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RE: Big Hair and Plastic Grass Revival League
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Yokomama @ Pittsburgh (Statis-Pro w/dice and History Maker Baseball)

Fun Fact: the number one book on the NY Times Bestseller List for 5/9/71 was Irving Stone's The Passions of the Mind, an autobiographical novel of Sigmund Freud.

Perhaps Whale manager Kauro Betto should resort to psychoanalysis for his club. After winning two of three in Philadelphia, the Whales reverted to the habit of losing in all manner of ways in Pittsburgh. As the hypnotherapist in "The Natural" lectured "Losing...is a disease of the mind."

In the Friday night opener, the Whales took an early 1-0 lead and received a surprisingly solid start by Acho Sato, who blanked the Pirates for 5 1/3 innings. At that point, however, the Pirates exploded for three; singles by Vic Davilillo and Manny Sanguillen, and home run by Roberto Clemente gave the Pirates a short lived advantage. Taiyo would tie the game in their next half inning, but their bullpen quickly surrendered the go ahead run in the bottom of the seventh when Sanguillen drove home pinch hitter Dave Cash, who had doubled, from second base. It was the second loss of the year for veteran swing man Masaji Hiramatsu, a pitcher upon whom the Whales depend but who has now allowed 11 earned runs in 14 innings. The just activated Mudcat Grant picked up the win for the Pirates, and the struggling Dave Guisti turned in one of his less eventful relief efforts for his third save. 

The Saturday afternoon game in the series was more of the same. The Whales led at three different junctures in the game, and hit surprise starter Bruce Kison reasonably hard (five runs and eight hits in six innings.) With ace Akio Saito pitching they seemed headed for a rare victory. But Betto, wary of his incidinary bullpen, stayed with Saito too long in the seventh, and the Pirates rallied for three runs, capped by an Al Oliver double, to take a 6-5 lead they would never relinquish. Grant turned in a two inning save, Davilillo went 4-4, and Clemente added another 2-4/2B/HR game for the Buccos. Hisaaki Fukushima was 3-4 for the Whales.

The Pirates polished off Yokohama for a three game sweep in the series finale. Bob Moose was sharp, allowing just six hits and two walks, and Clemente continued his assault on the outfield walls of Three Rivers Stadium, banging out three more hits, including two doubles. The Pirates exploded for eight runs in the eighth inning to take a mildly competitive game and turn it into a rout. Final score, Pittsburgh 11, Yokohama 0. Another decent performance by a Whale starter (Osamu Nomura, 7 IP, 3 ER) wasted by a dreadful bullpen performance. Frustration levels reached such a boiling point that Fuskushima was ejected for arguing balls and strikes with umpire Tom Hallion, a rarity in Japanese baseball. "He swore at me," reported Hallion. "It kind of shocked me, and I didn't really understand the rest, but some things don't need a translator."

Back to the couches for the Whales. Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar, and sometimes you lose because you aren't very good.

NOTES: Clemente finished the series 7-13 with 5 doubles, 2 homers, and 7 RBIs. He now has 9 doubles, 5 home runs, and 15 RBIs in 15 games played....Willie Stargell is finally starting to heat up. He was 5-11 over the weekend with his fourth home run of the year...One area the Whales have not been terrible is team defense. Shortstop Daisuke Yamash!ta committed his first error of the year, and as a team the Whales have only booted eight in fifteen games...The Pirates high spirits were dampened some by news that left-handed starter Luke Walker (1-0, 2.81) could miss up to a month with arm soreness. Walker developed pain in his forearm during warm-ups, necessitating Kison's appearance...Al Oliver had the game winning RBI in two of the three games, including a home run in game three. Oliver hit numerous balls hard, but was just 3-12. "If my line drives fell in, I feel like I could hit .400 sometimes," Oliver replied.

 Image result for roberto clemente

“If I could sleep. I could hit .400.”--Roberto Clemente, who is hitting .410.



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Cincinnati @ Los Angeles (all games played using Statis-Pro, dice version--my big die is starting to seem a bit tilted)

Fun Fact: some of the top news stories of May 1977...Patty Hearst released from jail...Menechem Begin named prime minister of Israel..."Star Wars" is released in theaters...Janet Guthrie becomes the first woman to drive in the Indy 500...

And the Reds took on the Dodgers for first place in the NL West. Former Dodger farmhand Fred Norman against current Dodger sinkerballer Tommy John from Dodger Stadium. "And this game, as always brought to you by the fine folks at Farmer John..."

Both pitchers came in to the game with ERAs north of 5, but both were much sharper in the Friday night tilt. The Dodgers scratched out single runs in the second and fourth, both scores driven in by Davey Lopes, but Norman and the Red bullpen held LA in check otherwise. Meanwhile John was in classic form, allowing singles, but no extra base hits, and always able to wriggle out of trouble. In the ninth Cesar Geronimo led off with a base knock to RF and Sparky Anderson sent right hand hitting reserve IF Doug Flynn up to pinch hit. Geronimo took off on a hit and run, and Flynn hit a liner back through the box that John speared and turned into an easy 1-3 DP. That play would prove crucial when Pete Rose followed with a double to the gap in right center. Merv Rettenmund then singled Rose home for the Reds first run, but with a little luck the game would have been tied with no one out. Instead Tommy Lasorda went to his bullpen, summoning Mike Garman, who notched his first save of the year when he struck out Joe Morgan. The Dodgers escaped with a fortunate 2-1 win. "The Big Dodger in the Sky was looking out for us" a relieved Lasorda said in his office after the game.

