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Luxury Box Season Ticket Holder

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Date: Sep 25, 2015
Big Hair and Plastic Grass Revival League
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I submit this project with some trepidation\u2014I don't post on gaming forums much anymore, for a variety of reasons, and so this will be a departure from some recently established norms for me. Reporting on replays takes time, which I have little of; presumes general interest in something that is largely a personal experience; and re-directs what scant time I have away from the hobby for which I felt the need to report in the first place.

On the other hand...

I have always loved the seventies. I grew up in that era (born in '65), but aside from that undeniable influence, I find that time fascinating for what I would consider objectively valid reasons. This is especially true of baseball. The decade saw some of the the most dramatic changes in the sport's history, tightly compacted into a small time frame, and while not all of it was for the long term good, it made for a wonderful decade of drama, controversy, innovation, and excellence that combined make it my favorite. So before I kick the bucket, I thought I should attempt one, last, reasonably in-depth project with some of the best teams from that era.

For me, reasonably in-depth does not mean a full season baseball replay\u2014I've done those with the computer but I'm a tournament kind of guy with cards and dice, and have even done several tournaments using great teams from the seventies before. But never a full season, or in this case a mini-season. I always start to lose interest about a third of the way with one team, and a whole league\u2014fuggetaboutit. Ain't going to happen.

I also wanted to do a project that was unique, at least for me, and incorporated something novel. For this replay I decided to use not just one game engine, but seven, randomly alternating them through a 48 game season using twelve teams. The clubs themselves were chosen based on two primary factors\u2014availability on multiple platforms, and general excellence. These are not necessarily the best dozen teams of the 1970-79 era (in fact they only come from five seasons) but they are a strongly representative group. And just as importantly, I either owned or was able to cheaply acquire/create the teams in many different iterations.

I also decided after looking at the schedule that I generated to add something really \u201C70ish;\u201D in the spirit of the old WHA, I filled in byes with games against a couple of Japanese league teams. It remains to be seen if this will be prudent (I will make some alterations to their cards to reflect some clear differences in play quality between the two nations) but I found the research on the teams, and Japanese baseball in general, an edifying experience.

The Games

Strat-O-Matic, Ballhalla 2-Dice, Statis-Pro, History Maker, Replay, Payoff Pitch, and Sports Illustrated. Originally this was going to be a Strat project, and while it is still my game of choice, will likely make up the lion's share of the games played, and decisively directed the teams that were selected, I realized I also like many things about the other sims and enjoy playing with them as well. Each game engine has it's relative strengths and weaknesses, things about the sport it captures that another does not, and by changing up the game platforms it is my hope to avoid tedium and address the myriad aspects of the game of baseball. While there will undoubtedly be unexpected issues that occur during transition from one game to another, I think I have anticipated most of them and feel confident I can adjust without undue complications. My early experiences suggest this will be really enjoyable, and not so mentally challenging as to be frustrating. I'm also hoping to involve a "Strat-Buddy" in some F-T-F games that will add some variability to the results, as well as a great deal of fun. Those games will also be played using Strat.

The Teams

In the AL East, we have the 73 Orioles, 75 Red Sox, and 77 Yankees. In the West, the 77 White Sox, 77 Royals, and the 73 A's.

In the National League, we have the 73 Mets77 Phillies, and the 71 Pirates in the East division. The West is represented by the 75 Reds, 77 Dodgers, and the 71 Giants. The Japanese teams are the 78 Giants and Whales (thank you All-Star Review.)

If I could magically make all of the best teams appear in the proper format, without regard to price or other constraints, I may have had the 70 Orioles, 72 A's, 79 Pirates, and 74 Dodgers replace their counterparts above. Or I may not have. I could have used the 71 versions of both Oakland and Baltimore, for example, but like their "superior" alternatives I would have lost game platform options, and would have created a subset of AL teams that did not use the DH. That's a bigger headache than I want to tackle.  Both 73 teams were quite good in their own right, and for better or worse, did not let their pitchers bat, fitting in with the rest of the AL teams.

