Harry is best known as "Giant-Killer" for beating the Giants three times in a week at the end of the 1908 season. That's another reason for you to hop on to the Diamond Mind forums and join our 1908 Co-op replay!

Relief Pitchers
Ken Sanders
Stan Belinda
Jeff Shaw

Starting Lineup
1. Barry Larkin, SS
2. Harry Davis, 1B / Fats Jenkins, RF
3. Willard Brown, CF / Norm Cash, 1B
4. John Beckwith, RF / Jud Wilson, 3B
5. Brian Downing, LF / Fred Clarke, LF
6. Tony Lazzeri 2B
7. Ivan Rodriguez C / Richie Ashburn, CF

8. Pie Traynor 3B /
Ivan Rodriguez C

There's quite a few Negro Leaguers in the middle of this lineup, which ought to be interesting. Also, Brian Downing's primary position is listed as DH, but this is the wrong league for that.

Note: I'm not going to continue writing the positions for each bench player, since it takes up way too much time.

Wes Parker
Cesar Tovar
Kazuhiro Kiyohara
Roger Maris

Terry Turner
Derrek Lee
Phil Bradley

It probably doesn't make Kiyohara (who has 525 lifetime homers) or Maris feel good to have to ride
the bench along the likes of Phil Bradley. Seriously, how did that guy get drafted?

Anyway, that's it for me tonight.

April 17th, 1908: Boston (NL) at Brooklyn

I'm back after a two day blogging hiatus. Hopefully I'll be able to post regularly this week, though I can't make any promises. We'll see how things work out.

As I write this, I'm watching the Red Sox - A's opening day game from Japan. There's nothing better during the early morning than a game on TV and a little bit of Diamond Mind! Anyway, that's my excuse for writing such a short entry.

April 17th, 1908

BROOKLYN – The Boston Doves came out on top at Washington Park in 12 innings this afternoon, defeating the hometown Superbas, 4-3. Claude Ritchey was the hero for Boston, driving in Beaumont with two out in the top of the twelfth inning.

A stellar pitching performance by Irvin “Kaiser” Wilhelm was spoiled by two ninth inning doubles, one by Sweeney and the other by pinch hitter Kelley. Up to that point, the Kaiser’s spitball had the Doves fooled, and Wilhelm’s fifth inning run scoring sacrifice fly had been the difference.

The batting stars for the hometown Superbas were Phil Lewis, with a second inning shot over the canvas fence in right, and Harry Pattee, with a three-for-four offensive performance.

Click here for the boxscore.

Saturday, March 22, 2008


If you thought posting on Yuku was bad, just try to post a boxscore on Blogspot. I'm going to keep opening Angelfire and Geocities accounts and uploading textfiles until I come up with a better solution. For some reason, doesn't work with Internet Explorer. I'll never figure that one out. Anyone have any ideas?

April 16th, 1908: Boston (NL) at Brooklyn

It's been a nice, lazy Saturday thus far. I'm transferring my VHS copy of the '84 Cubs pennant-clinching game at Pittsburgh onto DVD, and I figured I'd play a quick 1908 Co-op game. Hopefully you can view the text file this time. I'm not sure what was wrong with the last one. I'm still searching for a good, reliable server to store these text files.

April 16th, 1908

BROOKLYN – John Hummel’s big blast in the 4th inning broke open a 1-1 tie and sent the Superbas on their way to their first 1908 win. Hummel’s long smash came off a high George Ferguson curveball and was just enough to bury the Doves.

Brooklyn pitcher McIntyre worked around four walks to hold the Bostonites to one mere run, despite giving up ten base hits. Bill Dahlen lead the way for Boston, hitting safely three times in four attempts.

The game only appeared in doubt in the top of the 6th inning. With one out and one on, Bowerman reached first on a fielder’s choice. The next two Boston batters then resisted swinging at McIntyre’s deceptive spitball, and before you knew it the bases were juiced. McIntyre then bore down, inducing Browne to hit a weak ground ball to third base to end the frame.

