The Universal Baseball Association, Inc., Michael G. Kovacevich, Prop.
Michael G. Kovacevich has figured out a way to play an entire baseball season without a rainout, assuming he avoids spilling a diet pop on his infield. The 58-year-old historian and extreme baseball fan is near completion of the 2008 Major League Baseball season, playing every game for all 30 teams with a tabletop game called APBA. That adds up to more than 2,400 games, which take about 20 minutes each.
Obviously the existence of APBA or other tabletop baseball games is not news, but it’s neat to see them getting some play in a normal paper like the Akron Beacon-Journal. For what it’s worth, Kovacevich has spent a couple of years on this. And he’s made a tweak or two that makes me happy:
”You’ll notice there’s only two divisions,” he said. ”Everything’s the same as real except two divisions [in each league] and not three, and no interleague play, because I don’t like either of those. I’m kind of a traditionalist.”
Also nice: his simulations have the real world World Series champion Phillies at 79-83.
(thanks to Vince Grzegorek for the heads up. And the first sentence in the post is a reference to this book, which Old Gator sent me last year and which — if you’re into baseball sims — you should totally read)
Terrible, terrible news: Christian Moreno of ESPN reports that Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura has been killed in an automobile accident in the Dominican Republic. His death has been confirmed by police. He was only 25 years-old. There are as of yet no details about the accident.
Ventura was a four-year veteran, having debuted in 2013 but truly bursting onto the scene for the Royals in 2014. That year he went 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA in 183 innings, ascending to the national stage along with the entire Royals team with some key performances in that year’s ALDS and World Series. The following year Ventura won 13 games for the World Champion Royals and again appeared in the playoffs and World Series.
Ventura was often in the middle of controversy — he found himself in several controversies arising out of his habit of hitting and brushing back hitters — but he was an undeniably electric young talent who was poised to anchor the Royals rotation for years to come. His loss, like that of Jose Fernandez just this past September, is incalculable to both his team, his fans and to Major League Baseball as a whole.
Our thoughts go out to his family, his friends, his teammates and his fans.
Free agent right-hander Tim Lincecum isn’t ready to hang up his cleats just yet. At least, that’s the word from Lincecum’s agent, Rick Thurman, who says the 32-year-old is still “throwing and getting ready for the season” (via Andrew Baggarly of the San Jose Mercury News).
Lincecum may not be ready to enter retirement, but another quote from Thurman suggests that he’ll be picky about where he pitches next. He doesn’t appear open to pitching overseas, and despite not having a contract for 2017 (or even any serious suitors), the right-hander is set on pitching in the big leagues this year. Whether or not he’s willing to take a bullpen role to do so remains to be seen.
While Baggarly predicts some interest in the veteran righty, there’s not much in Lincecum’s recent history to inspire faith in him as a starter, or even a reliever. He picked up a one-year, $2.5 million contract with the Angels following his hip surgery in 2015, and went 2-6 in 2016 with a 9.16 ERA, 5.4 BB/9 and 7.5 SO/9 over 38 1/3 innings. At this point, a minor league contract seems like the surest path back to major league success, though he’s unlikely to find an open spot on the Giants’ or Angels’ rosters anytime soon.