Category Archives: The Wacky World of Statis Pro

Carbonic Spray: The Sad Case of Ken Holtzman

CHI-N - Ken Holtzman poseFor pitcher Ken Holtzman, it’s a moment from his past he’s not likely to forget: standing in the Cubs’ bullpen between innings, staring up at the scoreboard looming high over the center field seats, and suddenly feeling a misty coolness settle softly on his face, neck, and arms. Above him, leaning over a railing surrounding the bleacher section, was a fan holding a large cup of soda, its bubbly carbonation splattering down onto Holtzman like a drizzly, sticky rain. And before he could do anything about it—before he knew it was even happening, actually—Holtzman had become permanently marked, like a man whose adult case of chicken pox had left his body riddled with scars.

sp78-carbonic-drink-80And so it was with my pristine Statis Pro player card of Holtzman, who during an SP78 match-up that was played sometime in the early-1990s, had been situated a little too close to the rocks glass of cola I’d been drinking during the game, and whose white cardstock had thus become stained with dozens upon dozens of tiny caramel-colored pinprick dots. And like so many other player cards damaged during my season—from creases to rubber band marks to potato chip stains—his was now stricken with this unique blemish for the remainder of his career, a constant and ugly reminder that taking part in a baseball board game is not always as safe as it looks.

Since that fateful day, whenever I’d play a game and would have a glass of Pepsi or Coke Classic with me at the desk or table, I would always make sure to place it at a reasonably safe distance from the board and cards. Thankfully, after 2008, when I stopped drinking soda altogether, the game and its players were never again in danger of accidental carbonation damage. Of course, that’s of little consolation to our tainted friend Mr. Holtzman:

ken-holtzman-spray-1-45-60-fix

 

5,048 Days

Recently, while spending another evening working on June stats, I began to wonder which of my many game sites had been around the longest…the length of time from its first SP78 game to its last. My initial guess was AZ8, my apartment in Peoria, Arizona that saw a record-setting 218 games played over a 10-year period between 2003 and 2014. I decided to check on-line for an answer, and found a website that allowed me to punch in start and end dates to calculate a time frame in years, months, and days; after tabulating results for all 93 sites, I was surprised to find that AZ8 ranked only third, with a mere 3,739 days under its belt.

Though having hosted a grand total of just 24 games, my Mom’s former apartment in Mesa, Arizona, stood at #2, having served as an SP78 game-playing spot during my several short vacation trips there between 1991 and 2002, and having survived as an SP78 game location a mere six months longer than AZ8. What then was the longest-tenured site? Which building hosted 36 games over the course of an astounding 5,048 days—a distant three years longer than the other two front-running sites—and currently claims the #1 spot? Any guesses?

I’ll offer a few clues: the site was located in California, it was my temporary home for two months after I’d moved back to the area from another city, and was host to the longest 9-inning SP78 game ever played, which took just over two hours to complete. Here’s another hint: the photo below was taken during the final game ever played there, a 5-3 Dodgers win over the Braves:

Game #1058

Anyone figure it out without consulting the Game Sites page? The answer is ESC5, my friend Steve P’s townhome condo in Escondido, California, which served as a Statis Pro destination between June of 1988 and April of 2002, a whopping thirteen years, nine months, and twenty-seven days. The site was host to many memorable SP78 contests during that time, including a 17-inning affair between the Astros and Mets co-managed by Steve and my brother Scott, the infamous Sixto Lezcano Game, and the big 20th Anniversary Game, also co-managed by Steve and Scott.

And for the record, only three other sites have ever hosted games for more than a thousand days: my friend Julie’s RB11 condo (2,056), my ESC11 guesthouse studio (1,910), and the RB3 house where my friend Reid lived (1,514), the latter of which saw just two games hosted over a four-year span in the early-1980s.

They Bat Pitchers, Don’t They?

If you’ve had the chance to check out those league leader lists I posted yesterday, did you wonder, like me, how the Cubs as a team hit .295? Or why those other Top 5 teams were doing so well at whacking the horsehide? Well, how about this: maybe it’s because I forgot to include pitcher batting numbers along with the position player statistics!

I woke up this morning and began work on the Orioles’ stats for the American League leaders, and marveled at the fact that I didn’t have to worry about AL pitcher stats for batting; I realized then that I hadn’t bothered to worry about NL pitcher stats for batting, either. So I went through the stat pages for all twelve NL teams and re-calculated those team leader numbers, and just now made the corrections on the leader boards on the site. Continue reading

SP78 Security Cat Guards NL Player Cards

Rinrin, SP78 Security Cat
Recently, while I was staying with my brother Scott and his girlfriend Zana at their apartment in Carlsbad, California, I was working on updating some National League stats to prepare for the start of August, and had some player cards out on the couch for reference. Zana’s wonderful cat Rinrin came into the room for a visit, and fell asleep next to me while using the plastic card case as a pillow. Yes, her eyes were closed, and she appeared to be napping comfortably, but I knew she was on the alert, and the cards remained safe and secure the entire time I worked on my computer.

Cat on Board

Mango on the SP78 Game Board - 8-22-13 final

First rats, and now cats? Again, there’s no reason to panic: it’s just Mango, my wonderful and goofy calico cat, traipsing across the game board as if she owned it, knocking Fast-Action cards and player pawns around like it was nobody’s business.

In the years since Julie and I first brought her home from the humane society, there were many times where Mango would jump up onto the table where an SP78 game was set up or in-progress, and either delicately walk across the playing field because she felt the need to, or knock the pawns around as if they were little plastic mice. Then, just as quickly, she’d hop back down and be on her way, her mission of disrupting the game for a few moments complete.

I could never figure out whether she did this for attention or just to be a part of whatever it was I was doing, but the photo above, taken the morning of August 22, 2013 while I was setting up for the SP78 website one-year anniversary game, would be the last time she’d scamper across a Statis Pro field. Sadly, a combination of her 17 years of age, chronic kidney disease, and probable brain cancer made it necessary for her to be put to sleep this past Thursday, and to say that I miss her terribly already would be a supreme understatement. Whenever I’d sit down to play, she’d be asleep at my feet waiting for me to finish, and the thought of playing games now without her there is a very sad one indeed.

However, I have plenty of great memories and thoughts to remember her by, and a good supply of photographs to enjoy whenever I need them…including one that you’ll see pop up every now and then as this site’s header photo. Thanks for a fun 17 years, Mango!

Mango on Her 17th Birthday - 4-25-13 final fix