Both teams played a much better game in the field, as only one error was committed between the two.

Click here for the boxscore.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Team Preview: Shenyang Defenders

Most of you probably follow the newspapers, and probably already know about all the protests in Tibet, as well as the wave of violence that has spread through China. It will be interesting to see what effect this has on Saturday's elections in Taiwan. Honestly, after doing a big research paper on cross-strait relations last semester, I hope that KMT candidate Ma Ying-chiu (馬英九) wins. If not, and if Taiwan keeps striding towards independence, I'd be wary about making any plans to travel there in the near future. To be honest, it's no coincidence that these riots in Tibet started just a week before the big elections in Taiwan. However, if Taiwan starts making strong strides toward independence, there won't be any peaceful resolution in sight.

Anyway, enough about politics. Let's get back to what really matters in life: baseball.

Today's team preview highlights the Shenyang Defenders. As you may or may not know, Shenyang is the capital city of Liaoning province in Northeastern China, right on the North Korean border. It was the sight of the famous Battle of Mukden during the 1904-1905 Russo-Japanese war, was the sight of the infamous Mukden Incident in 1931, and was one of the last GMT cities to fall to the Communists. In that sense, I guess the name "Defenders" is fitting.


I can remember staring at this image of Fenway Park in the Diamond Mind brochure about 7 years ago, before my dad and I bought the game. It's probably my favorite ballpark image of all time. The Shenyang version of Fenway will be called Mukden Field.

Starting Pitchers
1. Kevin Brown
2. Orel Hershiser
3. Jack McDowell
4. Bob Ewing
5. Bill Dinneen
SS. David Wells
SS. Johnny Morrison
SS. Mitsuo Sumi

Interesting to see three modern pitchers in a row like that, all before deadball pitcher Bob Ewing. That wouldn't happen if we were simply using ERA. Sumi is also a modern era pitcher, with a pretty respectable 3.02 lifetime ERA and a nice 888-488 K-BB ratio.

Mike Timlin
Shingo Takatsu
Arthur Lee Rhodes

The CM has Rhodes in the "closer" slot, despite the fact that he has only 30 lifetime saves. Takatsu has an interesting story: according to the Japan Baseball Daily website, in the 1996 All-Star Game he "Appeared as a pinch hitter ... to face Ichiro, who had taken the mound." Must have been one heck of an All-Star Game! Wish I could see a video of that at-bat.

Starting Lineup
1. Cool Papa Bell LF
2. Sam Bankhead SS / Roy White LF
3. Todd Helton 1B
4. Alec Radcliff 3B
5. Newt Allen 2B / Sam Crawford RF
6. Johnny Romano C
7. Reggie Sanders RF / Newt Allen 2B
8. Mike Cameron CF / Johnny Pesky SS

It's fitting that Pesky will play at Fenway Park in this league as well. Overall, this is another strong lineup, with quite a few former Negro League stars. Oh, and I absolutely love Roy White's 1975 Topps card. That's as iconic as baseball cards get.

Kazuto Tsuruoka 1B / 2B / 3B / LF / RF

Tommie Agee LF / CF / RF
Randy Velarde 2B / 3B / SS / LF
Yoshio Yoshida 2B / 3B / SS
Phil Nevin C / 1B / 3B
Henry Larkin 1B / LF / CF
Billy Rogell 2B / 3B / SS
Gus Triandos C / 1B

One wonders what Tsuruoka would have done had he not been drafted in February 1940. For a man who hadn't played professional baseball in years, he sure had a stellar 1946 season. You can read more about him here.

Anyway, that's it for me tonight.

April 14th, 1908: Boston (NL) at Brooklyn

I've chosen to play a few games for the 1908 DMB Co-op League that Sposfan set up. In-between watching college basketball and reading Taiwanese newspapers, I fit in a game this afternoon. I wrote up a quick blurb and attached the boxscore below, along with a few pictures. Hope you enjoy!

April 14
th, 1908

BROOKLYN – Through poor defense and absent-minded play, the Superbas handed the first game of the season to the Boston Doves, 4-2. The large crowd that turned up for this inaugural contest left empty-handed, their heads spinning with visions of runners left standing on the bases.

