A world in which the 2008 Phillies went 79-83

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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)

Royals sign Michael Saunders to a minor-league deal

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Free agent outfielder Michael Saunders has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Royals, the team announced Friday. While the move comes just two days after Saunders agreed to terms with the Pirates, he allegedly asked for his release after the club acquired outfielder Corey Dickerson in a multi-player swap with the Rays on Thursday. MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan adds that Saunders will make $1.5 million upon reaching the majors, with a potential $500,000 in bonuses.

After earning his first spot on an All-Star team in 2016, Saunders followed up a solid campaign with a career-worst performance in 2017. The 31-year-old split the season between the Phillies and Blue Jays’ camps, batting a combined .202/.256/.344 with six home runs and -0.7 fWAR in 234 plate appearances. Although he remained healthy throughout the year, with no sign of the lingering hamstring strain that has plagued him on and off since 2013, he wasn’t productive enough to merit a full-time role on either roster.

With Dickerson slated for a starting role in Pittsburgh, it was unlikely that Saunders would have commanded anything other than a backup role in 2018. Now, however, he’ll compete for playing time amid a slew of outfield options, including Alex Gordon, Cody Asche, Jorge Bonifacio, Tyler Collins and Paulo Orlando.