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)

The Marlins made an empty threat. Giancarlo Stanton made an empty promise.

Associated Press
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I covered the main press conference about Giancarlo Stanton earlier, but afterward he and his agents fanned out to various TV shows, radio shows and reporter scrums from which some new, fun things have spun out. Part of what they’ve talked about is silly and meaningless, part of it just meaningless.

Here’s the silly and meaningless, from a Marlins official, apparently, trying to bully Stanton into accepting either the Giants or the Cardinals trades despite the fact that he told them beforehand that he was not willing to go to either of those teams:

This is silly because it comes off like a threat. Like the worst possible thing that can happen to a guy is to stay with the very team that is making the threat. It’s like telling your wife that if she does not leave you, she’s stuck with you forever.

It’s meaningless too, in that Stanton has an opt-out clause after 2020. If the Marlins could not make a trade Stanton would approve, he’d simply collect close to $90 million and then leave at age 30. Oooh, don’t throw me into that briar patch, Mr. Jeter!

Not that Stanton’s people are offering statements of serious gravitas. His agent was asked about Stanton’s opt-out rights, which he retains even though he’s now with the Yankees:

That may very well be true! He just got here and everything is going great so far. It’s totally empty, of course, because anything can happen between now and the fall of 2020. If the big time free agents of the next two years sign for the sort of money that makes Stanton look underpaid, he’ll certainly opt-out, even if he wants to stay with the Yankees. Ask Alex Rodriguez and CC Sabathia how that works. The opt-out clause is pure, unadulterated leverage for a player and unless he totally craters over the next three seasons he’ll most certainly use it, regardless of present desires.

Which, hey, that’s how things work when a big trade or free agent signing happens. Everyone who has lost looks bad and everyone who won sounds happy. Then, later, the baseball happens.