The next afternoon, in front of a national GOW audience, "divine" intervention seemed to remain in play. LA jumped out to an early 5-1 lead, sparked by two-run homers by Ron Cey and the suddenly red-hot Lopes. With the seemingly unhittable Burt Hooton on the mound the game seemed safe: but the Big Red Machine is no ordinary offense, and they quickly chipped away at the lead. Three straight singles in the sixth knocked Hooton from the game, and all three Reds (Bench, Driessen, Foster) came into score. Foster added a two run single the next inning to give Cincinnati the lead, but it was short-lived. Unlikely defensive mistakes by Bench (dropped third strike), and Rose (muffed grounder) allowed the Dodgers to tie the game at 6, a score that would carry into extra innings. In the tenth, Ken Griffey lead off with a single, and Joe Morgan finished off a 3-3/3 run game with a game winning double off of Garman. Rawley Eastwick picked up the win, Pedro Borbon the save as the Reds' pen worked six scoreless innings. 

Cincinnati's relievers would continue to shine in the series finale. The Dodgers took an early lead on Steve Yeager's home run, and would eventually run Clay Kirby from the game before the fifth. Unfortunately for Los Angeles fans, Rick Rhoden was even worse. Much worse, in fact. The Dodger righty followed up his shutout against Tokyo by allowing eight runs to score in one inning. All told, the Reds sent 15 hitters to the plate in the fourth inning for nine runs and held on for 10-6 win. The Dodgers hit three home runs (Smith and Cey with the others) but Cincinnati had five doubles and strung their hits together so efficiently they really didn't need much power. In the end, they take two of three from LA and regain a tie for first.

NOTES: For the series, Cincinnati relief pitchers hurled a collective 13 2/3 innings of scoreless relief...George Foster had a tremendous series for the Reds, going 8-14 with 5 RBIs, launching himself into the early batting race in the NL...The Dodgers out-homered the Reds 5-0 in the series and have now hit 24 bombs in 15 games. The Reds have only hit ten, but are hitting nearly .320 as a team, and have stolen 14 bases on the season, led by Morgan's six. Cinicnnati is averaging over six runs a game, the Dodgers about 4.7 ...

“I don't know why people like the home run so much. A home run is over as soon as it starts.... The triple is the most exciting play of the game. A triple is like meeting a woman who excites you, spending the evening talking and getting more excited, then taking her home. It drags on and on. You're never sure how it's going to turn out.” 
--George Foster (of his 22 hits, eighteen have been singles. Two doubles, one triple, one home run)

Image result for george foster images



-- Edited by pfunkone on Friday 6th of November 2015 06:48:54 AM

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Tokyo at San Francisco (all games History Maker Baseball. Like I said, I think the die I'm using to randomly choose games is seriously flawed. In fact, I know it is flawed. But flawed can be good too. Maybe...)

FUN FACT: Mexico City moved past Tokyo as the most populous city in the world in 1978. Tokyo had an estimated 8,442,634 people living within it's borders that year...In 1971 San Francisco had 708,706...

Too many Giants. Uniforms that were too similar. Confusion for San Francisco announcers Lon Simmons and Russ Hodges. Chaos at the 'Stick.

Perhaps the greatest sign that something was amiss was Yomiuri's excellent opportunity to win game one. Was that Takashi Nishimoto on the mound dealing for the Japanese club, or Juan Marichal? Was Shozo Doi hitting a home run or a well-disguised Hal Lanier. From the upper reaches of the ballpark, with enough alcohol to steel oneself against the elements it was difficult to tell. But the scoreboard told the story. Going to the last of the ninth inning, Tokyo led 4-2.

Then cold reality took over--three of the first four San Francisco batters reached, two on walks, and Shigeo Nagashima went to his bullpen. Reluctantly. Throughout the season the Tokyo bullpen has been English for "gas-flinging monster of the depths." Godzilla with heartburn could not have done such damage. 

Nevertheless, in came Mitsou Sumi who had already lost three games in relief. He immediately gave up a two run double to Willie Mays to tie the game, and after intentionally walking Willie McCovey (despite having the platoon advantage) and getting Ken Henderson to pop into an infield fly, allowed Dick Deitz, who had already homered, a single to the wall to score the game winner. In the end, it had all been a phantom, perhaps a bad dream brought on by tainted sushi. The "real" Giants win 5-4.

Game two was a bit less dramatic. The San Francisco club scored eight runs in the first inning and never looked back. Shigeru Kobayashi failed to retire any of the eight batters he faced, and appeared so mechanically unsound that anything above a batting practice fastball proved impossible to locate. Tokyo managed to scrap together four runs off the real Marichal, but the Dominican hall-of-famer managed to pick up his third win of the year despite walking seven of his own. There were fifteen walks in the game, which lasted nearly four hours. McCovey hit his first homer of the year and Bobby Bonds his fourth.

With a win in the Sunday game, the SF Giants had the opportunity to move back into a three way tie for first. But the Tokyo club had other thoughts, Tsuneo Horiuchi in particular. The Yomiuri ace was in total command, never allowing more than one base runner at any time, while his offense crushed the Giant bullpen for seven of it's ten runs (five off of John Cumberland in one inning of work.) Ex-pat Johnny Sipin continued to overshadow the more famous Sadaharu Oh; in this game he hit 2 home runs and drove in six, while the briefly banished Isao Harimoto went 4-5. Tokyo took the finale 10-0, and actually outscored their Bay Area counterparts 18-15 in the series.

Now back to "normal" games played between teams with distinct names. There ought to be a law. This isn't Canada...

