Saturday, January 10, 2015

American League - Quarter Finals

BALTIMORE, MD - The 1976 A's may be the best 9 seed in any of the four tournaments.  Any team that can throw Vida Blue (A-YZ) and Mike Torrez (A-Z) out in the first two games of a best of three series is going to be hard to beat.  But the top A.L. Seed, 1979 Baltimore Orioles, didn't seem to mind.  In Game 1, after falling behind 5-0, they scratched out 2 runs in the bottom of the 4th.  Ken Singleton's three run blast in the 5th tied the Game.  The O's tacked on 3 more and take game 1, 8-6.

OAKLAND, CA - Mike Torrez pulled the A's even at home, going 8 innings and allowing only 2 runs.  Rollie Fingers picks up the save with a perfect 9th.  The only Baltimore offense was a 2 run blast by Murray in the 7th, while Oakland spread the wealth with 4 different players picking up their 4 RBIs.

BALTIMORE, MD - The teams traveled back from East Bay to the Chesapeake Bay for the finale. Stan Bahnsen (Oakland) and Steve Stone (Baltimore), both C's, took the mound.  Al Bumbry's solo homer in the 1st put Baltimore on top first.  But Gene Tenace answered with a 2 run shot in the 2nd that put the A's on top to stay.  The teams swapped 2 runs each in the 9th, as Oakland eliminates the tournaments top team and advances into the semi-finals.

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The tournament director continued his attempts at extending the APBA fanbase into the super hero relm.  Remembering how much Superman loved the game and the success he had enjoyed with country music legend Dolly Parton, Carter attempted to contact the most logical combination of the two: Wonder Woman herself, a/k/a Lynda Carter.

JIMMY:  Cousin Lynda?  This is cousin Jimma?

LYNDA: This is who?

JIMMY: Cousin Jimma.  Jimma Cahtah.

LYNDA: President Jimmy Carter??

JIMMY: Yeh, it's me.  Cousin Jimma.

LYNDA:  I don't think we're related, sir.

JIMMY: Oh sure we ah.  All Cahtahs in Georgia are related.

LYNDA: I'm from Arizona sir.  I don't think we are.

JIMMY: Oh it doesn't mattah.  I wanted to introduce you to a baseball strategy game called APBA.  I think your supah hero skills would make you a natural.

LYNDA: I'm sorry sir.  I'm busy filming my TV show right now and then I'm working on a new movie called Bobbie Jo and the Outlaw.  I just can't expose myself any more right now.

JIMMY: Oh well, I'll see if I can take care of it myself.  Being related, we look so much alike, I doubt anyone will even notice.  Tell your folks, Jimmah says 'hey'.
Unable to get the real Wonder Woman to use her skills to play the game, Carter did what he considered the next best thing.  He decided to do it himself.  Some things once seen, cannot be unseen.

BOSTON / MILWAUKEE - Fred Lynn's 3 hit, 3 RBI night, along with Eckersley's 7 inning performance helped the Sox take Game 1, 7-3.  Boomer's boomer in the 9th clinched the victory.

Offense, offense, offense.  Neither starter, Mike Caldwell or Mike Torrez could make it out of the 2nd inning.  The Sox plated 3 in the first on a Carlton Fisk home run.  But, the Brewers answered with a 2 run blast off of the bat of Ben Oglivie in the bottom half of the inning.  Boston scored 4 unanswered in the 2nd and 3rd.  Milwaukee scored 4 unanswered of their own in the bottom of the 3rd and 4th.  The Red Sox scored 4 back in the 5th and 6th.  And in the 7th and 8th??  No.  Milwaukee scored 2 in the 7th and Bob Stanley took care of business in the 8th and 9th, as Boston wins a slugfest, 11-8.

The Director's personal Secret Service detail is investigating the disappearance of the Chicagoland World series trophy after it and Elvis left the building.  While eating smoked barbecue in Billy's gas station, Jimmy assured his brother that they expect a break in the case at any time.  "Likely, Iranian terrorists took it.  But we'll bring it home, as long as we don't have to use helicopters", said the President.

NEW YORK / DETROIT - The very young '78 Detroit Tigers faced the Yankee Boy and his #2 A.L. Seed, '80 Yankees in the quarter finals.  Working with a left arm, 6 years after the rebuild, Tommy John throws a beautiful 4 hit complete game.  He allowed on 1 unearned run while walking 4 and striking out 4.  The Bull, Bob Watson, had a 3 for 4 night with 3 RBIs, including a 2 run homer in the 5th to cap off the Yankee scoring for the night.

Back in Detroit, the Tiger offense met the Yankees #2 lefty starter in the rotation, Ron Guidry.  Gator, like John, dominated the Tiger batters allowing only 2 hits as he picked up the second Yankee complete game victory in as many games.  Reggie goes yard with a bomb in the 9th off Sykes, and the Bronx Bombers cruise into the semi-finals with two easy wins.

Sometimes, there is
crying in baseball
This marks the 3rd time in 3 tournaments that Yankee Boy has eliminated the Detroit Tigers.  In the George H.W. Bush Invitational, the '86 Yankees swept the #2 seed '87 Tigers in the Quarter Finals.  Jack Morris was able to pitch the #1 Seed, '84 Tigers, to a 2-1 win over the '85 Yankees in the Reagan Invitational.  But Niekro and Cowley beat the Tigers in games 2 and 3, as the Yankees won the Semi-Final matchup on their way to their 2nd A.L. title.  This is the first time the Yankees have held a higher seed in the matchup.  That did little to take the sting out of the losses for Tiger fans.

In 1977, Apple Computer was incorporated.  None of us bought any stock.  That summer, the first Apple II computers went on sale, and if you got in line at the Apple Store then, your appointment with an Apple Store Genius is probably coming up very soon.  On January 20th, our tournament director succeeds Gerald Ford to become our 39th President.  Then the really big news of the year hit when Star Wars was released on May 25th.  If it's summer 1977, and I get dropped off to go to the movies at this Cinema, I'm going to see Star Wars.  I might try to get back later to see the Bad News Bears, but the first order of business would have been seeing Darth Vader.  Space Mountain opened for the first time at Disneyland and remains one of the top attractions nearly 40 years later.  Carter established the U.S. Department of Energy for the purpose of regulating nuclear energy and waste disposal.  Today, it regulates what kind of light bulbs we can use and electric bills have gone up 2000%.

KANSAS CITY, MO / ARLINGTON, TX - Also in 1977, the Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals had some good baseball teams.  The two faced off in the final quarter final matchup.  Dennis Leonard outduels Gaylord Perry in Game 1.  Darrell Porter's 3 run blast in the 2nd set the stage and puts the Royals out front to stay.  Willie Horton added a 2 run shot for the Rangers in the 9th, but it was too little too late.

Jim Colborn continued the domination of Ranger batters by throwing 7 1/3 scoreless innings, and giving up only 3 hits.  He walked 6 Rangers, but kept them from circling the bases.  Little and Gura did the rest, as the Royals blanked Texas and advance into the Semis to face the Boy and his Yankees. 

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