For a while, it seemed that the hometown Superbas would pull out with a win. But in the top of the 8th, with the score tied 2-2, Bill Sweeney smacked a Nap Rucker fastball down the left field line. By the time Brooklyn left fielder Hummel came up with it, Sweeney was standing on third base. Frank Bowerman, the next Boston batter, battled ferociously, fouling off pitch after pitch until one of Rucker’s floaters failed to break. Bowerman’s single sent Sweeney home, and that decided the contest.

Boston twirler Irv Young had a masterful performance, spreading two runs out over 7 hits. Three errors by the Boston defense threatened to spoil his masterpiece, but Young remained true to the end, stopping Brooklyn rallies in the 7th, 8th and 9th innings.

Nap Rucker’s knuckleball baffled Boston for the most part. Save a first inning rally and Sweeney’s heroics in the 6th and 8th, Rucker sent ‘em down as soon as they got up. No less than 8 Boston batters struck out in the course of Rucker’s brave complete game.

Rucker’s efforts were spoiled by 5 Brooklyn errors and bonehead baserunning. Down by one, with one out and Al Burch on first in the bottom of the 8th, John Hummel promptly ground into a double play. Why Burch wasn’t running on the play is anybody’s guess.

The two teams meet again on the 16th, as Brooklyn’s Harry McIntire faces George Ferguson.


I can't get the boxscores to format correctly on Blogspot (no surprise). You can view the boxscore here. Please let me know if this link doesn't work.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Team Preview: Seoul Blue Dragons

Well, it looks like BYU's basketball team just didn't pull it off tonight. It's been 17 years since BYU's won a single NCAA tournament game. I watched the end of the game in the basement of the student center on campus. I was surprised -- there were only 50 or so people there, and most of them seemed to be extremely casual fans. You didn't hear a peep out of them until a basket was made. Sure isn't like watching games at my house!

Ted Roethke asked if I was using the 2008 Koshien layout or not. I'm not. I'm using an earlier version of the stadium, though I can't remember which year it's from. It may be from the 1985 disk that's floating around somewhere. Thanks for the comment, though! Wish I knew more about creating park images.

Now onto the next team, the Seoul Blue Dragons, who are the lone Korea-based team in my league.


I decided to use Three River's Stadium for Seoul, though for no good reason other than mixing up stadium styles. I renamed it Jamsil Stadium, to pay slight homage to the real ballpark in Seoul. I wish I had more information to create a replica of that park, but I don't speak Korean, and I can't find much English language literature on Korean baseball. Anyway, Three Rivers is another representative of the butt-ugly "cookie cutter" era of stadium building, as you probably already know, and that's really all I want to say. Seriously, the more I look at Wikipedia's picture of Jamsil Stadium, the more I wished I could recreate that park.

Starting Pitchers
1. Fergie Jenkins
2. Babe Adams
3. Tim Keefe
4. Andy Messersmith
5. Wilbur Cooper
SS. Mel Harder
SS. Jose Rijo
SS. Tsuguhiro Hattori
SS. Firpo Marberry
SS. Bob Stanley

If there were ever an argument for Diamond Mind updating its draft system, this would be it. 5 starters, and 5 players who are listed as spot starters. I'm not sure how the Computer Manager plans on managing this rotation, but it sure is set up strangely. I may have to do some manual editing before this season begins.

Hattori is another one of those incredible Japanese pitchers from the late 1940s. He wasn't exactly a great strikeout artist, but he had a pretty respectable ERA. Should be interesting to watch.

Relief Pitchers
Kenjiro Tamiya (also here)

Tamiya is the only relief pitcher not also listed as a spot starter. What's more,
he's really on this team for his offensive abilities, not as a true pitcher. Oh well.