NOTES: Tokyo matched it's season total in home runs with six for the series. Interestingly, they had only one other extra-base hit, a double by 3B Shigeru Takada...For the record, Tokyo relievers have a cumulative record of 0-5 with no saves...Horiuchi, in addition to pitching the first Japanese shutout, also became the first Japanese pitcher to homer, belting a three shot off of Cumberland...Deitz has quietly put together an outstanding season. His home run was his fifth, and he has now scored ten runs while hitting .300 with numerous walks, while regularly getting rest. And thus far his less than stellar defensive reputation has not wounded the Giants much...

QUOTABLE: Our earned run average looks like the national debt. –Charlie Fox, Giants manager on his team's 4.20 ERA

Tsuneo Horiuchi



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At the fifteen game mark in the Senior Circuit, the standings remain congested and up for grabs. In the West, LA and Cincinnati are both 10-5, with SF a game off the pace at 9-6. In the East, NY and Pittsburgh are both 9-6, with Philly a shade over .500 at 8-7. Tokyo is 3-12, while Yokohama is an even more dreadful 2-13.

NL Leaders

Avg. McBride PHI, .435...Clemente PIT, .410...Foster CIN, .393

HR-Luzinski PHI, Smith LA, 6

RBI-Bench CIN, 20

SB-Lopes LA, Morgan CIN, McBride PHI, 6

 

ERA-Nolan CIN, 0.81...Matlack NYM, 1.14...Hooton LA, Seaver NYM, 1.50

W-McGraw PHI, 4

SV-Eastwick CIN, 4

SO-Hooton LA, Matlack NYM, 22

Underrated ace of the NY staff, Jon Matlack

 

The upcoming AL schedule;

Baltimore @ Kansas City; Orioles conclude a fifteen game, season-opening road trip against a slumping Royal squad...

Chicago @ Oakland; first place in the west on the line...

Boston @ New York; classic rivalry's first series of the season...



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Baltimore @ Kansas City (History Maker and Strat-O-Matic)

Fun Fact: Billboard's number one single in 1977 was Rod Stewart's "Tonight's the Night." The number one album was Fleetwood Mac's "Rumors."

A sputtering KC team hosts the Orioles from Royal's Stadium. The opener pits veteran left-hander Dave McNally against Royal ace right-hander Dennis Leonard. McNally had usually been done in by a bad inning or two in his previous starts, but his control was spot on this night and he was able to scatter nine hits through the first eight innings against a Royal attack that seemed incapable of generating any thump. Leonard was also sharp, but he left the game in the eighth inning trailing 2-0, the only blemish being a two-run second inning keyed by a Brooks Robinson triple.

But in the ninth, McNally issued his third walk to Amos Otis leading off the inning, and one out later, Buck Martinez doubled off the wall in left. With the tying runs in scoring position and Bob Reynolds warm in the pen, Earl Weaver elected to stay with his lefty to face Frank White. KC manager Whitey Herzog similarly stuck with White, 1-32 to that point on the season and White made Herzog look like the genius when he looped an RBI single to right. On came Reynolds who immediately plunked Fred Patek to load the bases. With slumping Joe Zdeb due up, the White Rat did go to his bench, and the streak of wise moves continued when Tom Poquette lashed a game winning single to give KC a 3-2 win. 

The second game of the series was another low scoring affair, matching two crafty left-handers with ERAs above 5. Coming off a disastrous start against the Yankees, the Royal's Paul Splittorf was precise, allowing just an opposite field homer to Boog Powell. His counterpart Mike Cuellar pitched in and out of trouble all night, allowing 12 hits but just three runs as KC added only one extra base hit. It would be enough, though, and the Royals prevailed 3-1. Both George Brett and Amos Otis were 3-4, and the aforementioned White added two more hits including the game winning RBI.

Looking for a sweep, the Royals ran into Jim Palmer and the injury bug. Palmer threw a complete game, allowing only two runs and five hits, and finally received decent offensive support as the Orioles scored four off of Jim Colborn. Meanwhile, the club announced Larry Gura would miss over a week with shoulder stiffness, and starting catcher Darrell Porter was diagnosed with a mild quad strain after pulling up lame on a double in the seventh inning. He will be out even longer. Amos Otis followed Porter's hit with a two run homer, his third of the year, but that was all the scoring KC could manage and the O's come away with a broom-defying 4-2 victory. It was Palmer's first win of the year.

NOTES: Colborn dropped to 0-3 on the season, but perhaps more importantly gutted out a complete game. With Gura on the shelf, the Royals will be left with an eight man pitching staff in many of their games and they will need length from their starters...Boog Powell may have righted himself, going 5-8 in the series and raising his batting average a hundred points. The O's have not faced many right handed starters and Powell's playing time has been sporadic as a result. Weaver started him all three games against the Royals...White ended the series 5-9 with 4 RBIs, a good sign for a Royal club that is struggling to score runs. KC is averaging just over three runs a game, and had just just five extra-base hits against Baltimore...

QUOTABLE: "Jim (Palmer) knows how to rise to the occasion, plus Jim Palmer will be in the Hall of Fame, and it's hard to go wrong when you pitch a Hall of Famer." -Earl Weaver

Is White out of his slump?



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Chicago @ Oakland (Strat-O-Matic and Ballhalla)

Fun Fact: Given that the city may very well be without ANY professional teams by the end of the decade, it may be hard to believe that in the early-to-mid-seventies Oakland was Title Town USA. The A's won three consecutive World Series (72-75), the Warriors won an NBA title (1974-75) and the Raiders won a Super Bowl (1976). In addition, the A's also won two other division titles (71 and 75) the Warriors one (75-76, best record in league), and the Raiders five (70, 72-75.) Of course there were the Seals, but that's another story.