I felt like the Mets belonged as a World Series club, but they were far from an elite team, and are almost cannon fodder for the other five NL franchises. To balance out the leagues, I went with the 77 Sox in the AL. \u201CThe South Side Hitmen\u201D were a colorful, powerful, loud, and altogether medicore team who nonetheless outperformed their skill level throughout the season. Better than the Mets, but mainly in the set because I like imagining how Harry Caray and Jimmy Piersall would react, and thinking about their wonderfully anachronistic unis (\u201CIs it all navy blue, all white, shorts... what are they wearing today Jimmy?\u201D) They'll hit lot of dingers and their pitching will get annihilated, but it will be a hoot.

There are some signficant player crossovers, but thankfully not many. When the A's play the Yankees, for example, I had to decide how to handle Hunter, Holtzman, and Jackson playing for both clubs. I decided to let the home team have the roster advantage when a player was on both clubs, meaning the A's will need to juggle their rotation to get Catfish and Kenny starts before they go to the Bronx (while the Yankees will try to avoid pitching either in meaningful games, Oakland or otherwise--the difference four years makes.)

The Japanese match-ups will count statistically and in the standings, and I may have them play each other a dozen times to get to 48 games. Each team will play it's division opponents 12 times, and play six against the other division. NO interleague play. Post-season will be true to the decade, best-of-five in the LCS (2-3 format), best-of-seven World Series (2-3-2), although I will allow home field to got to the team with the better record in each match-up, which was not the custom of the time.

I'm looking at a 40 percent cap on ABs and IP, and at this point will probably allow full injuries using some game platforms, but pro-rate using others. A couple of games have rest/pre-game injury possibilities\u2014I will use those. It will be interesting; injuries are a real part of the game, but I would also like to keep the best players on the field for the most part and maintain some roster integrity if reasonable, and I think/hope that will happen without much tinkering.

Hopefully you will enjoy reading these recaps and it will re-kindle some memories. I make no promises as to how often I will post or how detailed they will be, only that I will make some effort to reflect some sense of a pennant race and at the very least hit the high and low points. Hopefully my digressions into unrelated topics will not be boring. Infuriating maybe, but not boring. The Seventies were anything but that.

And finally, a thanks to Dan Epstein, from whose book the title of this project is lifted.

 

Let's play ball...



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Luxury Box Season Ticket Holder

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Date: Sep 25, 2015
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San Francisco @ Cincinnati (Funkadeklic's "One Nation Under A Groove" album playing in the background. Strat for games 1 & 2, Statis Pro for 3)

The traditional opener from Riverfront appears to herald the coming of the Big Red Machine. Cincinnati destroys Gaylord Perry and a suspect Giant bullpen 13-2. Johnny Bench has an insane opener, going 4-4 with two home runs and six RBIs, including a first inning grand slam that provides all the runs the Machine needs. Cincy swats out 16 hits to the Giant's nine, and splits the pitching duties between Gary Nolan and sore armed Clay Kirby for the one-sided victory The Giants bounce back in the second game of the series, however, and do some damage of their own, getting unexpected production form their backup catcher Fran Healy, who homers twice in a Giant 8-4 win (Fran had two homers the whole season!). Juan Marichal is not razor sharp, but he is able to wriggle off the hook enough to go the distance, allowing 3 earned runs in the process. Bobby Bonds goes 3-5 with a homer, double, and stolen base, while Pete Rose leads Cincinnati with his own 3-5 effort. The rubber game matches two journeyman lefties, Ron Bryant and Fred Norman. The Bear gets the better of the little screwballer, and the Giants hold off a Cincinnati comeback to take the opening series with a 6-4 win. Bryant strikes out eight in 5 1/3 and the Giant pen redeems itself, with Jerry Johnson picking up the save. Tito Fuentes knocks in the game winner to overcome his own two run error and adds a double and two runs scored to lead the Giants. The Reds, flush with confidence, drop below .500

NOTES: The Giants committed six errors in the series...Dirty Al Gallagher went 6-11, and Bonds 7-14 in the series for San Francisco, while Bench was 6-13 for the Reds. Willie Mays, after a slow start was 3-13 with a homer in the third game of the series...Funny thing about this set up (great teams, short schedule) every close game feels like a playoff game. I can see this being rather intense...:)



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Luxury Box Season Ticket Holder

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Date: Sep 25, 2015
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Pittsburgh at New York (Miles Davis "Round Midnight" on the turntable)

