A world in which the 2008 Phillies went 79-83

58 Comments

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)

Nationals owner Mark Lerner had his left leg amputated

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Mark Lerner, son of Ted Lerner and a co-owner of the Washington Nationals, had his left leg amputated earlier this month. He was diagnosed earlier this year for a rare form of cancer that a attacks connective tissue and treatment had been ineffective, so doctors removed the limb.

The news was revealed in the form of a letter Lerner wrote to Washington Post columnist Barry Svrluga, who had inquired about Lerner’s uncharacteristic absence from the ballpark of late. Lerner:

“With my doctors and medical team, we decided that amputation of that leg was my best choice to maintain the active and busy lifestyle that I have always enjoyed. The limb was removed in early August and I’m healing well, cancer-free, and looking forward to my eventual new prosthetic.”

Lerner, 63, has been known to dress up in a Nats uniform and shag fly balls with the team during batting practice. Here’s hoping for a speedy recovery and, if his prosthetic allows, some more BP shagging at some point in the future.

New Marlins owners are going to dump David Samson, keep the home run sculpture

Getty Images
5 Comments

The Miami Herald reports that the future Miami Marlins owners, Bruce Sherman and Derek Jeter, have informed Major League Baseball that they do not intend to retain current team president David Samson. Derek Jeter will replace him as the person in charge of baseball and business operations.

Samson has been a polarizing figure in Miami and has been seen as Jeff Loria’s front-facing presence in many ways. He led the effort for the team to get its new stadium, which led to political scandal and outrage in Miami (not that he didn’t get his stadium). In 2014, he appeared on “Survivor.” He did not survive.

What will survive, however, is the famous home run sculpture in the outfield at Marlins Park. You’ll recall some reports earlier this week that Sherman and Jeter were thinking about removing it. If so, they’ll have a lot of hurdles to jump, because yesterday the Miami-Dade County government reminded them that it was paid for by its Art in Public Places program, it is thus owned by the county and that it cannot be moved without prior approval from the county.

I know a lot of people hate that thing, but it has grown on me over the years. Not for its own aesthetic sake as much for its uniqueness and whimsy, which are two things that are in extraordinarily short supply across the Major League Baseball landscape. Like a lot of new and different bits of art and architecture over the course of history, I suspect its initial loathing will increasingly come to be replaced by respect and even pride. Especially if the Marlins ever make another World Series run, in which case everything associated with the club will be elevated in the eyes of fans.

On this score, Sherman and Jeter will thank Miami-Dade for saving themselves from themselves one day.