The first game of the series had the early look of a slug fest. Oscar Gamble launched a two run homer halfway up the bleachers in right off of Catfish Hunter to give the Sox a first inning 2-0 lead. The A's followed in their half with a with a two-run triple by Gene Tenace, succeeded by Deron Johnson's first RBI of the year on a sac fly to give Oakland a 3-2 advantage. The A's increased their lead in the third with a Tenace "dinger" off of Steve Stone, and Bob Lemon had has his bullpen busy. 

But Stone would discover his command, and with his curve ball finding the plate and not A's bats, Oakland would not score again. Jim Hunter was not so lucky. Ralph Garr took him deep in the fifth, and then in the fateful seventh, Chicago defeated the A's with small ball. Jim Essian led off with a single, then Alan Bannister dropped down a perfect bunt single. Garr sacrificed them both along, and after an intentional walk to Gamble, cleanup hitter Richie Zisk delivered a two-run single to give the Sox a lead they would never relinquish. The A's threatened in the ninth but Lerrin LaGrow, no fan favorite in Oakland, whiffed Johnson with two on to end it.

Bob Lemon continued his carousel of starting pitchers in the second game, sending rookie Dave Frost to the hill, Chicago's eighth different starting pitcher in fourteen games. Frost was solid, allowing just two runs in six and a third innings. Vida Blue was just as good for Oakland, though, and the game was knotted at two going to the bottom of the ninth. With one out, Ted Kubiak continued his surprising play with a triple off of veteran Bruce Dal Canton. Bill North was intentionally walked, and after Angel Mangual struck out, Sal Bando came to the plate with two out and the game hanging in the balance. The A's captain rose to the occasion once again, delivering his third game winner (out of six A's victories) with a three run homer over the outstretched glove of Chet Lemon, for a 5-2 walk-off for Oakland.

In the deciding game of the series, Oakland got it's best start of the year from Blue Moon Odom--seven innings and just two earned runs-- but Chicago had too much Chris Knapp and Eric Soderholm. The bespectacled duo combined to lead the Pale Hose to a 6-2 victory to gain sole possession of first place in the AL West. Knapp went the distance, allowing just two runs, while Soderholm supported him with two home runs (three for the series) and four RBIs.

NOTES: A's manager Dick Williams made five, five, and seven substitutions in the three games in the series. No manager in the game uses his bench as often as Williams...With five home runs in the series, the "South Side Hitmen" now have 19 after a relatively slow start...Joe Rudi's slump continues to mystify. He was 1-8 to remain at .125 on the year, and he is now rotating with an apparent cast of thousands in LF...

QUOTABLE: "The South Side looks for a better buy. Sox fans are bargain-hunters."~ Eric Soderholm

Three bombs in two days for Soderholm



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Boston At New York (Ballhalla & Strat-O-Matic)

Fun Fact: Bill Rogers won the 1975 Boston Marathon in a then course record time of 2:09:55. It was the first of four Marathon wins for Rogers. Liane Winter of West Germany won the woman's race in a then-world-record time of 2:42:24.

The Yankees and Red Sox engaged in their first of four scheduled series, and unless Boston can resolve it's bullpen issues, it may the only one that is relevant to the Red Sox pennant chances. Trailing the Yankees by five games, Boston needed a sweep, but instead received a cruel reminder that their bullpen phone connects to a gang of erstwhile "pyromaniacs."

Darrel Johnson's clear strategy was to start as many lefthanders at Yankee Stadium against the Bombers lefty-loaded lineup, and to the degree Boston victory hinged on the quality of their starting pitching, it was an inescapable success. Bill Lee pitched nine innings in the series opener and allowed a manageable three runs; reliever-turned spot starter Jim Burton worked six innings the next afternoon and gave up just two runs; and in the finale Roger Moret, always quick to complain about the lack of starts he gets, supported his contention by going the distance and not allowing a single earned run.

Yet Boston lost two of the three, despite their solid stating pitching and outscoring New York 19-11 in the series. In the first two games of the series, New York finally got decent-to-excellent starts from it's former Athletics. Ken Holtzman worked 5 2/3 in the Friday night contest (his longest outing of the season), and despite another rough outing from the suddenly ineffective Sparky Lyle, the Yankees claimed an extra-inning win when ex-A reggie Jackson blasted a walk off bomb off of the dreadful Dick Drago to end the game in eleven innings, 6-5 New York.

Catfish Hunter came back with an even better perfromance the following afternoon, giving up just one run in 7 1/3 innings, but it took a bottom of the ninth, pinch-hit single from Dell Alston, coming to the plate for the first time as a substitute bat for Bucky Dent, to give New York it's second win. Once again, Lyle blew the save, but it was Reggie Cleveland, shifted to the bullpen for this series, who took the loss for the Sox.

By Sunday, Johnson had essentially given up on his bullpen. Moret pitched a fine game, though, and the offense exploded to render that part of the Boston roster moot. The Beantown Dudes blasted three home runs off of Yankee pitchers (Petrocelli, Carbo, and Lynn), and tagged Mike Torrez with his first loss of the season, 12-2 Red Sox.

NOTES: Jim Rice went 5-13 in the series for Boston, but was injured again and is day-to-day...This was the first time that,  A) New York won a game started by Ken Holtzman or Jim Hunter or B) lost a game started by anyone else...Fred Stanley got his first start of the year at shortstop and Cliff Johnson his first behind the plate (after hitting a game- tying, two-run pinch hit homer off of Drago). George Zeber and Alston saw their first action as well, as Billy Martin finally dipped into his bench. Rumor has it that Owner George Steinbrenner was displeased with that decision after the one-sided beatdown New York received on Sunday...

