I play APBA Baseball.
I play the game for a handful of reasons.
I grew up a baseball fan. The Cubs have always been my team.
Each year of my life included a summer filled with Cubs games on the radio and my family gathered around the television to catch a glimpse of the team. I learned baseball from listening to it, watching it, hearing my parents talk about it, hearing my grandparents talk about it. I learned baseball the same way I learned to speak and learned my favorite foods.
I carried this with me as grew through grade school, middle school, high school and college. Cable television was a boon for all sports when the service grew large enough most everyone had access. Baseball games were soon broadcast a handful of nights a week and entire highlight shows were dedicated to the seasons.
My wife and I married eleven years ago and I introduced her to the Cubs and to baseball, in that order. She began to pull for the Cubs and we would stream their games for the first month of the season for a few years.
Slowly, the presentation of the game began to change and I noticed the game itself was also going though a change. I began to fall out of love with the game - not out of love with baseball - out of love with the way baseball was being covered by the sports media and ultimately how the game of baseball was being played.
I still loved baseball - I loved baseball for what I believed baseball to be.
I began playing tabletop sports games in my early forties and began searching for a baseball game I could play regularly - I understand now why I began the search.
I play APBA Baseball because I can play the game with the rules, strategies and tactics I think baseball should be played with. I can also enjoy what I think are the important moments, statistics, performances of the game and not be forced to watch strange pitcher management and every inconsequential home run and strikeout that fill the highlight packages.
I got a hold of the 1984 APBA Baseball Season Set.
I can relieve a bit what it was like for me at age 17 rooting for what was then the best Cubs team in my lifetime. Cheering for a winning team was something welcome and completely different for everyone in my family who had made listened and watched Cubs games for years. The players of that season and those years burned into my memory because they were the players and teams the Cubs needed to get past to get into the playoffs and maybe even into the World Series.
My family had cable television installed in the early Eighties. WTBS supplied us the ability to watch the Atlanta Braves almost every night. I learned the players of those seasons because they were battling the Braves every week and I could see them almost face-to-face. Watching these games as much as we did further impressed the teams and players into my mind.
I play APBA Baseball to watch players who were very important to me again play games this time on my tabletop.
I got a hold of the 1948 APBA Baseball Season Set.
A year ago I wanted a season set of players some of whom I knew about but most of whom I did not know about. I researched different eras, looked up some statistics and settled on the 1948 season. This set of teams serves as almost a fictional season set to me: I am only familiar with a handful of players. I think I know which teams are the good teams. The result of my play with the set is that each game surprises with starting pitchers, lineups and outcomes.
In the 1948 season set I experience the great history of baseball with its great players and teams and can also experience newness and freshness of unexpected, uninformed and surprising results.
I play APBA Baseball to experience baseball’s grand history and the wonder of the sport’s freshness.
I can enjoy each game as its own game and the story and drama it produces.
Sports fans and non-sports fans today complain baseball games are too boring, too slow and the baseball season is too boring, too slow and too long. For me, those opinions come from an incorrect and shallow understanding of baseball. To me, a baseball game is a near perfect contest played in near perfect conditions under a a fine rule set by very talented athletes who make the high-skilled gameplay appear simple.
The contest of pitcher vs. batter on each pitch is missed today. The strategy of base running is lost today. Each pitch is a contest, each at-bat is a contest, each inning is a contest and each game frames each of these unique battles until the outcome is determined and a team wins the game.
Wins and Losses are the focus today and the individual games are secondary.
I play APBA Baseball so I can enjoy the beauty of a game of baseball.
This article was inspired by a post on the Delphi Forums “APBA-Between the Lines” forum that asked the question: “Replays - Why Do We Do It?”
My 1984 Chicago Cubs season replay
My 1948 modified season replay
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