The one thing that makes the likelihood the Mets will basically suck palatable, is how they will suck. This will be an offensive league--lots of homers, above average run totals--some good pitchers will see their ERAs rise. It wasn't my intention, just how it played out. But the Mets will play a lot of series like this one against the Pirates. The home opener sees Tom Seaver pitch a fine game, allowing only solo homers to Rich Hebner and Roberto Clemente. He strikes out six in seven innings, walks no one. And loses. Because the Mets can't hit. Steve Blass tosses a three hitter, and the Jolly Roger flies after a 2-0 win. Game two is more of the same, at least for New York, They finally score a run, but Dock Ellis matches Blass with a three hitter of his own, and the Pirates bang out ten hits in a 5-1 win. Avoiding the sweep, Jon Matlack pitches a masterful, four hit, eleven strikout complete game shutout win, as the Mets take it 4-0. Three of the runs come off of the awful Bob Veale, who I tried to sneak an inning out of (bad idea) otherwise it's a 1-0 win. It's like baseball in 1908, which all things considered, is kind of cool.

NOTES: Clemente was 4-13, and nearly every ball he hit was to the opposite field, which is also kind of coolly accurate. Willie Stargell going 0-11 wasn't though...



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Luxury Box Season Ticket Holder

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Tokyo (Yomiuri) @ Phildelphia (George Clinton, "You Shouldn'tuvbitfish." on the wheel of steel, well, aluminum maybe)

The Phillies welcome the most storied franchise in Nippon Baseball to the their American tour with a one- sided brain-bashing, whupping the jet-lagged Gaints 10-0. Steve Carlton, not at his best, nonetheless tosses a two-hitter, and goes 2-4 with 2 RBIs and a double for good measure. Tim MCCarver and Davey Johnson go yard, and Bake McBride steals three bases. Luzinski is 2-4 with a double and triple. Embarrassing. Flush with overconfidence, the Phillies fall the following afternoon, 7-3. Suddenly, the Giant are sharp--they move runners along and then drive them home. Horimoto homers, and every player but one scores or drives in a run. Kato goes 7 for the win, and Philadelphia has to score twice late to make it semi-respectable. The rubber game is a tight affair, and another aspect of tension is added--national pride. The Phillies, booed by their fans the previous afternoon, don't want to be the first team to lose a series to a Japanese team, and the Giants, proud flagship of the NPBL, want to prove they are on equal footing with Americans. The Phillies prevail on an eighth inning single by Ted Sizemore to win 3-2. Randy Lerch provides a surpisingly strong outing, but Tug McGraw gets the win. Launch the fireworks and wave the flag.

NOTES: The Giants are attempting to survive their tour with an eight man pitching staff..Sadaharu Oh, the big draw for the Giants, went 2-12 with one RBI and appeared to be pressing...ex-pat Johnny Sipin went 3-10 with four walks and two RBI...Bake McBride ended the series 5-10 for Philly...



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Luxury Box Season Ticket Holder

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Yokohama @ Los Angeles, all games Statis-Pro (Isley Brothers "Fight the Power" on the tape deck, haha)

The Dodgers welcome the Whales to Chavez Ravine and are impolite hosts, clobbering the Taiyo squad 13-3. Reggie Smith has himself a game, going 2-3 with two HRs and two walks, driving in five, while Davey Lopes sets the table with a 3-5 game. Every Dodger gets a hit (including Don Sutton) and Sutton pitches a strong 7 1/3 innings for the win. The Dodger blowout follows the same pattern as Tokyo's one-sided loss to the Phililes.

The second game, just like the Giants-Phils series, is also much closer. Both clubs were knotted at two going to the bottom of the seventh, when Lopes smacked a lead off homer to give the Dodgers the lead. Reggie followed two batters later with a two run shot into the RF pavilion (his third of the series) and the Dodgers cruised from there to a 5-2 win. Doug Rau overcame early troubles to pitch a complete game, five hitter, for the win. Throughout the game, the Whale hitters seemed frustrated by the calls of home plate ump Andy Olsen, often looking back quizzically, tantamount to openly arguing in Japanese ball.