Starting Lineup
1. King Kelly, C
2. Monte Irvin RF / Willie Keeler RF
3. Silvio Garcia SS / Mickey Mantle CF
4. Mickey Mantle CF / Carlos Delgado 1B
5. Eddie Yost 3B / Wade Boggs 3B
6. George Foster LF / Wally Yonamine LF
7. Andy Thornton 1B / Silvio Garcia SS
8. Bid McPhee 2B

Wally Yonamine was born in Hawaii, grew up in America (if I understand correctly), and was one of the more famous early foreign-born players in Japan. He also played for the San Fransisco 49ers in the 1950s. There's a great short biography of him here, and a website devoted to him here.

King Kelly is actually listed in the game as an outfielder, but is starting at catcher because the CM didn't draft a "real" catcher. He played a good percentage of his games in real life at catcher, so I guess it's okay.

Shinichi Eto C / 1B / SS / LF
Toshizo Sakamoto 2B / 3B / SS / LF / CF / RF
John Valentin 2B / 3B / SS
Ray Boone 1B / 3B / SS
Hans Lobert 3B / SS
Jimmy Barrett LF / CF / RF
Brian Jordan LF / CF / RF

Well, that's it from me tonight. I'm looking forward to the beginning of the "real" season next Tuesday and Wednesday, at 6AM EST. I just might set my alarm early for those games!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Team Preview: Nishinomiya Tigers

Man, I'm on a roll! Thanks to all who have visited so far. Eventually I'll get back to schedule creation, and, before you know it, I'll be able to start playing games. Still, doing preliminary research on these players is almost more fun than actually playing the games. It reminds me of the days I'd spend organizing APBA tournaments as a kid. Sometimes it was more fun to get the teams out and look through them than to actually play through the games.

The Nishinomiya Tigers are based directly off the current NPB team, the Hanshin Tigers. In keeping with the American tradition of naming a team after the city they play in, I christened them the Nishinomiya Tigers. They, along with the Tokyo Giants, are the only two teams stationed in Japan in my organization.


It should come as no surprise that I put the Tigers in famous Koshien Stadium. Putting them anywhere else would be a tragedy. Koshien Stadium has been around since 1924 and is only a year younger than Yankee Stadium. It's easily the most famous baseball stadium in all of Asia, with the all-dirt infield, extensive bleachers and so on. Also, as most of you know, it is the host of Japan's National High School Baseball Championship every year.

For those unfamiliar with this historic baseball site, I'd recommend at least searching for Koshien Stadium on Google. If you search for "Koshien" on YouTube or Google Video, you'll come across clips from the annual High School championship. I'd provide video links myself, but I'm writing this from BYU campus, where YouTube is blocked.

Now, you can't play in a stadium like Koshien with a generic ballpark image, so I tried to create my own. I used a free automatic ballpark image creator from KJOK's Yahoo group. I don't have any photo editing skills, so it's not pretty, but I figure it gets the job done.

Starting Pitchers
1. Randy Johnson
2. Hideo Fujimoto
3. Rube Waddell
4. Ramon Bragana
5. Frank Sullivan
SS. Jose DeLeon
SS. Shosei Go [also here]

Hideo Fujimoto had a 1943 season that American Deadball-era pitchers would die for. He went 34-11 over 432.2 innings, compiling an 0.73 ERA, .144 BAA and 0.88 WHIP, along with 253 walks to only 168 balls. I guess you have to wonder what sort of competition he was up against, what with the draft and all, but that's impressive in any league. Put this guy in a rotation with the Big Unit, Rube Waddell and Cuban legend Ramon Bragana and you have a heck of a rotation.

Shosei Go also counts as a bench player, as he was never a full-time pitcher (to my understanding). He would be right at home at Koshien, having played in 5 High School tournaments there.

BJ Ryan
Roy Face
Darren Holmes
Duane Ward

Starting Lineup
1. Tim Raines LF
2. Sam Jethroe CF
3. Rocky Colavito RF / Hideki Matsui RF
4. Sadaharu Oh 1B
5. Bobby Grich 2B
6. Ghost Marcelle 3B / Mickey Tettleton C
7. Mickey Tettleton C / Ghost Marcelle 3B
8. Joe Tinker SS

With a lineup like this, the Tigers are easily one of the favorites in this division. You've got speed in Raines, power in Colavito, Matsui and Oh, plus some good for-average hitters in-between. Plenty of Negro and Japanese Leaguers as well.