QUOTABLE: "Sometimes I... do just the opposite of what George want(s) me to do, because I won't let anyone tell me how to manage. If I'm going down the tube, I'm going to do it my way."-Billy Martin

aake099.jpg



-- Edited by pfunkone on Tuesday 10th of November 2015 07:30:37 PM



-- Edited by pfunkone on Tuesday 10th of November 2015 07:31:34 PM



-- Edited by pfunkone on Tuesday 10th of November 2015 07:59:13 PM

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By taking two of three, the Yankees (11-4) move three games ahead of Baltimore (8-7) and six ahead of Boston (5-10.) The West remains a tight, if underwhelming race with the surprising White Sox leading the way at 8-7, with KC (7-8)  and Oakland (6-9) within hailing distance.

AL LEADERS

AVG.-Fisk, BOS .429...Munson, NYY .373...Gamble, CHI .359...

HR-Soderholm, CHI...Bando, OAK 5

RBI-Bando, OAK 16

SB-North, OAK 6

 

ERA-Figeroa, NYY 2.08...Hassler, KC 2.37...Wise, BOS 2.42...

W-Many tied with 3

SV-Lyle, NYY 4

SO-Leonard, KC 26

 th?id=OIP.M989e83dc75c7a7dc2cf05177d76f80f3o1&w=230&h=170&rs=1&pcl=dddddd&pid=1.1

On the upcoming NL schedule;

Yokohama at New York; Mets with a chance to open up another division lead against the woeful Whales

Pittsburgh at Phildelphia; all-Pennsylvania, all-turf, all-cookie cutter stadium battle, Philly style

Tokyo at Cincinnati; Reds get Perez back

San Francisco at Los Angeles; the bitterest rivalry in baseball, part two



-- Edited by pfunkone on Tuesday 10th of November 2015 08:18:19 PM



-- Edited by pfunkone on Tuesday 10th of November 2015 08:21:23 PM

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****NEWS UPDATE****NEWS UPDATE****NEWS UPDATE****

The Commisioner's office makes two announcements. First, it has been decided an all-star game will be played after the thirty game mark. Ballots will be made available for fans to vote for position players from both leagues. Tokyo has been affiliated with the NL for the purposes of voting, and Yokohama with the AL. The league office will fill benches (each of the fourteen participating teams must have at least one representative) and pitching staff's. Roster size has yet to be finalized.

More importantly, six games have been approved for addition to each of the twelve league team's schedules, brining the season total to 54 games. These games will be played against those MLB franchises not represented in the tournament; 77 Atlanta, 75 Houston, 73 San Diego, 75 Chicago, 71 Montreal, and 78 St. Louis in the NL; 75 California, 75 Minnesota, 73 Texas, 75 Detroit, 73 Cleveland, and 77 Milwaukee in the AL. These games will all be road games for the twelve league teams, played as two, three game series to be inserted into the schedule after the eighth series of the year, and the tenth (after the newly created all-star break.) The two Japanese teams were still in negotiation to play a pair of series against each other at a neutral site, and to possibly play the 79 Mariners and Blue Jays in series as well.

The rationale for this decision is the following; the desire to reach a suitable, relateable schedule length (54 games is one third of the typical season); to even out the home/road split each team plays; provide the teams in the league season with a small break from the rigors of a schedule otherwise played against only elite teams (Japanese teams excepted of course); and giving a brief stage to those players and teams that were part of the decade but not represented in the season.

While this decision may mildly unbalance the schedule (not all teams will face each other) it has been decided after much deliberation that this is a preferable way to address the previously mentioned "concerns," such as they are.

The Commish has spoken....



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AL All-Star Ballot

Catchers

*Earl Williams *Carlton Fisk *Jim Essian *Darrell Porter *Thurman Munson *Ray Fosse *Hisaaski Fukushima

First Base

*Boog Powell *Carl Yasztremski *Jim Spencer *John Mayberry *Chris Chambliss *Gene Tenace *Makato Matsubura

Second Base

*Bobby Grich *Denny Doyle *Jorge Orta *Frank White *Willie Randolph *Dick Green *Felix Millan

Shortstop

*Mark Belanger *Rick Burleson *Alan Bannister *Fred Patek *Bucky Dent *Bert Campaneris *Daisuke Yamash!ta

Third Base

*Brooks Robinson *Rico Petrocelli *Eric Soderholm *George Brett *Graig Nettles *Sal Bando *Tomio Tashiro

Outfield

*Al Bumbry *Jim Rice *Ralph Garr *Hal McRae *Roy White *Joe Rudi *Yoshi Takagi *Paul Blair *Fred Lynn *Chet Lemon *Amos Otis *Mickey Rivers 

*Bill North *Masayuki Nakatsuka *Tommy Davis *Dwight Evans *Richie Zisk *Oscar Gamble *Al Cowens *Reggie Jackson *Keiji Nagasaki

WRITE INS: Three spots for write in votes...

Feel free to post your vote. I'm looking for as much reader involvement as possible. If you need current stats, ask and I will post them. I would have done so with the ballots, but since most all-star votes at this time were punched out at the ballpark without much to guide the fans who were doing the voting, I figured it was historically consistent to approach it the same here. ;)

Voting will remain open until right before the all-star break. 

NL ballot to come...