The final game of the series was the best of the three, and so far the most memorable of the early season. Burt Hooton of the Dodgers matched up with Akio Saito of the Whales. Early expectations were for another Dodger blowout win; Hooton came in with "Good Stuff" and a 2-9 adjusted PB, while Saito, usually a 2-7, was dropped to a 2-5 due to "Terrible Stuff," in part a result of pitching on the road (My 'Good Stuff-Bad Stuff' chart is available on the Tabletop-Sports download section along with about a half dozen or so other revised SP charts I posted over ten years ago. For some reason they were never attributed to me--and I may not use all of them now exactly as they are posted--but they are there if anyone is interested.)

Despite the relative disparity, both pitchers engaged in an amazing duel; Hooton breaking off his trademark knuckle-curve, and Saito soft-tossing frisbee sliders and balls that seemed to defy gravity and angular momentum. By the bottom of the ninth, the game was scoreless, when Steve Garvey came to the plate. After swinging futilely at another super-sinker, Tommy Lasorda emerged from the Dodger dugout and asked to have the ball inspected by home plate umpire Doug Harvey. After a minute or so, Harvey ejected Saito from the game for doctoring the ball! This led to an interpreted argument between Harvey and Whale manager Kauro Betto. The Whales played the remainder of the game under protest.

With their star pitcher out of the game, the Yokohama had to go to their overworked and underwhelming bullpen. This held up through the tenth, but in the bottom of the eleventh, the Dodgers loaded the bases with one out for Ron Cey. The Penguin had come up earlier in the game in a similar situation, and had hit a rocket to third, right into the glove of Tomio Tashiro. This time, he sent a high drive down the left field line that hooked just inside the foul pole for a walk-off grand-slam and a Dodger sweep.

After the game, to everyone's surprise, the Whales did not engage in the agreed upon handshake line, as the usually form-conscious Japanese players went straight to their clubhouse.

POSTSCRIPT: After the game, Betto stated through an interpreter that he was disappointed by the lack of fair play and slanted umpiring, and was seriously considering asking permission to return his team to Japan and discontinue the tour. He pointed to the poor calling of balls and strikes throughout the series, to a play earlier in the game on a stolen base by Tashiro, and of course the ejection of Saito. On the Tashiro play, the Whale third baseman had stolen second with one out in the tenth. Johnny Oates throw had sailed into the outfield. Tashiro became tangled with Lopes at the bag, but had made it to third anyway. After a meeting of the umpiring crew, Tashiro was returned to second for "interference" an interpretation that no one seemed to understand, and that Vin Scully commented on in the booth he had never seen. Fukushima grounded out on the next at bat, a play that conceivably could have scored Tashiro and given the Whales the win.

For his part, Lasorda, never at a loss for words, went off into an expletive filled, vaguely racist tirade when it was suggested his team benefited from poor calls and that his decision to have the home plate ump inspect the ball was in poor diplomatic form. "The game f-ing counts" he said, " and that guy (Saito) was cheating. We didn't win the war so they can come over and cheat us."

Stay tuned for how this all plays out.



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Luxury Box Season Ticket Holder

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So the first weekend of National League play is in the books. The Dodgers have taken the lead in the West at 3-0, followed by the Giants (2-1), and then the Reds (1-2). The Pirates and Phillies sit atop the East at 2-1, with the Mets bringing up the rear at 1-2. Tokyo sits at 1-2, and Yokohoma is 0-3.

Reggie Smith has the early home run lead with 3, while Bake McBride has 3 steals. Bobby Bonds is the hit leader with seven.

Next up on the AL schedule, it will be Baltimore at Chicago, Boston at Kansas City, and New York at Oakland.

NOTES: The Yokohama Taiyo Whales have decided to continue their tour of the two leagues. They have also agreed to a seven day suspension for Akio Saito for knowingly using a defaced ball (note that the suspension does not refer to "defacing a ball," only using a defaced ball.) Their protest of the game was not upheld. Thus far in twelve games, I have used Statis-Pro for eight (two using a dice version of the game), three using Strat-O-Matic, and one using Ballhalla 2-dice. The preponderance of Statis-Pro games is due to the Japanese teams, which is why when I have time I will rate them for History Maker Baseball as well. Still waiting for my first HMB, Replay, Payoff Pitch, or SI game (although there are fewer match-ups available for the latter three.)