Shigeya Iijima 1B / 2B / 3B / RF
Hurley McNair LF / CF / RF
George Hendrick 1B / LF / CF / RF
Kirk Gibson LF / CF / RF
Herman Long SS
Akitoshi Kodama 1B / 2B / 3B / SS
Bill Sweeney 2B / 3B / SS
Jeff Blauser 2B / 3B / SS
Chico Barbon 2B / 3B / SS
Tim McCarver C / 1B

All I can say is that I'm glad McCarver is on the bench, and not in the broadcast booth.

Anyway, that's about it for today. Sorry for being so short. It's bedtime.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Team Preview: Harbin Icecaps

Blogging was made for days like today. After a day of working on my research paper on Chinese - Japanese relations (written in Chinese), I'm ready for a few minutes of pure baseball.

First and foremost, allow me to engage in some blatant advertising. For those who don't know, you can order a new copy of Strat-O-Matic baseball, complete with the 2005 season cards, from Toys R' Us online for $10. Just click here and see for yourself. I've been an APBA player all my life, but I'm willing to give Strat a try -- after all, it's only $10. Seems like Strat is staying relevant and current, long after the days of full-page comic book ads.

Second, for the few of you who haven't seen it yet, this New York Times article about baseball in China caught my eye. I'm guessing our kids will have similar baseball experiences, especially if I spend a lot of time living abroad. I think I'll buy Mr. Forney's book when it comes out.

Without much further ado, here's today's team: the Harbin Icecaps.


Harbin is easily the coldest city in China. According to my Chinese tutor (just met with her today), its winter temperatures approach -40C, and it sure doesn't get all that warm in the summer. Hence, the Harbin team has to play in a dome stadium, particularly one designed for a cold weather city. And what better dome than the Metrodome?
As usual, I've taken the liberty of renaming the stadium with respect to the city. In Harbin it is known as the Zhongyanglu Dome, named for Harbin's famous Center Street. Sure, it won't match up well with the Russian architecture, but has any dome ever looked good?
Starting Pitchers
1. Tim Hudson
2. Jim Palmer
3. Ben McDonald
4. Camilo Pascual
5. Eppa Rixey

Pretty interesting rotation. McDonald, Pascual and Rixey never played on very good teams and Hudson's accomplishments were always overshadowed by Barry Zito. Six-foot-five must have been pretty big in the 1930s.

Relief Pitchers
Gregg Olson
Justin Speier
Jim Brewer
Mark Eichhorn
Todd Worrell
Rich Gossage

Again, mostly a bunch of good players from otherwise mediocre teams. Worrell and Gossage are the first names that jump out, though both had their embarrassing World Series moments (Worrell's blown save in the 1985 Series game 6, and the Goose giving up that monster home run to Kirk Gibson in the 1984 Series game 5).

Starting Lineup
1. Pelayo Chacon SS / Streak Milton LF
2. Eddie Stanky 2B
3. Minnie Minoso LF / Tris Speaker CF
4. Tris Speaker CF / Jim Thome 3B
5. Rap Dixon RF / Minnie Minoso RF
6. Buck O'Neill 1B / John Olerud 1B
7. Bill Freehan C
8. Buddy Bell 3B / Pelayo Chacon SS

I wasn't able to find good links for Pelayo Chacon or Streak Milton, both Negro League stars from around the 1910s. It's interesting to see so many Negro League players on the same team. Other than that, there's not much to say -- another fairly strong lineup, but without many great standouts.