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NL Ballot

Catchers

*Johnny Bench *Steve Yeager *Jerry Grote *Bob Boone *Manny Sanguillen *Dick Deitz *Tomoharu Fukushima

First Base

*Tony Perez *Steve Garvey *John Milner *Davey Johnson *Bob Robertson *Willie McCovey *Sadaharu Oh

Second Base

*Joe Morgan *Dave Lopes *Felix Millan *Ted Sizemore *Dave Cash *Tito Fuentes *Shozo Doi

Shortstop

*Dave Concepcion *Bill Russell *Bud Harrelson *Larry Bowa *Chris Speier *Kazumasa Kono

Third Base

*Pete Rose *Ron Cey *Wayne Garrett *Mike Schmidt *Richie Hebner *Al Gallagher *Johnny Sipin

Outfield

*George Foster *Dusty Baker *Cleon Jones *Greg Luzinski *Willie Stargell *Ken Henderson *Masahiro Yanagida *Cesar Geronimo *Rick Monday 

*Willie Mays *Garry Maddox *Al Oliver *Isao Shibata *Ken Griffey *Reggie Smith *Rusty Staub *Bake McBride *Roberto Clemente *Bobby Bonds

*Isao Harimoto

WRITE INS:________

Again, please post your vote! Even a partial vote is helpful in determining the starting lineup. And unlike in a real All-Star Game, your vote will actually count! Haha ;) 



-- Edited by pfunkone on Tuesday 10th of November 2015 09:23:53 PM

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Yokohama @ New York (Statis-Pro and History Maker)

Fun Fact: Well, maybe not so fun. During WWII, Yokohama was subject to thirty different US bombing raids, effectively desdtroying the city. It was re-built and used by the US as a major naval installation through the Korean War and US occupation. By 1975 it's population had grown to over 2.5 million people.

Perhaps it was the weather (cold and blustery for two of the games) or perhaps the novelty of cross-cultural baseball had already waned, but the attendance at Shea Stadium for the Mets' series with the Whales was underwhelming, especially for a first place club. Then again, maybe the Mets' fans were on to something, as their home town squad was underwhelming, to say the least.

Fresh off a frustrating series loss to the Phillies, the Mets appeared listless and spent, and the Taiyo squad took advantage. Fumiaki Kadota had electric stuff and was able to match gas with ace Tom Seaver. He whiffed ten Mets in seven innings, but still left the game trailing Tom Terrific 1-0 going to the eighth. Seaver allowed the first three Wahle batters to reach, however, and a critical Bud Harrelson error allowed the tying run to score. The Mets went to ever-reliable Tug McGraw, but deprived of his righty neutralizing screwball, Tugger gave up a two run double to Keiji Nagasaki which proved to be the game winner. New York scratched out a run in the bottom of the inning and threatened in the ninth, but the previously woeful Shiro Miyamoto got Rusty Staub to bounce back the mound with runners on the corners to secure the first save by a Whale pitcher all season. Final score, Yokohama 3, New York 2.

Where the opener was a pitcher's duel, the following evening erupted into an offensive explosion, and finally ellicited some fight from the home team. The Whales jumped out to a 5-1 lead, led by the suddenly smoldering Tomio Tashiro (3-3 with a double and home run), only to see the Mets claw back to tie the score after seven. Yokohama LF Yoshi Takagi dropped two fly balls in the game and let another ball drop for a single, and as a result, the tying Met runs were unearned. The game remained knotted and went to extra innings. In the eleventh, the Whales thought they had achieved victory when little used utility infielder Keisaburo Yoneda plated Tashiro with a sac fly. The Whale bullpen gave the game right back, however, and Rusty Staub re-tied the game at six with an RBI double.

At this point, faced with a dwindling set of relievers, both managers elected to remain with less than ideal options. For the Mets this proved especially disastrous as Buzz Capra continued to struggle to find the plate. His wildness (three walks in two innings) led in part to three more Yokohama runs, and ultimately a 9-6 win in twelve innings. Makato Matsubara ended the long night with a 6-2-4-0 and two doubles, while Felix Millan was 3-6 for the Mets.

The final game of the series was an afternoon get-away game, and Yokohama essentially treated the game though the phrase had been mistranslated as "throw-away" game instead. Starting Takashi Nemoto, he of the 30.30 ERA, the game was predictably one sided. Jon Matlack was not even especially sharp (three earned runs in sevena nd two thirds) but the Mets offense continued it's hot hitting (17 hits, all singles) and the Whale defense was obligingly porous (four errors leading to eleven unearned runs), and the Mete avoided an embarrassing series sweep with a 13-4 walk over. Every Met hitter that batted got at least one hit, save for late game substitute Ken Boswell, and New York found itself on the other side of a series it lost despite outscoring it's opponent (21-16.)

NOTES: Matsubara finshed the series 7-15 with a HR and 3 RBI and seems to be a shoe in for Yokohma's obligatory selection for the All-Star Game...Aided by one well pitched game and 14 unearned runs, the Whales finally saw their ERA drop below six for the season...Wayne Garrett broke an 0-21 slump by going 3-4 in the series finale. He committed his league leading eighth error, however...Staub had two doubles to bring his season total to seven, second in the league at the moment. But he has yet to homer, and the Mets continue to swing limp bats--just three home runs through 18 games...The Mets have scored nine runs in Seaver's four starts. With an ERA below two, he is now 1-2 on the year...

QUOTABLE:

If people don't want to come to the ballpark, how are you going to stop them?--Yogi Berra, reacting to the Mets disappointing attendance for the series against Yokohama


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Lone bright spot for the Whales



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Pittsburgh @ Philadelphia (Replay, History Maker, and Strat)

Fun Fact: Again not so fun, but an important development nonetheless. In 1977 scientists were able to identify the bacteria that causes Legionnaire's Disease, which the previous summer had effected 180 people attending an American Legion convention in Philadelphia.