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Luxury Box Season Ticket Holder

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Baltimore @ Chicago (Isley Brothers "Summer Breeze" on the tape deck, Strat and Ballhalla on the tabletop)

The Sox open the season hosting the O's and are unable to hold a 3-1 lead. Baltimore ties it in the eighth, and takes it in the eleventh, 5-3, the winning hit coming on a Merv Rettenmund pinch hit homerun off of Dave Hamilton. This sends Sox broadcaster Jimmy Peirsall into a spasmodic diatribe, wondering why Bob Lemon did not go to his right hander, Don Kirkwood, who was warming up in the bullpen, especially after he predicted that Rettenmund was going to take him deep. "The guy crushes left-handers, has done it his whole career. I don't understand it, coach. Why get him up if your not going to use him?" A sellout Comiskey crowd goes home dejectedly, but well-inebriated.

Game two is more of the same. The White Sox take a 7-2 lead into the ninth and with two outs and two on, the crowd begins it's Na-Na-Hey-Hey chant. Harry Caray comments that the crowd is getting a little ahead of itself. Sure enough, Lerrin Lagrow cannot find the plate, his defense cannot field the ball, and before the inning is over, the Orioles have scored five runs to tie it, all on one hit. The game goes fifteen before an Earl Williams sac fly puts Baltimore ahead to stay, 8-7. Through two games, the Oriole bullpen has pitched 15 scoreless innings (Reynolds 6, Watt 4, Hood 3, Jackson 2---ahhh, when relievers were men!)

Game three matches up Cy Young winner Jim Palmer against journeyman Chris Knapp. Earl Weaver senses a sweep, but Knapp out pitches Palmer, giving up just 2 runs in 7 innings, and the Pale Hose eek out a 3-2 victory on just five hits. This time the bullpen holds, and Lagrow shuts the door for the save.

NOTES: The White Sox committed five errors in the series, two by Alan Bannister, who has to be the worst everyday defensive shortstop the majors have seen in forty years. The Chicago team is just dreadful in the field, and it really stands out in comparison to the other clubs in this season. Jim Spencer and Jim Essian are highly rated in Strat, e.g., but the Orta-Bannister keystone is frighteningly bad and when Brian Downing, ca. 1977, is possibly your best corner OF option, that says it all, I think. At some point I will post a comparison between the game systems regarding defensive ratings. It's always educational to look at the differences that come up, and those "inconsistencies" have had an erratic but interesting effect on the defensive substitutions I've made. What makes sense for Strat, for example, doesn't for Statis-Pro, but sort of does for Ballhalla, etc.. Strat's ratings tend diverge the most, but I also think they do a better job of adhering to conventional belief because their's are the least tied to a specific formula or methodology. For what it's worth, I don't think baseball analytics have made much improvement on Bill James' simple range factors and DER. Those were a huge leap forward from fielding percentage, but I believe there are ineluctable impediments to objectively gauging defensive prowess much beyond that point.



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Luxury Box Season Ticket Holder

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Boston @ Kansas City (More Isley Brothers, more Strat, Ballhalla, and Statis-Pro...it's the Pride...)

The opener in KC is a testament to the folly of riding one's ace too long. Or maybe in not having confidence in one's bullpen. Or maybe not having a bullpen at all, forcing one to ride one's ace too long. In any event, Dennis Leonard of the Royals matched up against Luis Tiant of Boston. Leonard was largely un-hittable for about six innings, ending up with ten strikeouts. Except when he was very hittable, and then Boston took him yard, and hither and yon throughout the big ballpark in KC (home runs by Doyle and Cooper.) By the seventh inning stretch, Whitey Herzog had left him in to allow five runs, and pile up a pitch count that was reaching astronomical proportions. Tiant was almost entirely un-hittable, allowing one run without benefit of a hit in the fifth and one hit total. Until the bottom seventh and the third time through the order, and suddenly he could not get anyone out. With the bases loaded and one out, Darrel Johnson was faced with a decision; leave a faltering Tiant in to face pinch hitter Pete La****, or go to his shaky pen. Johnson, ever confident in El Tiante's ability to get out of his own jam, left him in and Luis rewarded his manager with a whiff of La**** (which is an unfortunate turn o' phrase, but I digress.) He was not so lucky with Fred Patek, however, and the diminutive shortstop lined a single to center so sharply that Darrell Porter could not score from second. That brought Tom Poquette to the plate. Still up three, and lefty Jim Burton now fully warmed, Johnson was once again given an opportunity to lift Tiant with the game still in hand. Once again he chose not to, and this time it cost him. Poquette singled through the infield, scoring two, and getting the Royals back in the game. Johnson's apparent fear of the "legendary" Joe Zdeb would prove costly.