Harvey Kuenn 3B / SS / LF / CF / RF
Chuck Hinton 1B / 2B / 3B / LF / CF / RF
Johnny Briggs 1B / LF / CF / RF
Kid Elberfeld 2B / 3B / SS
Hiroki Kokubo 1B / 2B / 3B
Rick Burleson 2B / SS
Davey Johnson 1B / 2B
Dixie Walker LF / CF / RF

Well, that does it for me tonight. Enjoy!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Team Preview: Beijing Red Dragons

Well, well, well, looks like I finally got a blog post in during the week! That's not to say that my homework has somehow diminished. Rather, I've just managed my time a little bit better today. Hope I can keep it up!

Team number two is the Beijing Red Dragons.


You're not seeing things, sports fans. Yes, I'm using ugly, cookie-cutter type dome stadiums in my replay. I figure that gives things a bit of variety. This isn't one of those all-steel era stadium leagues, no sir. The Beijing Red Dragons play in the good old Skydome, renamed Xinhua Dome. Of course, back when I was a kid (which wasn't that long ago), the Skydome was the biggest up-and-coming stadium, but people have forgotten about those days. Well, everybody except those who collected 1992 Topps Stadium Club cards.


Starting Pitchers
1. David Cone
2. Steve Rogers
3. Carl Hubbell
4. Hisashi Yamada
5. Whitey Ford
SS Yutaka Enatsu
SS Danny Darwin

I never thought I'd see Whitey Ford in the #5 slot, especially behind David Cone. That just goes to show you what things are like when you adjust for eras, parks and so on.

Hisashi Yamada should be interesting to watch, since he holds the Japanese record for most home runs given up in a season (42 in 1985).

By the way, this must be Yutaka Enatsu before his closer days. Oh, and it seems to me that going from Hubbell and Ford to Danny Darwin is a pretty big drop. We'll see how these Red Dragons perform.

Relief Pitchers
Steve Hamilton
Gary Lavelle
Eddie Watt
Tug McGraw

Ya gotta believe! Other than that, not much to say here, as I'm not familiar with the careers of any of the other three. Naturally, both above spot starters also count as relief pitchers.

Okay, on to the lineups. I'm going faster on purpose tonight.

Starting Lineup
1. Ben Chapman RF / Roger Bresnahan C
2. Roger Bresnahan C / Enos Slaughter RF
3. Willie Mays CF
4. Orlando Cepeda 1B / Willie Stargell 1B
5. Joe Medwick LF / Frank Baker 3B
6. Perucho Cepeda SS / Joe Medwick LF
7. Toby Harrah 3B / SS
8. Frankie Frisch 2B

Interesting to see Orlando Cepeda get drafed on the same thing as his father Perucho. I didn't know anything about the "Babe Ruth of Puerto Rico" before I did a bit of internet research tonight. Couldn't have worked out better if I planned it!

I'm curious as to how often Bresnahan hit first or second for the old New York Giants. Sounds like a good research project -- maybe if I have more time after the semester is done. He sure had a killer OBP, but that was back in an era when OBP didn't matter all that much.

Anyway, the Red Dragons have a pretty beefy looking lineup, especially with the two Cepedas and Willie Mays in the middle. Now, the Skydome isn't exactly the most hitter friendly park in the world, but it can't hurt to have a big lineup like that. Should be a fun team to watch this season.

Now for the bench:

Ken Griffey Sr. 1B / LF / CF / RF
Possum Whitted 1B / 2B / 3B / LF / CF / RF
Shigeru Takada 3B / LF / CF / RF
Mark Loretta 1B / 2B / 3B / SS
Germany Schaefer 1B / 2B / 3B / SS
Tadahito Iguchi 2B / SS
Bobby Murcer CF / RF
Harry Danning C

You might notice that most Japanese hitters are stuck on the bench. I'm guessing that's the era / league factor adjustment showing.

Anyway, not much else to say. I'm tired. Hopefully BYU will get through the first round of March Madness on Thursday night. I'm not making any promises, though.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Team Preview: Beijing Mets

This is the first of what ought to be a series of 30 entries, each dealing with a single team in my upcoming replay. I'm doing this for two reasons: first, because I still have to buy myself some time to input the schedule, and second, because this offers a pretty good idea of what to expect. Hopefully this is easy to read -- I don't know much about HTML, unfortunately.

