Category Archives: Inside SP78

A Dilemma in Detroit

As many of you know, I stopped following major league baseball in 1994, when the players went on strike mid-season and basically killed my enthusiasm for the sport. Luckily I had my Statis Pro season, video and audio tapes of old games, and the minor league Lake Elsinore Storm to quench my thirst, but I would never again be a fan of baseball—current baseball—after that season.

Of course, someone had to pay the price for this indiscretion, and when I saw a newspaper photo during the strike of Lou Whitaker emerging from a limousine, smartly dressed with several gold chains hanging from his neck as he headed for a players meeting, he became that someone, and I immediately suspended him for the remainder of my SP78 season. Fair or not, he became my scapegoat, and since that day he’s missed 62 games of the Tigers season, and with Detroit in a tightly-contested AL East pennant race, he’ll not only miss the remainder of the regular season, but possibly some post-season games as well.

It’s now been twenty-five years since the players went on strike and—along with the owners—ended the ’94 season; obviously it’s also been that long since Whitaker last played an SP78 game (his final appearance was on June 10, 1978). Until he was suspended, Whitaker was batting .303, with six errors in 48 games played. During his absence, utility infielders Mark Wagner and Steve Dillard have platooned at second, batting a combined .276 with only five errors over 62 games; for the month of August, however, they’re both hitting under .200, and have turned just 33 double plays with shortstop Alan Trammell since June, compared to the 31 that had been turned by Whitaker and Trammell before the suspension, in a fewer number of games.


I’ve been asking myself this question for the past several years now, and figured it was time to ask my legion of SP78 followers as well: what should I do with the conundrum that is Lou Whitaker? Should he finally be returned to Detroit’s active roster, and be allowed to play again after having paid his dues for the past twenty-five years? Or should I honor my commitment and continue punishing him, as well as the Tigers, for what baseball did to me a quarter century ago? Is it fair to Wagner and Dillard to suddenly oust them from their starting roles, after they’d worked so hard to fill the void left by their teammate, and throw Whitaker back into a starting mix? And though it may be too late for him to do so, should I give Whitaker a chance to earn the Rookie of the Year award for the SP78 season that he’d actually won for the American League in 1978?

Click your preference of these possibilities in the polling box below, and help me decide how to handle Sweet Lou’s situation. I can’t say the final results will outright determine his fate, but they will help to steer me in one direction or another. The poll will close in one month, on October 9th; feel free to discuss your decision in the comment area below. And as always, thanks for taking part!

 

The New Scoresheets Are Here!

I’ve had some free time open up recently that pulls me away from my current behind-the-scenes SP78 work, so I’ve taken the opportunity to begin adding to the collection of game scoresheets found in the Classic Scoresheets section of the SP78 Museum header on the main page. Here you’ll find some of the more interesting, more memorable, and overall favorite scoresheets from my season; a short description of the game can be found under each thumbnail image, and if you click on the image, you’ll get a larger view, plus a brief history of the game and/or scoresheet underneath.

I last updated the page with a scoresheet from the game played during the trip my friend Steve P and I took to see the 1987 All-Star Game in Oakland, though I never did type up a history for it. That history has now been added; six additional scoresheets and their histories have also been added, with more to come over the next several days. And though I solved the earlier problem of a blank gap between the thumbnail images, it has now happened again, so I’ll be working on that little irritant as well.

Eventually, I hope to have over fifty scoresheets available to view on the site, with a few more sprinkled among the existing sheets when I get them scanned and finalized. Keep an eye on the Recent Site Updates column on the bottom-right side of the main page to keep track of my progress.

Interesting SP78 Ejection Factoids

In an e-mail I’d sent to my friend Steve P a few weeks back, I told him about a recent Statis Pro game I’d played, between the Pirates and Astros, where Bucs slugger Willie Stargell had been hit by a pitch thrown by Houston starter Vern Ruhle, after Stargell had homered two innings earlier. I was ready to have Stargell rush the mound in response, and prepared to eject both batter and pitcher from the game, but then I wondered: had Stargell ever been tossed in his career? I looked it up and found out that no, he hadn’t. So I sent him to first, and I ejected Ruhle instead, and that was that.

I’d also discovered that Robin Yount, another SP78er, had never been ejected, and he ranked #4 on the list—behind Stan Musial, Willie Mays, and Brooks Robinson—of non-expelled players who’d played more than 1,500 games in their careers. Steve responded to my e-mail a short while later, and he included a list that he’d compiled while researching my site, titled Interesting SP78 Ejection Factoids. I thought it would make for a fun and informative post, so here it is (all numbers are current through August 18th). Continue reading

SP78’s New Avatar

As some of you may have noticed, I changed my SP78 avatar photo about a week ago, replacing a rather smug looking photo of myself with one of actor Robert Redford from the movie The Natural. I decided to make the change a few years back, but wanted to wait until the 5th Anniversary of my movie blog site, Cinema Monolith, before putting it into use.

This change was made because, thanks to WordPress, if I replace one site’s avatar, it replaces the other one as well. Thus, my plan to change my movie site’s avatar to one of Clint Eastwood from Dirty Harry didn’t quite mesh with my baseball site (nor did one I considered from a personal cult movie favorite of mine, Curse of Bigfoot). So, I came up with an idea for an avatar that equally portrayed both site’s themes, which of course was a photo from a baseball movie.

So there you have it: my new avatar, a photo of a happy Roy Hobbs putting on his Knights baseball cap. And in case you’re wondering, no, I never once considered using a screenshot from Here Come the Tigers instead.