Whitey Herzog, however, was not content to take advantage of his gift, and gave it right back, as Leonard, still in the game, allowed another run in the eighth before finally getting the hook. His replacement, Larry Gura, in a seeming attempt to justify his manager's lack of confidence, then gave up a pinch-hit homerun to Deron Johnson to make it 7-5. All looked good for Boston, but the Royals would get their crack at the Sox pen themselves, and crack they did. Amos Otis' base loaded triple of off Jim Willoughby tied the score, and Cookie Rojas slapped a game winning single the next at-bat. KC, held to just one hit through six innings had exploded for seven runs in two innings, and was able to hold on in the ninth for an 8-7 win.

Game two of the series was a bespectacled pitcher's duel of sorts between Paul Splittorf and Rick Wise, with Splittorf coming out on top, 3-1. The Boston attack, which had delivered 11 hits (and six extra base hits) the night before, was held to just five in the grey, wind swept afternoon. KC only managed five knocks themselves, but three were solo home runs by John Mayberry, George Brett, and Otis. Both pitchers went the distance, and Wise's walk of Al Cowens in the second was the only base on balls issued.

Boston aimed to avoid a sweep in game three, and had built a 4-2 lead off of Jim Colborn. But Bill Lee, constantly in a mess throughout the game, could not pitch his way out of every jam, and was relieved after walking Otis to start the eighth with a 4-3 lead. With John Mayberry at the plate, Boston manager Johnson once again bypassed Jim Burton and the platoon advantage, and went with his de facto relief ace Dick Drago. The move backfired as Mayberry homered to give KC the lead, 5-4. Drago would suffer his second loss of the series a a result, as KC used three relievers to close it out. Mark Littell blew a letter high fastball past Jim Rice to earn the save, and send Boston home 0-3.

NOTES: Carl Yazstremski had six hits in the series, including a home run, for Boston...Mayberry hit two home runs for KC...Doyle narrowly missed hitting three home runs in the series, having two balls that just missed going out in the RF corner. His long ball was his only hit in the series...



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Umpire

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Interesting indeed!

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Luxury Box Season Ticket Holder

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New York @ Oakland (Strat, History Maker, Statis-Pro, in that order)

Billy Martin returned to his native Oakland minus the services of Reggie Jackson, Catfish Hunter, and Ken Holtzman, but faced with the prospect of facing all three. This was not a situation The Kid feared--he never liked Jackson; nobody liked Holtzman; and Hunter, well Catfish was no longer like himself. Billy had two not-so-secret weapons on his bench to unleash on the A's lefties--Cliff Johnson and Lou Piniella--players who could replace Jackson's bat in the lineup, so he assumed he could take at least two of three. Instead, his Yankees left the Bay Area with a shocking sweep.

Game one, the Yankees battered the 20 game winner version of Holtzman, winning 7-5. Piniella went 4-4 with three doubles, two runs, and three RBI. Johnson went 2-4 with a double and a tape-measure shot onto the concrete steps in left to give ex- A Mike Torrez the win. The heart of the Yankee order went 11-18 overall, led by Piniella and Thurman Munson's three singles. Sparky Lyle picked up the save. Reggie and Sal Bando homered, but a late Oakland rally was snuffed out by Lyle.

Game two was the NBC GOW. Tony Kubek commented that the Yankees seemed more alert, more fundamentally sound. Vida Blue struggled for Oakland, allowing the lead off hitter to reach in five of the first six innings he pitched. Meanwhile Ed Figeroa was sharp, walking only one batter and only allowing eight hits in 8 1/3. A dropped flyball by Bill North in the fifth ended up costing the A's the game, allowing the final two Yankee runs to score as unearned. Bando and Tenace homered for the Oakland, but they were thwarted again by Lyle in the ninth. Final score, New York 5, Oakland 3.