The first team is the unaptly named Beijing Mets. Coming up with creative team names is difficult, even when you're dealing with a foreign country like China. There are only so many variations on dragon themes and red colors that you can deal with. In fact, the names of teams in leagues like the Chinese Basketball League really aren't all that different from American team names, so I don't feel too bad about giving a team from Beijing the name "Mets."


The Beijing Mets play in old, pre-renovation Yankee Stadium (I can't remember the exact year for each stadium). I've renamed their stadium Forbidden Stadium, which, again, is not the most creative thing I've ever done. I figured that a big, imposing ballpark like the classic Yankee Stadium works best in a big, western-style city like Beijing. I guess Diamond Mind can't really recreate the smog of Beijing, but I'll leave that part up to your imagination.
Most of these teams were drafted by the Diamond Mind computer draft system, with a few exceptions I'll note later. I'm a bigger fan of APBA's draft system, where you can edit draft preferences for each team, but Diamond Mind's really isn't all that bad. Let's look at the Mets' 30 man roster, starting with the pitchers, following with the lineups and bench:

Starting Pitchers

That's a pretty foreboding rotation, the sort you'd expect from a team located in a big city like Beijing. Seriously, it's not every day you run up against a one-two punch like Grove and Brown. In his New Historical Baseball Abstract, Bill James has Grove as the number 2 pitcher of all time, and Brown at number 20. I'm not sure how the computer drafted so well; I suppose we'll see when we get to the lineups.

Remember, of course, that Dizzy Dean has certainly been downgraded due to his short career. Unfortunately, having two great seasons doesn't help as much when the rest of your career was relatively average. That's one of the things I love about this Diamond Mind setup, actually. It adds a sense of uncertainty to the league, since you can't just rely on each player's best statistical seasons to make your predictions.

I was slightly surprised to see that Chuck Finley made it this far, until I took a look at his ERA+. That ought to make him a good #5 pitcher, even in this league.

Okay, now on to the relievers.

Relief Pitchers

Sasaki is sure to be the closer. He's based on his Japanese statistics, though those have been weighted, as mentioned earlier. Oh, by the way, you may need to scroll down to view his statistics on the link I provided.

The Mets don't look all that hot coming out of the bullpen -- probably what they get for drafting both Grove and Brown. Then again, there's no telling how often they'll actually need to go to the pen. That's the beauty of leagues like this one.

Okay, now for the starting lineups. I'm going to combine both lineups against lefties and righties. I'll split the platoons with a slash (/), with the lineup against lefthanders on the left (makes sense, doesn't it?)

Starting Lineup

Not a bad lineup. Rogers Hornsby probably won't hit over .400 in this league, due to the era adjustments. George Davis is the first 19th century player we've seen so far -- but don't worry, we'll see a lot more before we're through.

Kazuhiro Wada ought to be a fun player to follow, especially with his .317 / .389 / .549 lifetime. According to Japanese Baseball Daily, Kazuhiro "has a real funky sweeping swing and will kill anything down and in." I tried, but couldn't find a good baseball card image of him.

Brooks Robinson, of course, is easily the best defensive third baseman in this league. I was watching a DVD of the 1970 World Series a few weeks ago (original broadcast, from MASN rebroadcasts), and I must say that I've never seen anybody play third base quite like he did. There was one play, in either game 3 or 4 (don't quote me on that) where he threw a man out at first on a slow ground ball that barely even got to him on time. What's even more impressive is the fact that there was a man on second base at the time: just a little bit off center, and it would have been a run-costing error. He's definately worth the hype.

Okay, on to the bench.
The first exciting name here to me is Yasuya Hondo, who hails from an era in Japanese baseball when it wasn't uncommon to see players who actually played all 9 positions. Apparently, he once stole three bases in a single inning, which must have been quite a feat. Pretty nice to have a utility player who can play any position waiting on the bench!

Crush Holloway is the first Negro Leaguer we've seen so far. I have no idea what the source on his statistics was, so this should be exciting.
Anyway, that's all for today. I'm pretty beat.