August 2, 2014

In the second SP78 game ever played at AZ14 in Gilbert, Arizona, the Phillies ran roughshod over the hapless Mets, scoring 18 times off five New York pitchers in an 18-1 rout at Veterans Stadium in Philadelphia. Phillies starter Jim Lonborg (4-6) pitched a complete game 6-hitter, Garry Maddox went 5-for-7 with three runs scored, and Richie Hebner tied an SP78 mark by slugging three home runs in his first three at-bats, good for seven RBI. NY veteran Jerry Koosman allowed seven runs in two innings to take the loss, and became SP78’s first 16-game loser. Another record of sorts was tied in the game, as I listened to Linda Ronstadt’s ‘Living in the USA’ LP twice during the course of the slugfest.  (Game #1387,  8/1/78)

Major League Baseball

Kingman: “It Was Just Sitting There”

For slugging Cubs outfielder Dave Kingman, his bloop single to left field to lead off the fourth inning—in the latter half of a twinbill versus the Expos at Wrigley Field on August 6th—was just like any other base hit he’d collected this season. The Expos thought so, too; when Kingman reached first, and the ball was returned to pitcher Rudy May, nobody seemed to pay Kingman any attention, including Cubs first base coach Jack Bloomfield.

CHI-N - Dave Kingman with bat crop“I looked around the infield, and both Dave (second baseman Cash) and Peps (shortstop Pepe Frias) had their backs to me,” Kingman said after Chicago’s 8-4 win in Game 2, which gave the Cubs a split of their doubleheader against division-rival Montreal. “Jack was busy yelling to Manny (Trillo, at the plate), and when I glanced over at the second base bag, it was just sitting there. So, I took off.”

And took off he did, to the delight of the 39,234 Chicago faithful, who watched as the 6′ 6″, 210-pound Kingman broke for second and galloped down the path like a pinstriped ostrich, arriving at the bag standing up as the Expos infielders looked around in bewilderment. It was Sky King’s first stolen base of the season, and his first since he swiped two with the Padres last year, the second of four teams he played for in 1977.

Kingman would eventually score on catcher Larry Cox’s 4th home run of the year, and the two tallies—plus a 5-run Cubs fifth—would help make a winner of Dave Roberts (7-4), who struck out eight over six innings of work. Kingman finished the afternoon with two more singles, boosting his average to a so-so .247, but more importantly, his 28 home runs are second in the NL behind LA’s Reggie Smith, who has 40.

“I may be a ‘D’ runner,” added Kingman, “but even ‘D’ runners have legs.”

TWISP Notes #63

May 20, 2015

• The first game at site AZ15 in Peoria, Arizona was played on March 1, 2015 between the Mets and Cardinals at Busch Memorial Stadium, an NL East match-up won by the Cards 8-7 in 15 innings. The new 1-bedroom apartment site is located in the same complex as AZ8, the all-time games hosted leader.

• With the August 5th slate of games wrapped up, AZ15 has now hosted a total of 15 games, tying it with RB8 for 21st on the all-time SP78 games hosted list. Five more games played there will bump it past CA14—my brother Scott’s former Carlsbad apartment—into the 20th spot on the list.

• Pirates backstop Ed Ott was ejected from a game for the third time this season when he argued with home plate umpire Dutch Rennert over balls and strikes calls during the first game of a doubleheader between the Bucs and Phillies at Three Rivers Stadium on August 5th. Catchers Gene Tenace of the Padres and Bob Boone of the Phillies still lead the majors in expulsions, with four apiece.

• While researching an entry for a recent This Day in SP78 History, it was discovered that the final score of a Reds-Mets game from June was incorrectly recorded, on both the SP78 site and the original scoresheet! No team or player statistics were affected, however, and the error was corrected without further incident.

• Third baseman Darrell Evans and catcher Marc Hill of the Giants were injured when they collided chasing a pop foul off the bat of Bill Russell during their game against the Dodgers on August 5th. Evans will be out for six games, while Hill was placed on the 15-day disabled list the following day. Pitcher Phil Nastu of the AAA Phoenix Giants was called up to fill Hill’s roster spot; he’ll make his major league debut on August 6th at Candlestick Park when he gets the starting nod versus LA.

• Joe Wallis of the A’s and Roy Smalley of the Twins each connected for a pair of home runs in their respective AL games on August 5th. Smalley’s latter blast was a grand slam, the second of his career and his first as a Twin.

• With individual and team statistics for May almost completed (determining league leaders is the only task remaining), work will begin soon on re-compiling June stats, which will require a complete run-through of every June scoresheet, from game numbers 644 to  1012…a total of 368 games, and about six months of work, if the time frame for May tabulations is any indication. Creating empty stat tables for June is currently in progress, and work should begin on compiling these stats this week.

• About a month from now, SP78 enthusiast Steve P and I will begin our two-week vacation to the northeast corner of the US, where we’ll see eight minor league baseball games in eight different ballparks in a span of eight days. The trip will also include a two-day stop at Cooperstown to visit the Hall of Fame, as well as an overnight stay in Hartford, Connecticut to kick off the tour. Most importantly, the trip will feature eleven games of Statis Pro played, one per day at eleven different sites; most will take place in the hotels where we’ll be staying, but hopefully a few will also be played at university libraries, one somewhere on the grounds of the Hall of Fame, and if possible, one in a luxury suite at Arm & Hammer Park in Trenton, New Jersey. The eleven contests will set a record for most consecutive days of games played, and will introduce SP78 to eight states that have never before hosted a game.

• Orioles ace Scott McGregor became the third pitcher this season to reach the 17-win mark, joining Jon Matlack (17-3) and Mike Caldwell (17-4) when he bested the Yankees 5-1 at Yankee Stadium on August 5th. After falling behind by a 1-0 score after two innings, McGregor retired the next 22 out of 23 Yankee batters over the next seven innings to improve to 17-4.

To Box or Not To Box

I spent most of this past Sunday working on a boxscore template to use on the SP78 site, taken from a boxscore generator I’d found on-line the day before. The design of the boxscore had a nice look to it, but thankfully it also had HTML code that I could tamper with, which I took full advantage of to create an overall better-looking product. The adjustments I made were minor (center-justifying some words and titles, adding a date and stadium to the linescore, etc), but in the end they helped give the boxscore a more polished, baseball-savvy appearance.

The game I chose was one I’d already typed up a boxscore for years ago, and therefore was easier to plop into the generator: the SP78 All-Star Game, which in hindsight was probably a bad choice, since it was one of the more stat-deficient games I’ve ever played. Click here to see how it looks on a site page.

Right now this is just a test run, and I still have some modifications to experiment with, so don’t look for hundreds—or even a handful—of these babies to suddenly appear on the site (I calculated that if I created one boxscore a day for every game I’ve played so far, I’d be finished in four years). Trust me, this is strictly in the planning stage; I’m also working on my own template, which won’t be as colorful as the generated one but may be more true to a boxscore you’d find in a 1978 issue of The Sporting News.

In the end, I may just use the linescore portion of the template, and add that to the bottom of each game’s recap, which would be far less time-consuming. Or, I may just scrap the whole plan, create just a few more boxscores to add to the site for the fun of it, and concentrate on getting the thousand other more important aspects of the site taken care of first. Let me know what you think of it all in the comments below.

All-Star Game - alternate