Game three was an out and out pitching clinic between Ron Guidry and Hunter. Catfish allowed only one run, an unearned one at that, generated when Jackson misplayed a Graig Nettles single allowing Chris Chambliss to chug all the way around from first. It would turn out to be the game's only run. Guidry was dominating, breaking his slider in on the A's right-handed bats, inducing a series of ground balls to Nettles. "I think we established he can field his position," a disgruntled Dick Williams said after the game. But the Yankees joy was tempered; Guidry had to leave the game with tightness in his forearm after making three pitches to Reggie in the ninth. Dick Tidrow came in with one on, whiffed Jackson, and then retired Tenace and Fosse to complete the combined five hitter.

"Nice to know he can't field for them either," Martin snarkily remarked about Jackson in the post game.

NOTES: Oakland donned their all gold uniforms for the opener, despite complaints from their own players that they were "hideous." After dropping the game, it was unclear if they would be worn again or "burned on Charlie Finley's front yard" as one anonymous player suggested...Although the A's drew well for the opening weekend series, many of the fans at the Coliseum were transplanted Yankee fans, a point driven home and made more obvious by the sweep...Oakland led in the series for all of one half inning of play...in addition to his error, Bill North went 0-12 with one run scored...At one point Piniella had reached base his first seven times to the plate. He never got on after that, ending the series a still impressive 5-12...Bert Campaneris was drilled late in game one by a Torrez fastball, resulting in a deep thigh bruise that forced him out of action for the remainder of the series. He should be back in a game or two. Meanwhile Guidry's injury will likely see him on the shelf for about two weeks. Expect him to miss a couple of starts...



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Luxury Box Season Ticket Holder

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After the first spate of games, the AL looks like this; in the East, New York (3-0) leads the Orioles (2-1) while Boston (0-3) is in an immediate hole. The West leader is Kansas City (3-0) followed by Chicago (1-2) and then disappointing Oakland (0-3.)

The upcoming NL schedule is as follows;

Philadelphia at New York; the Phils look to create some distance between their Eastern opponents, while the Mets look to create an offense of some kind.

Tokyo at Pittsburgh; Will Oh go yard? Will Willie (48 HRs) Stargell?

Los Angeles at Cincinnati; Dodgers try to remain undefeated, while the Reds try to get back to winning.

Yokohama at San Francisco; expectation of a huge Japanese turnout at Candlestick--Giants could make early move in division.



Game plays; Strat 7, Ballhalla 3, Statis-Pro 10 (two using dice), History Maker 1



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Luxury Box Season Ticket Holder

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I'd like to see you throw in some Sports Illustrated games. I'm currently doing a 1970 SI tournament, though it's been on hold for a couple of months. I cannot say it's better than SOM or SP, but I love the format and the way it plays.

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VP of Operations

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Very impressive.

I have no doubt that "hideous" (in reference to the A's and their golden unis) is a euphemism, and their language was every bit as (appropriately) colorful as Lasorda's when discussing Saito.

I agree that the '73 Mets are legit...but you might have to create a set based on just their April-August-September totals to see it, because of all the injuries.

(Full disclosure: I was a Mets' fan at the time wink)

Their combined record during those months, when everyone was (mostly) healthy, was 49-30 (.620, which was slightly better than the Reds' .611 pace for the season).
I realize that three-month sample is slightly less than half of a full season, but it's also a 101-win pace over the course of 162 games.

And they were at their best when it was all up for grabs, admittedly in a weak division.

They finished on a 30-14 tear, winning nine of their last 11 games, including six of seven against St. Louis and Pittsburgh, their closest competitors.

For the season, they were a combined 23-13 against the Cardinals and Pirates.

They were 34-38 against the West for the season, but won 11 of their final 21 against the Western clubs during their final stretch against them, before returning to pummel the East down the stretch.



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Manager

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Date: Sep 25, 2015
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Interesting idea using different games for this project, I like it.

I did play a little Statis-Pro in the early 80's.

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Umpire

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Date: Sep 25, 2015
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Do you have any info on how the Japanese teams are carded that you could share?



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