Saturday, April 05, 2008

Good Morning Baltimore!

I'm going to run most of the qualification leagues with all computer managers, which'll speed things up. But for two of the leagues I'm interested enough to actually manage one team for myself: the Red Sox and the Orioles. Since the local boys aren't going to threaten this year, it seems safe enough to do them first (I'd just as soon hold off on Boston since there's the chance the 2008 team will be the "best-ever" team, though i dearly hope they're not).

I've got 14 teams lined up for the Orioles League, split into two divisions: 6 in the pre-DH division, 8 in the DH division. As with the other QLs, there are basically three types of teams: pennant winners/playoff teams, close misses, and good teams that may or may not have come _that_ close but represent an otherwise absent era. The Orioles were excellent for most of the 70s and early 80s, with a brief late 90s renaissance. In addition, there are 4 teams included from the 1960s-- the 1969 team (famous for losing to the Mets), the 1966 World Series winners, and two near-miss teams, 1960 and 1964. I left out the 1996 wild-card winners since they clearly don't match up and (perhaps more to the point), it'd be a _lot_ more work to include them than other teams since I'd have to enter all their players in by hand.

I haven't totally decided, but I'm leaning toward managing either the 1966 or 1979 teams.

In other QL news, at about the 1/3 mark, the 1985 Royals hold a slim lead over the 1980 team, with 1978 and 1977 close behind. The 1985 Royals are the current Cloverland League representative.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Season Zero

While I've played a few seasons now with Baseball for Windows (ironically using Virtual PC on my Apple), the very first season was with a Strat-O-Matic card set. I've been thinking of it as Season Zero.

I started it not long after the 1981 baseball strike, when I bought my Strat-O-Matic set. The setup seemed reasonable to me, 11-year-old that I was when I started: use the original 16 teams and play out a season. Unfortunately, given the limitations of the available card sets (and my losing track), I ended up with the Milwaukee Braves instead of the Boston Braves. I also had to settle for the 1940 Reds and the 1950 Phillies instead of the Big Red Machine or the 1980 Philadelphia World Series winners...

I set up an 84-game schedule, and I kept stats by hand. It took years, but luckily I didn't have much of a life (I was, after all, 11-14). I also didn't necessarily follow all the rules: I was too lazy to reshuffle the 40-card deck after every draw, which I'd do for a truly random number. So that got a bit biased. I also didn't necessarily use the "right" lineups, and I'd often turn a good part-time hitter into a full-timer (Fred McNeely, '24 Nationals-- I'm looking at you). But eventually I got through it all.

The '27 Yankees ran away with the American League, leaving the '31 A's in the dust. The '53 Brooklyn Dodgers tussled with those underdog Reds and Phils all season, finally pulling it out by one game over Cincinnati and two over Philadelphia. The Yanks defeated Brooklyn in six games. Lou Gehrig was the MVP for the AL. I don't remember the NL winner, Rip Collins of the '34 Cardinals, perhaps?

These teams and this setup provided the basis for Season 1, though with the software I was able to substitute in a Boston Braves team and also get the Big Red Machine and... well, whatever you'd call the 1980 Phillies.