Unfortunately for Pirate manager Danny Murtaugh, no one has figured out what the heck is wrong with Dave Guisti, or his bullpen in general. The Pittsburgh palm-baller gave away another one in the series opener. The Phils and Bucs had battled to a 3-3 tie. The Pirates had gotten RBI singles from Roberto Clemente, Manny Sanguillen, and Jose Pagan (who was 3-4), while the Phillies had home runs from Bake McBride (leading off the game) and Mike Schmidt (with McBride aboard.) Guisti came into the game in eighth in relief of Steve Blass and immediately loaded the bases, but got a huge break when Schmidt hit a seed to Jackie Hernandez who doubled off an inattentive McBride. Able to wriggle out of trouble, Murtaugh stayed with Guisti, who loaded the bases again. This time, Larry Bowa bounced a game winning single through the drawn in infield and the Phillies and Ron Reed had the win, 4-3. And Howard Cosell went on and on about the gutty little shortstop...

The second game matched Dock Ellis, who can't seem to lose (3-0 coming in), against Larry Christenson, who can't seem to avoid getting hammered (0-3). Ellis was as sharp as ever, but Christenson was just as good through six. The Pirates pushed across a run in the fifth on a Vic Davilillo single, while Richie Hebner knotted the score with a single of his own in the seventh. Lead off walks victimized each pitcher. The balance of this game turned on each manager's willingness or lack thereof to stay with his starter. Murtaugh wanted nothing to do with his bullpen and Ellis was allowed to work through two separate jams (sixth and seventh inning). He responded to his manager's confidence by retiring the last seven batters he faced. Danny Ozark put his faith in Warren Brusstar and Tug McGraw. Brusstar has yet to allow an earned run this year, and blanked Pittsburgh for two innings. McGraw, however, continued his bizarre season long narrative by walking Bob Robertson, giving up a single to Sanguillen, and finally the game winner to Pagan, who lashed a fastball past Schmidt at third to plate his burly Pirate teammate for a 2-1 Pirate lead. Unlike other McGraw outings, he was not saved by a Phillie comeback and his record dropped to 4-1.

The final game of the three game set featured even more bullpen pyrotechnics. Randy Lerch and Bob Johnson, who had both been battered their last match-up, actually pitched decently, but both were sabotaged by shoddy relief support. Lerch exited with a 2-1 lead in the sixth, but Gene Garber gave up a 3-run homer to Rennie Stennett. Staked to a lead, Johnson left with the score 4-2 in the seventh. At this point a warry Murtaugh waved in lefty Bob Veale. Three batters later, two runs had crossed the plate and the game was tied at 4. Bob Miller entered in the eighth for the Pirates, but rusty from infrequent use, Miller was taken deep by Greg Luzinski, and the Phillies had wrested the series from Pittsburgh again. Ron Reed picked up his second victory in three days and third of the year--all against the Pirates, in the 5-4 Philadelphia win.

NOTES: The Phillies win creates another three-way tie for first in NL East...of the Phillies' ten wins, seven have been credited to relief pitchers (Reed 3-0, McGraw 4-1.) Reed has now worked 11 2/3 innings without allowing an earned run...Bake McBride continues to sizzle. He was 4-11 in the series and hit for the cycle in the three games...Dave Cash was 6-13 for the Pirates...a Base Hit Watch is now in effect for Gene Alley. Eighteen games and 25 ABs and the Pirate shortstop continues to await his first safe hit of the year. His counterpart Jackie Hernandez is just 5-34, so Alley will still likely get opportunities...

QUOTABLE: "We're pretty much going to live and die with the home run. That's our offense. The guys in the middle of the lineup are key." Larry Bowa to Howard Cosell during the post-game following his game winning hit.

Murtaugh losing confidence in his bullpen



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Tokyo @ Cincinnati (Statis-Pro/Dice and History Maker)

Fun Fact: On July 31, 1954, Joe Ad**** set a then major league record with 18 total bases in a game for the Milwaukee Braves. Ad**** hit four home runs and a double in five at-bats.

What do you get when you match the foremost offense in baseball against the worst pitching staff in the league? Well, if your the Cincinnati Reds you get a three game sweep, forty runs scored, and some epic performances. If your the Tokyo Giants, you wonder why there is no such thing as a mercy rule.

The details of a series like this get lost in the sheer weight of the Big Red Machine's dominance. Cincinnati defeated the Giants in the first game 20-5. Johnny Bench, in a mild slump since his outstanding beginning, hit not one, not two, but three three-run homers, and then added two additional singles for the unimaginable batting line of 6-5-5-10, with 14 total bases. By himself the Red catcher lapped the hapless Giants, but he was not alone. Pete Rose was 4-6 with two doubles; Joe Morgan had one official at bat--a single--but scored four runs; Cesar Geronimo was 3-6 with two doubles; and George Foster was 2-4 with a two-run homer. Sparky Anderson emptied his bench after the sixth inning and Gary Nolan picked up his fourth win despite not really pitching well (6 IP, 4 runs allowed.)

The next evening saw little relief for the team from the land of the rising sun, and in some ways was the most disheartening loss of the series. Clyde Wright pitched well enough for Tokyo to keep things relatively close, and after six the Giants trailed only 4-1. But the Reds erupted for two runs in both the seventh and eighth, and Jack Billingham completed a three hitter and the Reds walked away with an 8-1 win. Tony Perez, fresh off the DL smacked a two run homer, Bench added three runs scored and an RBI double, and Morgan went 2-4 with two runs scored.

The finale was more of the same. Shigero Kobayashi continues to look "unwell"--he lasted just 2 1/3 innings (after failing to retire a batter in his last start) and gave up seven runs with five walks and a single strikeout. The" low light" was back-to-back-to-back homers by Morgan, Foster, and Perez in the first inning to eliminate any dreams of a possible Yomiuiri victory. Tokyo brought back game one starter Hajime Kato only to see him pummeled for the second time in three days (series line; 3 IP, 12 ER.) The Reds ended this finale with a dozen runs, ten hits, the three homers, and a surprisingly solid start from minor-leaguer Tom Carroll (7 IP and 2 ERs) in an easy 12-3 victory.

NOTES: The Reds performance was not just decisive, it was downright scary when this fact is considered; none of the three games featured a full compliment of regular starters; Perez did not play in the opener, Ken Griffey and Foster sat out game two, and Dave Concepcion and Bench game three. And Sparky emptied his bench in the first and last games of the series...Cincinnati is now hitting .323 as a team, and averaging 7.3 runs a game. The only area the Reds had seemed lacking offensively was home runs, and they rectified that deficit by smacking eight in the series. Well there is this--they have just one triple (by Ken Griffey.) They have sixteen stolen bases in eighteen games, and have committed just ten errors...The brightest spot in a dim series for the Giants was Johnny Sipin, who hit two home runs and two doubles and looks like the likely Tokyo all-star rep. His more famous teammate, Sadaharu Oh did hit three doubles while going 4-9...

QUOTABLE:  “...the Big Red Machine was exactly that—a freaking machine.” 
Tucker ElliotCincinnati Reds IQ: The Ultimate Test of True Fandom

So good do they belong in another league?



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San Francisco at Los Angeles (Statis-Pro and Strat-O-Matic)

Fun Fact: Los Angeles and San Francisco are 381.9 miles apart. 

The Giants entered the season fairly confident in their offensive capabilities. They were in many ways a modern offense, seemingly more in line with a team from the nineties--lots of power, lots of walks, lots of strikeouts, with a little bit of high percentage speed thrown in for good measure. While they had not overwhelmed anyone in this "higher" league, it had been their three true outcome offense that had kept them competitive.

By complete contrast, the Dodger's had expected to depend on their pitching staff and their power and nothing yet had occurred to suggest a different narrative. We then return to the age-old question; which wins, great pitching or terrific offense?

If this match-up is any indication, the answer seems to be the latter. In the Monday night opener, the most solid contact the Giants made was when Willie Mays and Bobby Bonds collided on Ron Cey gap shot in the bottom of the sixth with the game tied at one. Bonds' head met May's shoulder and the Giant RF and early season MVP candidate was rendered briefly unconscious and clearly concussed. Cey, meanwhile, pinwheeled all the way to third with an RBI triple and all the additional runs the Dodger's would need. Nonetheless LA would add two more runs in the inning and behind a dominant Don Sutton performance, would win going away 4-1. San Francisco registered only two hits (one a solo homer by Chris Speier) and was whiffed eight times by the Dodger ace.

Game two was more of the same. Although Doug Rau lasted only 5 1/3 innings, for the second time on the season he was able to combine with the underrated LA bullpen (Mike Garman, Stan Wall, and Elias Sosa) for a shutout. San Francisco scratched out just six hits, while the Dodgers blew open a close game with late inning home runs by Rick Monday and Steve Garvey off of Jerry Johnson for a deceivingly hard fought 6-0 win.

The Giant offense finally awoke in game three against Dodger lefty Tommy John, in back and forth affair that lasted ten innings. San Francisco jumped on John for a 3-0 lead after two-and-a-half-innings. A suddenly hot Speier ripped a two run double in the first, and Al Gallagher singled home Dave Kingman in the third. The Dodgers gradually clawed back though; Bill Russell singled home John in the bottom of the third, Monday's fly ball scored Garvey in the fourth, and Reggie Smith's home run tied it in the fifth. With a chance to gain control of the game and remain tied with Cincinnati, TJ served up up a shocking two run double to Marichal, giving San Francisco back a two run lead, 5-3.

But the Dodgers failed to capitulate. Two singles and a Smith ground out in the seventh got them within a run, and a homer from long time Giant-killer Cey off of Marichal tied the game back up at five in the eighth. In the tenth, Garman set the first two Giants down quietly with grounders, and he appeared to have the third as well. Pinch hitter Willie McCovey's sharp two hopper was too hot for Garman to handle though, and the Dodger reliever compounded the problem by chucking the throw to first down the RF baseline. McCovey ambled to second and Charlie Fox sent in Frank Duffy for his first appearance of the season as a pinch runner. Ken Henderson drove Duffy home with the game winner on the next pitch, slapping a sinker to left field to give the Giants a 6-5 lead that Johnson made stand up with a scoreless tenth. 

NOTES: After a dreadful slump to start the year, Speier went 6-12 with homer, double, and three RBIs...The Dodgers added six homers to their league leading total and have now swatted an impressive 30 bombs in eighteen games...even Russell got into the act, hitting his first, as well as driving in his fourth game winning RBI of the season...Marichal, who threw nine innings in his start, has now worked a league high 43 1/3 innings on the year...

QUOTABLE: "Love the Dodgers, But Hate the Giants." --sign hung in the Dodger's clubhouse by Manager Tommy Lasorda

Two hit win for the "Little D"



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